With an MLB stadium backdrop providing the first signs of a Midwest spring, the Hawkeyes had numerous chances to pull out a series-opening win.
They couldn’t deliver.
In a game that was back and forth through the middle innings, No. 25 Minnesota delivered the final blow with a two-run seventh. That propelled the Golden Gophers to a 4-3 win Friday afternoon at Target Field.
Snow on Minnesota’s Siebert Field resulted in college baseball inside the Twins’ home stadium for the first time since 2015. The two teams didn’t disappoint.
After Iowa (22-12, 6-5 Big Ten Conference) and Minnesota traded single runs in the fifth and sixth, the Hawkeyes briefly pulled ahead, 3-2, on Mitchell Boe’s sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh.
The Gophers countered for good in the bottom half.
A lead-off single and a sacrifice bunt knocked out Iowa starter Nick Allgeyer, who delivered another quality start with three runs surrendered over 6 1/3 innings. Rick Heller then turned to reliever Nick Nelsen, who immediately gave up a game-tying double to right-fielder Jordan Kozicky.
After a groundout moved Kozicky to third, Heller again went to the bullpen for trusted right-hander Zach Daniels. But the Iowa bullpen faltered again, as Daniels served up a go-ahead double to second basemen Luke Pettersen.
Minnesota entered with one of the top offenses in both the conference and the country. After Allgeyer stifled it early, the Gophers kept coming.
The Hawkeyes had a great scoring chance in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs. But Justin Jenkins struck out looking to end the frame.
Iowa will look to even the series on Saturday, when Brady Schanuel takes the hill at 2 p.m. Game 2 will also be at Target Field.
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.