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The Hawkeyes have had better openers.

From the mound work to the timely hitting, Iowa wasn’t sharp across the board in Friday’s 7-2 loss to George Mason as part of the Diamond 9 Sunshine State Classic Series in Kissimmee, Florida.

The Hawkeyes (0-1) fell in an early hole and never recovered. George Mason’s Logan Driscoll launched a two-out, three-run homer in the third off senior starter Cole McDonald, who lasted just four innings while giving up five hits, four runs and two walks. He needed 75 pitches before exiting after two walks to start the fifth.

Free bases were a troubling Iowa theme, as Hawkeye arms gave up more walks (nine) than hits (six). Four of the walks scored, including all three in George Mason’s bust-it-open seventh. A three-run triple from Greg Popatak have the Patriots (1-0) a five-run lead.

Iowa had two noteworthy wallops — Austin Martin’s fifth-inning solo homer and Tanner Padgett’s RBI double in the sixth — but the Hawkeyes couldn’t deliver enough crucial knocks.

Iowa had enough baserunners against starter Jared DiCesare, but the Hawkeyes finished 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Two on with nobody out in both the fourth and the seventh led to zero runs.

Iowa returns to action Saturday with another early start. Jack Dreyer and the Hawkeyes will face Pittsburgh at 10 a.m. (CT).

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.     

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