USF dropped game two of their opening three-game series with Iowa 4-2 Saturday afternoon.
Iowa hit three home runs, capped by the game-winning two-run shot by freshman Kyle Crowl in the top of the ninth off senior RHP Michael Farley.
“They did a better job against off-speed pitches than we did today and we left some pitches up [in the zone],” head coach Mark Kingston said. “They take big swings and look to drive the ball and they did it three times today.”
The game, originally scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start, was pushed up to noon to avoid the rain, but it wasn’t enough. The rain came and created a two-hour, 41-minute rain delay before the start of the 7th inning.
It was an incredible debut for LHP Shane McClanahan, who missed all of 2016 due to preseason Tommy John surgery. The redshirt freshman pumped in fastball after fastball in the mid-90s, topping out at 96 MPH. He struck out eight straight Hawkeyes, with five of them looking. He struck out the side in the second and third inning.
“I thought he was good, I’d like to see him go deeper. We had a pitch count and we took him out. Part of that is trying to protect him ,” Kingston said. “I think nine strikeouts in four innings kinda speaks for itself.”
Through four innings McClanahan stat line: 4IP, 1H, 0ER, 2BB, 9K, 73 pitches, 66% strikes.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) February 18, 2017
“I felt pretty good. I threw a lot of pitches tonight in four innings and I definitely got to work on that,” McClanahan said.
SS Kevin Merrell got things going for the Bulls in the home half of the first with a blistering triple to left-center field. DH Luke Borders brought Merrell home with an RBI groundout for the first score of the game.
Hawkeyes starter RHP C.J. Eldrod settled into a groove after that, pitching all six innings before the rain delay. He allowed just three hits and struck out four.
Bulls RHP Ryan Valdes, also coming back from Tommy John surgery, came on in relief of McClanahan in the fifth inning and retired the side. Back out for the sixth, the Hawkeyes struck for two solo home runs from SS Mason McCoy and 1B Jake Adams to take a 2-0 lead.
Sophomore 1B Joe Genord tied things up at two with a home run down the left field line off Hawkeyes reliever RHP Cole McDonald after the rain delay.
Farley came on for the Bulls after the rain delay to toss a scoreless seventh and eighth before giving up the homer to Crowl.
Valdes is still scheduled to be the starter on Tuesday at FSU, today was a “Bullpen Day” for the senior.
The Bulls will look to win the series on Sunday at noon. RHP Peter Strzelecki (who also missed the 2016 season after Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to pitch for the Bulls. The Hawkeyes will counter with RHP Shane Ritter (3-1 last year with a 2.00 ERA).
USF backup QB Brett Kean was on hand to watch his best friend pitch for the first time, and sent out possibly the best tweet from a player ever:
Not only are they best friends, Kean is McClanahan’s biggest fan: