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Nebraska’s Cade Povich (33) throws a pitch during the Huskers’ matchup against Columbia at Haymarket Park on Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nebraska baseball dropped a 3-0 pitcher’s duel against Iowa in its series’ opener. The Huskers have now dropped their last three games after getting off to a red-hot 5-1 start.

A defensive bout through the first five innings prevailed as the teams combined for only four hits. Junior pitchers Cade Povich and Trenton Wallace controlled the pace, and solid defense in the fifth held the game scoreless.

“Cade was great through the first five innings and really competed for us and gave us a shot to win,” head coach Will Bolt said postgame. “I feel like all year our pitching has been solid and Povich gave us another strong outing today.”

After a leadoff double from junior infielder Izaya Fullard, Povich responded with three straight outs to end the Hawkeye threat. A nice diving stop and throw from junior infielder Spencer Schwellenbach saved a go-ahead run and kept the game tied at zero.

However, it was the sixth inning where Povich began to show signs of fatigue, as sophomore infielder Brandon Sher broke the tie with a solo home run to start the inning. The Hawkeyes then added more on a two-run home run by senior outfielder Ben Norman, one that was carried over the left field fence.

“There was a big moment going into the inning that gave them all the momentum and they were able to capitalize on it,” Bolt said. “We just didn’t have any answer offensively all day and just not good enough at bats.”

Wallace gave the Hawkeyes seven rock-solid innings, only allowing two hits and striking out eight in his work. It was a masterpiece on the mound that held the Huskers to a .087 average in the loss.

The Husker hitters never found the barrel of the bat and were dominated by Wallace’s curveball, a devilish throw that caught the inner part of the plate regularly. It was a disappointing start to the series after splitting their weekend pod going 2-2 last weekend in Minneapolis.

The Nebraska bullpen was a stalwart through the afternoon. They didn’t allow a run through their two innings to close the game. Quickly showing itself to be one of the strengths of the team, Nebraska’s pitchers did their job to keep the game within reach.

Falling to 5-4, the Huskers’ problem is its offensive inconsistency, only scoring five runs over that span of three games. Nebraska’s offensive issues have been all the more perplexing given its reputation for offensive firepower going into the season.

“We got to be more competitive and more willing to make those big plays and just get better offensively,” Bolt said. “Our pitching and defense has kept us in games and we just overall need to be more willing to battle at the plate.”

The Huskers (5-4) will battle Iowa (4-5) again tomorrow in game two of the series at 2 p.m. on BTN+. Senior pitcher Chance Hroch will take the mound for Nebraska and will square off against sophomore pitcher Drew Irvine.

sports@dailynebraskan.com