After a riveting, late-game rally past Indiana, the Iowa Hawkeyes are officially just one win away from playing for the Big Ten Baseball Tournament championship.
Iowa erased a three-run deficit, plating four runs in the seventh and four more runs in the ninth inning to secure a 9-4 win over Indiana and a spot in the Big Ten Baseball Tournament semifinals.
Iowa did its heavy lifting once it got into the Indiana bullpen and after it got Hoosier starting pitcher Luke Sinnard out of the game. Trailing 4-1, Brennen Dorighi got the rally started in the seventh when he drew a one-out walk versus Indiana relief arm Craig Yoho. Raider Tello followed with a single on a 1-2 count and suddenly Iowa had some life.
Sam Hojnar delivered an RBI single to right to plate Dorighi and bring Iowa back within 4-2. Sensing the momentum shift, Indiana went back to the bullpen and called upon Connor Foley to try to stem the tide.
It didn’t work.
Hojnar stole second, putting the tying runners in scoring position. Michael Seegers worked a full count walk to load the bases and that set up Kyle Huckstorf to play the role of hero.
The Waterford, Wis., native laced a double to left field to clear the bases and put the Hawkeyes back in front to stay at 5-4. Iowa went ahead and tacked on four more insurance runs in the ninth for good measure, highlighted by Sam Petersen’s three-run blast.
While it probably wasn’t how Rick Heller or the Hawkeyes would have drawn it up when the day started, that only makes the rally sweeter. It also perfectly showcased that Iowa is ready for whatever postseason play throws its way.
After rolling past Michigan in its tournament opener, Iowa turned to flame-throwing righty Brody Brecht to help hopefully guide the Hawkeyes into the tournament’s catbird seat. It didn’t start how Brecht would have anticipated.
After surrendering three earned runs in the game’s first two innings, Brecht managed to settle down and did navigate his way through 4 2/3 innings of work on 94 pitches with five strikeouts. He exited in the fifth with runners on the corners, though.
Maybe folks didn’t know it at the time, but Hawkeye reliever Jared Simpson offered a glimpse of what was to come. He induced an inning-ending groundout to strand a pair and the Iowa bullpen was off and running.
Collectively, Iowa relievers tossed 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball. Though Indiana did push one final run across that was charged to Simpson in the sixth, Will Cristophersen responded with a strikeout of the Hoosiers’ Whalen. Christophersen struck out six of the eight batters he faced, including each of the final five.
Needless to say, a win of this proportion had Hawkeye Nation riled up. Iowa is one win away from playing for the Big Ten Tournament title and the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Here were the best reactions to the heart rate-increasing win that was.
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Yes, you may!
Run, run, run!
Does Huck own Indiana?
What a relief for Mom and Dad
ALL OF THEM
Going to be a black and gold weekend
See you Saturday!
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