IOWA CITY, Iowa – Northwestern scored 11 runs over its final three at-bats to rally for a 14-13 victory over the University of Iowa baseball team Friday night at Rocky Miller Park. The Hawkeyes led 13-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
“This was a painful 14-13 walk-off loss today,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Our bullpen wasn’t very good. We turned it over to the bullpen with a 10-run lead in the seventh and couldn’t get anybody out. It was a little depleted with the midweek games, but that’s no excuse, with a 10-run lead you have to find a way to get it done.
“Once Northwestern got hot, we couldn’t stop it. We had our best guy in at the end of the game, and he couldn’t get it done.”
Trailing 13-3, the Wildcats (6-22, 2-7) pushed five runs across the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning against UI junior reliever Brandon Shulista. Northwestern scored three runs on Jack Livingston’s double to centerfield before Joe Hoscheit hit a two-run homer to left field, cutting the deficit to 13-8.
After Iowa (18-13, 3-7) left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, Northwestern scored four runs in the eighth to pull to within 13-12. The Wildcats worked around an error in the top of the ninth before pushing the game-tying and game-winning runs across the plate in their final at-bat.
Following a leadoff single by Matt Hopfner, UI reliever Nick Hibbing recorded the first out before Cody Stevens found a hole with a single through the right side, where pinch runner RJ Watters scored the game-tying run on an error by right fielder Taylor Zeutenhorst. After a hit by pitch and walk loaded the bases, Zach Jones singled to left centerfield, sending the Wildcats to the 14-13 walk-off victory.
Iowa finished with a season-high 20 hits in the game with eight different players posting multi-hit games. Junior Jake Yacinich led the way, finishing 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI, while Eric Toole (2-for-6, 3 RBIs, 2 runs), Jake Mangler (2-for-4, 2 runs), Dan Potempa (2-for-6, 1 run, 1 RBI), Tyler Peyton (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, 1 run), Zeutenhorst (2-for-6, 2 RBIs, 1 run), Kris Goodman (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs), and Jimmy Frankos (2-for-4, 2 runs) all had two hits. Toole extended his hitting streak to an Iowa season-long 13 games.
Hibbing (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on five hits in one inning. Sophomore Calvin Mathews allowed three runs on five hits over six innings in the start and struck out six. Shulista and sophomore Jared Mandel allowed eight runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Northwestern’s Jack Quigley (1-4) picked up the victory, pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Iowa roughed up Wildcat starter Reed Mason, scoring seven runs on 11 hits in five innings before scoring six runs on seven hits against reliever Ethan Bramscheriber.
After falling behind 2-1 over the first three innings, Iowa pushed 12 runs across the plate in the fourth through seventh innings to open up a 13-3 lead. Iowa put a four-spot on the scoreboard in the fourth courtesy of an RBI single from Goodman and a two-run double by Toole. Toole scored the fourth run on a wild pitch.
Iowa stretched its lead to 7-2 in the fifth inning, plating two runs on two hits. Goodman connected on a one-out, solo home run left field — his second blast of the season — to account for the first run before Frankos singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Northwestern cut the deficit to 7-3 with a solo home run by Luke Dauch in the bottom of the fifth inning before the Hawkeyes scored three runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh to push their lead to 13-3. Peyton, Zeutenhorst and Yacinich had RBI singles in the sixth before Toole, Potempa and Peyton had RBIs in the seventh.
Iowa and Northwestern traded off scoring runs in the first three innings with the Hawkeyes’ first run coming on a leadoff solo home run by Zeutenhorst down the left field line — his fifth of the season.
Due to the projected weather forecast Sunday, the two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday. Game one is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (CT), while game two will start 30 minutes after the completion of the first contest.