FROM UNIVERSITY OF IOWA SPORTS INFORMATION
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The University of Iowa cruised to a 10-3 series-opening victory at Purdue on Thursday night at Alexander Field to clinch a berth in next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Omaha. A home sweep would have given the Boilermakers a spot next week in Omaha, but the Hawkeyes’ win instead clinched their first Big Ten Tournament berth since 2010.
The Hawkeyes (28-20, 9-13) pounded out 12 hits in the game, which led to three three-run innings to go along with a single run in the seventh. Iowa’s bullpen was superb, as junior Nick Hibbing and sophomore Jared Mandel held the Boilermakers to one run over the final seven innings.
If there was any pressing going on in the Iowa dugout prior to first pitch, it was squashed early, as the Hawkeyes jumped on the Boilermakers for three runs in the top of the first inning.
Junior Eric Toole singled to lead off the game before sophomore Tyler Peyton ripped a one-out single to right center to put runners on the corners. Junior Jake Yacinich made the score 1-0 with an infield RBI single before junior Dan Potempa doubled home the final two runs to push the Hawkeye lead to 3-0.
Purdue got one run back in the bottom half of the first against UI starter Blake Hickman. Brandon Krieg drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on a two-out RBI double by Kyle Wood to right field, making the score 3-1.
Krieg again was the catalyst for the second Purdue run in the third that cut the margin to 3-2. The shortstop led off the frame with a single before Hickman plunked Cody Strong to put two runners on and end the right-hander’s day. After a single by Sean McHugh loaded the bases, Iowa conceded the run, trading the second run for a 4-6-3 double play. Hibbing then got out of the inning by getting Kyle Johnson to fly out to end the frame.
The Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 6-2 in the fourth, scoring three runs on four hits. Following a leadoff walk by Taylor Zeutenhorst, sophomore Jimmy Frankos ripped an RBI double down the right field line for the first run before Iowa got three-straight singles from Toole, junior Jake Mangler and Peyton top open a four-run lead.
The Boilermakers scored their final run in the sixth on an RBI double by Conner Hudnall to right field, but Iowa got the run back a half inning later. Peyton singled to lead off the frame before scoring on a two-out RBI double by Zeutenhorst to right field.
Iowa put the game away in the eighth, scoring three runs on one hit and one Purdue error. Frankos drew a walk to lead off the inning before Nick Day was hit by a pitch to put a pair on base. Frankos scored when Purdue pitcher Matt Gibbs’ errant throw to first base allowed Toole to reach. After Joe Eichmann entered in relief, Peyton drove in the ninth run with an RBI groundout before Yacinich roped a two-out double to left field to plate Toole to open a 10-3 Hawkeye lead.
Eight of Iowa’s nine starters had at least one hit with Peyton leading the way with a 3-for-4, two-run, two-RBI performance. Toole (2-for-4, 3 runs, 1 RBI) and Yacinich (2-for-5, 2 RBIs, 1 run) both had two-hit games — their 21st multi-hit games of the season. Mangler extended his reached base streak to 27 games.
Hibbing (3-3) picked up the victory after allowing one run on four hits over 3 1/3 innings, while Mandel earned his first career save, scattering four hits over the final 3 2/3. He had a career-high six strikeouts against one walk. Hickman lasted just two innings in his fourth career start, giving up two runs on three hits with a pair of walks.
Purdue starter Jordan Minch (1-7) was tagged with the loss, giving up six runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings.
The second game of the series will begin Friday at 5:30 p.m. (CT).