April 28, 2004
WATERLOO, IA – Iowa’s ninth inning rally fell one run short as the Panthers scored in five of their eight at-bats to come away with a 9-8 victory at Riverfront Stadium on Wednesday night. The win gives Northern Iowa the three-game sweep over the Hawkeyes this season.
Trailing 9-5 entering the top of the ninth, pinch hitter Gabe Haugland got things rolling with a double down the right field line and Andy Cox followed with a bloop single to shallow left field to put two runners on. Pinch hitter Mike Best came to the plate and blasted the first pitch he saw deep over the left field fence to bring the Hawkeyes within one run. Northern Iowa pitcher Spencer Black rebounded to strike out the next two batters he faced before getting Nate Yoho to groundout to end the game.
Northern Iowa jumped out to a 4-0 lead after putting two runs on the board in the second and third innings. Jose Guzman hit a solo homerun over the left centerfield fence to lead off the third and the Panthers followed with back-to-back hits including a double by clean-up hitter Dan Grant off the right centerfield wall. Ryan Fulton drove in the second run of the inning on a groundout to second base.
The Panthers chased Iowa starter Casey O’Rourke out of the game in the fifth when Guzman collected his second extra base hit with a double down the right field line. O’Rourke allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings of work. . Northern Iowa loaded the bases with two outs off Iowa reliever Scott Brune. With two strikes, Armando Lara drove in his second and third runs of the game on a single to centerfield to extend the Panthers lead to 6-0.
The Hawkeyes got things going in the sixth inning. Jeff Gremley got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Nate Yoho followed with an infield single to put two runners on. Kris Welker connected on the first pitch of his at-bat off Panther starter Jake Hansen for a three-run bomb deep over the centerfield fence to cut the deficit to 6-3.
Northern Iowa used three hits to add two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Sean LaCoste doubled down the left field line to drive in Grant and Lara singled to put runners on the corners with one out to chase Brune from the game. Iowa reliever Aaron Reasland entered and walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. After striking out nine-hole hitter Nate Heath looking, Reasland hit Seth Moulton to knock in the second run of the inning before getting Guzman to ground out to end the threat.
The Hawkeyes answered in the eighth when Yoho blasted a two-run shot over the left centerfield wall to make the score 8-5. Gremley led off the inning getting plunked for the second time in as many at-bats.
Northern Iowa added a run in the eighth to stretch its lead to 9-5.
Yoho, Welker and Best each connected on their second home runs of the season.
Iowa will return to action this weekend with a home four-game series against Northwestern at Duane Banks Field.