March 26, 2010
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IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa baseball team won its home opener in the bottom of the ninth against Western Illinois at Duane Banks Field, 4-3.
Iowa took advantage of an error off the face of the Leatherneck left fielder to put Kurt Lee on second with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. Kurtis Muller laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to third; two walks later the bases were loaded. Ryan Durant, who was hitless in his first four at-bats, delivered the clutch game-winning RBI as Lee crossed home plate to give Iowa the thrilling one-win victory.
“This was a good win for us,” said Iowa Head Coach Jack Dahm. “Jarred [Hippen] made a lot of quality pitches when he needed to tonight and unfortunately he wasn’t able to get the win. I thought Ryan [Durant] had a really good approach to the last at-bat. He went with the pitch, took what they gave him, and shot it to the right side.”
Seven different Hawkeyes recorded a hit. The offense was led by Phil Keppler going 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and a walk. Muller drove in Iowa’s other run and stole his ninth base of the season. Lee also swiped a bag.
Iowa (6-12) broke the board in the bottom of the fourth, to lead 3-0. The inning featured a Keppler two-run shot to center, his second homer of the season. Muller also picked up an RBI.
Western Illinois (5-13) plated an unearned run in the top seventh to trail, 3-1. The Leathernecks tied the game 3-3 in the eighth. The inning featured a two-RBI single up the middle from Tom Lilja.
Starter Jarred Hippen had a stellar outing and got a no decision. The lefty went six and two-third innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits. He fanned nine Leathernecks, tying a career-best. Nick Brown pitched the last two and a third, getting his first win of the season. Brown allowed two runs and struck out two.
Western Illinois starter Randon Lingle got the loss, pitching eight innings, allowing four runs, two of them earned.
Iowa, who has now won two straight games, will face Western Illinois again tomorrow, in the second game of a three-game series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
GAME SUMMARYW. ILLINOIS 000 000 120 - 3 9 4IOWA 000 300 001 - 4 7 1
WP - Brown (1-2)LP - Lingle (1-4)