May 29, 2010
COLUMBUS, OH — The Iowa baseball team rallied from a seven-run deficit to stun Michigan, 11-8, in Saturday afternoon’s semifinal game at Bill Davis Stadium. Iowa has advanced to play Minnesota in its second-ever tournament championship game. The streaking Iowa team has won 11 of its last 13 contests and must beat the Golden Gophers, who has not lost yet in the double elimination tournament format, twice in order to capture the title.
Iowa and Minnesota will play at 7 p.m. tonight. If the Hawkeyes defeat the Golden Gophers tonight, the championship will be decided tomorrow at 11 a.m. (CDT).
Iowa plated 10 runs in its last three at bats en route to the thrilling comeback triumph. The Hawkeyes pounded out 15 hits, all singles except two doubles, and played errorless defensive baseball for the second straight contest.
Iowa, who trailed 8-1 in the sixth inning, rallied to win the game – only the Hawkeyes’ second win of the year when trailing after six frames (2-23). The Hawkeyes kept chipping away and ultimately took the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Down one and the bases loaded, Kurt Lee clubbed a double over the right fielder’s glove to score two and put the Hawkeyes up one. Lee’s double was his fifth hit of the game, tying the school single-game and Big Ten Tournament records.
Zach McCool extended his hit streak to 14 games in the first inning with a single. Four Hawkeyes recorded multi-hit games. Lee, who is Iowa’s nine-hole hitter, went a perfect 5-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI. Tyson Blaser, Mike McQuillan and McCool all collected a pair of hits. Ryan Durant collected two RBI. Kurtis Muller swiped his sixth base of the tournament in the eighth inning to establish a new tournament stolen base record.
After three scoreless innings, Michigan (34-22) scored three in the fourth for a 3-0 score. The Wolverines added two in the fifth and three in the sixth for their eight runs. Michigan’s offense connected on four doubles and three home runs in the first six innings.
Iowa (30-27) plated one in the fourth to trail 3-1. With two outs, Blaser singled, advanced to second on an error and moved to third on a wild pitch. He later scored on a Lee RBI single.
The Hawkeyes put up a four-spot in the sixth for an 8-5 score. Lee led off with a single up the middle followed by a McCool single. McQuillan reached on a fielding error and Lee scored on the play. With runners on second and third, Durant came up with a one-out double down the leftfield line to bring in two and advanced to third on an error. Keppler picked up an RBI on a groundout.
The Black and Gold continued to chip away in the bottom of the seventh to come within one, 8-7. Willis reached on a fielder’s choice with both Lee and Muller singled to right. With the bases loaded, McCool wore one to bring in Willis. Lee scored on a fielder’s choice by McQuillan. With runners on first and third.
Sophomore Phil Schreiber started and got a no decision, throwing five innings and allowing five runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts and yielding no walks. The Hawkeye bullpen featured: Patrick Schatz, Michael Jacobs, Zach Robertson and Kevin Lee. Robertson threw a scoreless eighth inning and ultimately win his team-best eighth victory. Lee came in the ninth to preserve the victory for his school single-game record 13th save of the campaign.
Michigan reliever Kolby Wood allowed four eighth-inning runs and got the loss.