Hawkeyes Rally in Ninth to Down Western Illinois


April 10, 2012

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team rallied to beat Western Illinois Tuesday night at Duane Banks Field on a game-winning bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth, 8-7. Iowa (14-16, 4-5) trailed 7-5 entering its final at-bat before scoring three runs to earn the mid-week victory.

Trailing by two runs entering the bottom of the ninth, senior Phil Keppler singled with one out to start the Hawkeye rally. Sophomore Bryan Niedbalski walked to put runners at first and second. With two down, sophomore Keith Brand walked to load the bases. Freshman Eric Toole singled up the middle to score two runs and even the score up at 7-7. Junior Andrew Host was hit by a pitch to load the bases again. Senior Mike McQuillan walked to score freshman Nick Day from third and give Iowa the 8-7 win.

“We played well at the beginning of the game,” said head coach Jack Dahm. “We had an outstanding approach offensively and Hedrick was throwing the ball. They hit a big grand slam and we started to press a little bit. It was a great job by Q (Mike McQuillan) to earn the walk-off walk. It was a good win for us; we deserved that win.”

The Iowa offense, led by senior Chett Zeise and freshmen Jake Yacinich and Toole, out-hit Western Illinois, 12-8. Zeise notched his 10th multi-hit and second three-hit game of the year, finishing 3-for-5 with an RBI. Yacinich went 2-for-5 with a run scored. Toole tallied his third-career multi-hit contest and first career multiple RBI game, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. The Hawkeyes improved to 10-3 when recording more hits than their opponents this season.

After two scoreless innings to open the game, Iowa pushed across three two-out runs in the bottom of the third to grab a 3-0 lead. With freshman Jake Yacinich at second and Keppler at first, Niedbalski doubled down the right field line to score both runners. Zeise followed with a single through the left side to give the Hawkeyes the three-run advantage.

After the Leathernecks (10-18-1) cut the Iowa lead to 3-1 with a single tally in the fourth, the home team responded with two in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases full of Hawkeyes, Host scored from third on a wild pitch. McQuillan then scored on an RBI groundout by sophomore Jake Mangler to extend the Iowa lead to 5-1.

The Leathernecks answered with five runs in the top of the sixth, including a grand slam by Western Illinois designated hitter Steve Kedroski, to take a 6-5 lead. The visitors extended their lead to 7-5 with a single tally in the top of the seventh.

Andrew Hedrick started and took a no-decision. The freshman tossed four innings, allowing one run on two hits. He struck out a season-high six Leathernecks. His previous high was five against Bucknell (March 13) and Grand View (March 21). Nick Hibbing and Andrew Hanse saw action out of the Iowa bullpen before Taylor Kaufman entered to earn the win. The freshman pitched the final two innings, allowing no runs on three hits. He struck out three. The Iowa pitching staff combined for 13 strikeouts, one shy of its season high (14 versus Northwestern on March 24).

Seth Fuller took the loss for Western Illinois. He pitching one-third of an inning, allowing one run on one hit. He walked two Hawkeyes.

Iowa returns to action Saturday with a doubleheader at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The Hawkeyes will face South Dakota State at 10 a.m. followed by host Creighton at 2 p.m.

Iowa 8, Western Illinois 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Western Illinois (10-18-1) 0 0 0 1 0 5 1 0 0 7 8 0
Iowa (14-16, 4-5) 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 3 8 12 1
Game Decision
W: Kaufman (IOWA) 1-0
L: Fuller (WIU) 1-1