Feb. 21, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — Junior Tyler Peyton’s game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning broke a five-all tie and propelled the University of Iowa baseball team to a 6-5 victory over Missouri State on Saturday afternoon at QuikTrip Park.
“We had a nice walk-off win,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “It wasn’t the best pitched game, but we battled, and persevered. Our guys played hard and hustled.
Goodman started the Hawkeyes’ rally in the ninth by legging out a one-out double, brining Peyton to the plate. The junior delivered, sending a 1-2 pitch to right field for an opposite field RBI single to give Iowa its fourth-straight victory this season.
The Hawkeyes finished the game with 12 hits, posting a season-high hit total for a third-straight contest. Three Iowa players finished with multi-hit games — Peyton went 3-for-4 with an RBI, senior Eric Toole went 2-for-4 with two runs, and freshman Austin Guzzo went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Junior Connor Grant (1-1) picked up his first collegiate win, pitching the final three innings in relief. The right-hander allowed one run without giving up a hit, but issued two walks to two strikeouts. Missouri State pitcher Sam Perez (0-1) was tagged with the loss, giving up one run on two hits in 1/3 of an inning.
The Bears jumped out to a 2-0 lead, sending eight batters to the plate against UI starter Blake Hickman in the first inning. With one out, Joey Hawkins tripled to left center before scoring on an RBI single from Tate Matheny. Hickman walked in MSU’s second run on back-to-back two-out walks.
The Hawkeyes cut the lead in half in the bottom half of the frame, taking advantage of a leadoff triple from Toole. The senior crossed the plate on an RBI groundout off the bat of Joel Booker, make the score 2-1.
Iowa pitched around danger for much of the early portion of the game. Missouri State scored single runs in the second and fourth innings to build a 4-1 lead, but it left the bases loaded in the first, third, and fifth innings and 15 runners on base for the game.
“We fought to the end to get a big win,” said Heller. “It’s nice to get out of here on a positive note, especially in a game where it didn’t look like it was going to end that way. It takes a mature team to handle the adversity we went through early in this ball game and to find a way to win.”
Down three runs, the Hawkeyes put up a four-spot in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-4 lead. Goodman led off the inning with a walk, stole second, and moved to third on a one-out single from Guzzo to chase Bear starter Jon Harris from the contest.
Junior Eric Schenck-Joblinske drove in Iowa’s first run with a sacrifice fly, making the score 4-2. Iowa then loaded the bases before Booker reached on an Eric Cheray error to even the contest at four. Senior Jake Mangler followed with an RBI single to centerfield, giving Iowa its first lead at 5-4.
Missouri State tied the game without recording a hit in the top of the seventh. Grant entered in relief, striking out Jake Burger swinging to start the inning, but Burger reached on a wild pitch. Burger scored on a one-out Cheray sacrifice fly.
Hickman lasted just 1 2/3 innings in his second start of the season, giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits and issuing four walks. Junior Luke Vandermaten allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings; junior Calvin Mathews gave up one run on three hits pitching the fourth and fifth frames, and senior Nick Hibbing allowed one hit in the eighth.
Harris, a potential high-round draft pick, allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He had seven strikeouts to four walks in the game.
Sunday’s game against UALR has been cancelled due to the weather projected in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Iowa (4-1) will return to action Feb. 27 in Cary, North Carolina, facing Cincinnati in the 2015 USA Baseball-Irish Classic.