April 4, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The No. 24 University of Iowa baseball team used an eight-run eighth inning to rally past Purdue for a 10-5 series-clinching victory on Saturday afternoon at Alexander Field. The Hawkeyes are 5-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1989 and alone atop the league standings.
“It was a big comeback win,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “I am happy with our guys for not giving up. We hadn’t won one like this in a long time. To comeback in a game in the eighth inning like that is big for team chemistry and morale.”
Trailing 4-2 in its second-to-last at-bat, the Hawkeyes sent 10 batters to the plate, collecting six hits and capitalizing on a Purdue error. With one out, senior Sean Moore singled to start things off before senior Kris Goodman and junior Joel Booker followed with a walk and single to load the bases.
Iowa trimmed the lead to 4-3 when Boilermaker pitcher Kyle Wood plunked Daniel Aaron Moriel to force in a run before junior Nick Roscetti delivered a two-run single to centerfield to give the Hawkeyes their first lead at 5-4.
Purdue went to the bullpen a second time, bringing in Matt Gibbs in relief, but it didn’t help. After getting a fly out to center for the second out, senior Eric Toole singled to load the bases again before Jake Mangler delivered a two-run single to center to stretch the lead to 7-4.
In his second at-bat of the inning, junior Tyler Peyton joined the fun with a two-run single to right field, and he advanced all the way to third on a Purdue error. The mistake proved costly, as Peyton scored Iowa’s 10th run on a wild pitch from Alex Lyons, the Boilermakers’ third pitcher of the inning.
“A lot of guys came in off the bench and helped out,” said Heller. “Moriel and Moore had big at-bats, and it was a great inning where guys kept fighting to get on base and give us quality at-bats. A lot of the hits came with two strikes.”
Iowa starter Blake Hickman (4-1) picked up his second-straight win, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out four in seven innings. Junior Luke Vandermaten pitched the final two frames, allowing one run on three hits — his first run allowed this season.
“Blake gave us a good, quality start,” said Heller. “He didn’t have his great stuff, but it was a tough, gutting it out performance. He did what he needed to do and got us late into the game.”
Wood (1-1) took the loss, allowing five runs on three hits in 1/3 of an inning. Purdue starter Brett Haan allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits over six innings in a no decision.
Purdue took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a leadoff solo home run from Jordan Lewis. Iowa tied the game with two-out bingo in the fourth, using a Goodman triple and a Booker single to make the score 1-1.
The Boilermakers immediately regained the lead in the bottom half, pushing three runs across the plate on one hit and one Iowa error. Wood connected on a solo blast to lead off the inning, and Kyle Johnson hit a sacrifice fly to plate Lewis for the second run. Purdue scored its third run on a double steal with runners on first and third with Ted Snidanko scoring on the play.
Iowa started its rally in the top of the fifth when Toole reached on a Daniel Sander fielding error and later scored on an RBI double from Mangler down the left field line.
The Hawkeyes finished with 12 hits in the game and matched a season-high with 10 runs. Three players — Toole (2-for-4, 2 runs), Mangler (2-for-5, 3 RBIs), and Booker (2-for-5, 1 RBI) — posted multi-hit games, and eight different players scored at least one run.
Iowa (19-7, 5-0) goes for its second-straight series sweep Sunday in a noon (CT) start.