April 17, 2015
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By BEN SCHMITZ
Iowa City, Iowa — — Senior Jake Mangler’s walk-off RBI single to left centerfield propelled the 14th-ranked University of Iowa baseball team to a 4-3 come-from-behind walkoff victory over Northwestern on Friday night in front of a season-high crowd of 1,588 at Duane Banks Field. The Hawkeyes trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.
“Our guys stuck with it today,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “The game is never over; there are so many variables and so many things that can happen. Austin Guzzo had the big pinch hit (single) to get things going and then we had a couple guys step up in clutch plate appearances. (Kris) Goodman and (Jake) Mangler had great at-bats.
“Northwestern played outstanding tonight. It was a testament to our toughness that we didn’t die; we came back and won. The crowd helped out. They rallied around us and hung in there. It was great to see everyone come out and support us tonight.”
Down to their final three outs, Guzzo entered the contest as a pinch-hitter and delivered on the first pitch with a hard-hit single through the right side. Junior Nick Roscetti followed with a single toward the left side, and senior Sean Moore loaded the bases taking ball four on a 3-2 count.
With bases loaded and no outs, senior Kris Goodman connected on an RBI-single up the middle to score Guzzo and close the gap to 3-2. Senior Eric Toole followed with a deep fly ball to center field, allowing Roscetti to tag up, plating the equalizer.
Facing an 0-1 count, Mangler stepped in and delivered the knock-out liner to right field to send the Hawkeyes to their second walk-off victory of the season.
“This was as intense and as good of baseball as you will see in Division I baseball,” said Heller. “There were some tremendous plays we saw both offensively and defensively.”
Northwestern starter Brandon Magallones pitched eight strong innings and limited the Iowa bats to three runs on nine hits with a majority of the damage coming in the ninth, when he didn’t get an out.
Junior Tyler Peyton started the contest and worked 6 1/3 innings. The Grimes, Iowa, native got off to a bumpy start, which left the Hawkeyes trailing 2-0 after 1/2 inning, but eventually settled in and limited the visitors to three runs off of five hits.
Toole plated Iowa’s first run of the game in the bottom of the first, scoring from second off a Mangler single through the left side. Toole reached on a leadoff single up the middle and advanced to second on a stolen base.
After a two-run first inning, the Wildcats generated an insurance run in the top of the fourth to extend a 3-1 margin. Joe Hoscheit opened the inning with a single up the middle and later scored on a soft grounder toward the shortstop. Cody Stevens registered the RBI.
Three straight innings ensued where the Hawkeye bats threatened to score with runners at second and third. Iowa couldn’t capitalize, coming up empty with both the fifth and sixth innings ending with strikeouts while the seventh was capped with a groundout to the shortstop.
Iowa (25-10, 9-1) returns to action Saturday at 2 p.m. (CT) for the second of a three-game weekend series.