March 19, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — No. 12/19 Missouri State used a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the University of Iowa baseball team, 5-4, and claim a series victory on Saturday afternoon at Hammons Field.
The Hawkeyes trailed 4-3 heading into the top of the ninth inning, but rallied to tie the game against Bear closer Bryan Young. Iowa manufactured a run after Joel Booker reached on a fielding error to start the inning and moved to second on a Zach Daniels sacrifice bunt. With one away, senior Nick Roscetti tied the game with an RBI single to left field.
Iowa had two runners on, including the go-ahead run in scoring position with one away, but Young got out of the jam by getting senior Jimmy Frankos to ground into an inning-ending double play.
“It was good to see fight,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Today, even though it was a loss, we took a step in the right direction. We got better yesterday and today. We gave up too many free bases and this time it was via the walk, but we did fight and fought hard.”
Going against the heart of the Bear order, sophomore Nick Gallagher got a pair of fly outs with a one-out walk by Justin Paulsen sandwiched in between. With two down, Aaron Meyer roped a double down the left field line, and Alex Jefferson followed with a walk to load the bases.
Missouri State’s Matt Fultz had a 3-0 count with the game in the balance before Gallagher battled back to a full count, but Fultz took ball four for an RBI walk to send the Bears to a walk-off victory and clinch a Missouri State series win.
“It was sad to see, it was the best (Nick) had been,” said Heller. “He showed a lot of toughness. When he came in he had good stuff, so when we tied the game it was the decision to go back to Nick because he had been dealing to that point.
“Unfortunately he lost his command in the ninth, and it cost us.”
Gallagher (2-2) suffered the loss, allowing one run on two hits over four innings. He had six strikeouts, but six walks in the game. Senior Tyler Peyton started for the Hawkeyes, allowing four runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 with five strikeouts to three walks.
Iowa staked Peyton to a 3-0 lead, jumping on Missouri State starter Ryan Dunne in the first inning. Booker roped the first pitch of the game to centerfield for a leadoff triple before scoring on a dropped third strike.
The Bears got on the board in the second, using a pair of two-out extra base hits. Johnson doubled in two runs to make the score 3-2. Missouri State tied the game in the fifth on a Meyer RBI double before Blake Graham scored the go-ahead run on a Peyton wild pitch.
Iowa finished with eight hits in the game with Neustrom leading the way with three hits, finishing 3-for-4 with a double. Roscetti was 2-for-5 with a run and RBI, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, and Booker was 1-for-5 with two runs, extending his hitting streak to 11 contests.
Young (1-1) earned the win, allowing one run on one hit in the ninth. Iowa scored three runs (two earned) on five hits against Dunne.
Sunday’s series finale begins at 1:05 p.m. (CT).