By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Junior Jake Adams’ seventh-inning home run broke a five-all tie and sent the University of Iowa baseball team to a 6-5 victory over Grand View on Tuesday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
“There were a lot of lessons today and one of them was you better show up no matter who you’re playing,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Grand View played well; they mixed their pitchers in-and-out and kept us off stride.
“They threw a lot of strikes and kept us off balance with their secondary pitches. They had us off balance all day. Thank goodness (Robert) Neustrom had the three RBI double and (Jake) Adams hits a home run late to give us the win.”
After the Vikings tied the game with a two-run seventh inning, Adams hit a one-out solo home run off the light pole in left center field against GVU reliever Parker Thode. It was Adams’ Big Ten-leading ninth home run of the season.
Adams also nearly connected on a home run in the fifth inning, but the ball hooked foul down the left field line.
Grand Valley struck first in the game, plating three runs in the second inning against UI starter Grant Judkins. Judkins alternated outs and hit by pitches on the first four batters of the inning before Damon Nuss had an RBI single to centerfield to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
Both runners moved up a bag on the play on a fielding error by Ben Norman, and it was costly. Tyler Smith followed with a two-run single down the left field line to push the Grand View lead to 3-0.
The Hawkeyes struck back in the third and fourth innings, pushing five runs across the plate. Iowa loaded the bases via an Austin Guzzo walk, Matt Hoeg single, and a two-out intentional walk to Adams. Sophomore Robert Neustrom was the beneficiary and he made the Vikings pay.
The Sioux City, Iowa, native welcomed reliever Hunter McIntosh to the game by smoking a bases-clearing double into the right center field gap for his 26th, 27th, and 28th RBIs. Norman followed with an RBI single to centerfield to give Iowa its first lead at 4-3.
Guzzo extended the advantage to 5-3 in the fourth with a one-out solo home run. He went opposite field and the ball carried over the left field fence for his second blast of the season.
The Vikings took advantage of free bases in the seventh to tie the game against reliever Nick Nelsen. An Iowa walk, error, and wild pitch resulted in runners at second and third with one out before Josh Luna singled home Grand View’s fourth run. Dustin Nelson reached on a fielder’s choice, beating out a potential inning-ending double play ball, which allowed the game-tying run to cross the plate.
“It was a very sloppy game from a couple of guys on the mound and there were a couple of errors in the field,” said Heller. “Both errors led to runs; you haven’t seen us make a lot of errors this year and not many cost us. Both of those cost us tonight; we have to be better.”
Sophomore Zach Daniels (5-1) went 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief to pick up his fifth victory of the season. He had three strikeouts without issuing a walk. Junior Elijah Woods was strong out of the bullpen, tossing three shutout innings, scattering three hits to go along with three strikeouts.
Guzzo paced the Hawkeyes at the plate by finishing 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI. Iowa finished with eight hits on the day.
Thode (1-3) suffered the loss, allowing one run on the Adams’ home run. Six Grand View pitchers held Iowa’s offense in check for most of the game.
The Hawkeyes (14-9) return to action Friday, opening the three-game weekend series against UNLV at 4:05 p.m. (CT).