IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa baseball team used a pair of late-inning rallies to complete the three-game weekend sweep of UNLV in a Saturday doubleheader at Duane Banks Field. It is the Hawkeyes’ first sweep of the season and it runs the winning streak to a season-high six games.
The Hawkeyes won the opener in walk-off fashion, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 6-5 victory. Iowa tallied its 17th victory with a three-run, eighth inning rally in the nightcap to post a 7-6 win.
“We found a way to come back and win it,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Guys clutched up and came through for us.”
In the opener, the Hawkeyes trailed 5-3 and there were two outs when it began its rally. Two pinch hitters — Austin Guzzo and Luke Farley — reached on a walk and single to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Sophomore Mitchell Boe tied the game with a two-run double down the right field line to tie the game at five before sophomore Chris Whelan followed with an RBI single to center field to give the Hawkeyes their first walk-off win of the season.
“I knew when Mitch gave us a chance with his double, it was going to be up to me,” Whelan said. “I was just looking for a fastball and trying to get the job done.”
It was Whelan’s first game-winning, walk-off hit of his baseball career.
Sophomore Robert Neustrom got the scoring going in the first inning, when he roped an RBI doubled to right-center. UNLV scored single runs in the second and third innings to take the lead, 2-1, but Iowa came storming back in the sixth. Adams hit his Big Ten-leading 10th home run — a solo shot to left field to tie the game at two.
The Rebels scored single runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. Iowa got one run back in the eighth on an RBI groundout from Adams. The Hawkeyes trailed 5-3 heading into their final at-bat.
Iowa sophomore Zach Daniels (6-1) earned the win, allowing two runs on three hits. He punched out two in 2 1/3 innings of work.
In the nightcap, Iowa trailed 6-4 in the eighth when the Hawkeyes rallied. Farley singled to start the inning and Matt Hoeg doubled to right center two runners on. Boe’s career day continued with an two-run double down the left field line to knot the game up at six. Boe scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by UNLV’s third basemen Nick Rodriguez on a Mason McCoy ground ball, giving Iowa lead for good.
In the third, Adams’ RBI double gave the Hawkeyes a 1-0 lead and Adams scored the second run on a UNLV error. The Hawkeyes extended their lead to 3-0 on a Boe RBI singled to right field in the fourth.
UNLV put up a three-spot in the fifth to tie the game and the Rebels took the lead in the eighth, plating three unearned runs.
Iowa’s Shane Ritter (2-1) earned the win, tossing two shutout innings. He scattered two hits and had one strikeout in the outing.
“These games weren’t pretty, but in the end, we found a way to get it done,” Heller said. “Mitch and Chris both had big hits; it was good to see us get it done on a day where we didn’t play our best baseball.”
In the doubleheader, Boe finished 4-for-8 with three doubles, five RBIs, and three runs. He had multi-hit games in both contests.
The Hawkeyes (17-9) return to action Tuesday, facing South Dakota State at 4:05 p.m. (CT) in the opening game of a two-game midweek series.