By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A two-run seventh-inning lifted the University of Iowa baseball team to its seventh straight victory — a 4-3 win over South Dakota State on Tuesday night at Duane Banks Field.
The win moves the Hawkeyes to 18-9 overall and extends the program’s midweek winning streak to 18 games dating back to the 2015 season.
“This was a game that I felt good about how we came out and played,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We played hard, played good defense, and our focus was better than it was this past weekend. The disappointing thing was the first four innings; we gave seven free bases on the mound.
“I was happy with how we played. We played Hawkeye baseball tonight, didn’t give up, and kept plugging away. Good things happen when you do that.”
Trailing 3-2 in the seventh, sophomore Mitchell Boe jump-started the Hawkeye rally with a leadoff walk. With one out, senior Mason McCoy doubled over Phil Velez’s head in right field to put runners on second and third before junior Jake Adams squibbed a soft grounder back to pitcher Quinn Reimers, driving in McCoy to tie the game.
South Dakota State went to a southpaw in relief — Bryce Hanson — to face sophomore Robert Neustrom. The Sioux City, Iowa, native doubled down the left field line to give the Hawkeyes a 4-3 lead.
“Robert gave us a big at-bat, he battled, battled, battled, and was able to drop one in,” said Heller.
Sophomore Kyle Shimp (3-0) tossed two shutout innings in relief, allowing one hit en route to his third victory. Senior Josh Martsching earned his third save, sitting the Jackrabbits down in order in the ninth.
Iowa’s bullpen allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings and had four strikeouts.
“Zach Daniels and Kyle did a great job of settling the game down in the fifth,” said Heller. “In the ninth, Josh was solid.”
The Jackrabbits jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, taking advantage of Iowa free bases. Two walks and a hit by pitch by UI starter Drake Robison loaded the bases and the run crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Iowa took its first lead in the third inning via the long ball. After sophomore Chris Whelan drew a one-out walk, Adams connected on a two-run home run off the Sharp Family Video Board in left field. It was Adams’ 11th home run of the season.
South Dakota State plated single runs fourth and fifth innings. Velez had an RBI groundout in the fourth before Matt Johnson hit a solo home run off Daniels in the fifth to give the Jackrabbits a 4-3 lead.
Neustrom and freshman Ben Norman accounted for four of Iowa’s eight hits. Neustrom was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Norman was 2-for-4. Adams had three RBIs, running his season total to 37.
Reimers (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing two runs in 2/3 of an inning.
Game two of the series against South Dakota State, which was scheduled for Wednesday, was cancelled due to the weather forecast. Iowa returns to action Friday, opening a three-game Big Ten series at Northwestern at 3:30 p.m. (CT).