By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior Mason McCoy’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning sent the University of Iowa baseball team to a 4-3 walk-off victory over Milwaukee on Tuesday night at Duane Banks Field.
The win moves Iowa’s record to 24-15 heading into a three-game weekend series against Penn State.
Junior Zach Fricke started Iowa’s ninth-inning rally with a walk, battling back from an 0-2 count before freshman Justin Jenkins reached via a hit by pitch after squaring to bunt to put two runners on.
Sophomore Mitchell Boe followed with an infield bunt single that hugged the third base foul line and stayed fair to load the bases. McCoy pounded the first pitch he saw into the turf and it carried over third baseman Ben Chally’s head into left field to send the Hawkeyes to their second walk-off win of the season.
“I was trying to stick to what we have been taught,” said McCoy. “With the infield in, all you have to do is hammer one into the ground or lift one into the outfield. I was trying to get my pitch. I hit it two feet in front of me, but it bounced high enough in the turf that I got the job done.”
Senior Drake Robison (3-2) earned the victory, tossing two perfect innings in relief. He struck out four of the seven batters he faced. Iowa’s pitching staff combined to allow nine hits with sophomore Sammy Lizarraga, senior Josh Martsching, freshman Grant Leonard, and Robison tossing clean frames.
Martsching struck out five of the seven batters he faced.
“The story of the night was our pitching staff,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Some guys stepped up for us and covered up a couple of errors. All of them did a nice job. Drake was good late; it might have been as good as he has been all season long.”
Milwaukee’s Reed Blake (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing one run despite not allowing a hit. Four Panther pitchers held the Hawkeyes to seven hits in the game.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in first off a Daulton Varsho solo home run before the Hawkeyes struck for two in the bottom half. After Jake Adams reached on a hit by pitch, sophomore Robert Neustrom hit an RBI double down the left field line to tie the game. Iowa took a 2-1 lead on a Tyler Cropley RBI single to left center field.
The Panthers started the second inning with back-to-back hits — a double by Cole Heili to right field and a single to Ian Ross to center field — against Iowa starter Elijah Wood. Milwaukee’s tying run scored on a double play ball off the bat of Dylan Detert.
The Hawkeyes regained the lead in the third via the long ball. Adams connected on a leadoff home run — a 400-foot shot to left field — to give Iowa a 3-2 lead. It was his Big Ten-leading 15th home run of the season.
Iowa held the lead until the seventh when the Panthers put together a rally against sophomore reliever Zach Daniels. Ross doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a wild pitch. Detert’s RBI single evened the game at three.
Seven different Hawkeyes tallied hits in the game and four players had RBIs. McCoy and Neustrom extended their hitting streaks to 13 games.
Friday’s first pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. (CT). 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner Desmond King will throw on the first pitch.