By AUSTIN BRAMLEY
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Junior Tyler Cropley’s ninth-inning RBI single sent the University of Iowa baseball team to a 3-2 victory over Michigan State on Friday afternoon at McClane Stadium.
“This was a great way to start the weekend,” said UI head coach Rick Heller, whose Hawkeyes improved to 10-6 in Big Ten play and 28-16 overall.
Tied at two entering the ninth, junior Jack Adams led off the inning with a single before sophomore Robert Neustrom doubled to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Cropley then bounced an RBI single down the third base line to give the Hawkeyes a 3-2 lead.
“Tyler gave us a big, clutch hit to take the lead after Michigan State tied it up,” Heller said. “He had a good game.”
Iowa led 2-1 in the eighth when the Spartans plated a run to tie the game. Dan Durkin scored on a Josh Martsching wild pitch after he doubled to right field to lead off the inning.
Senior Mason McCoy broke a one all tie in the sixth, blasting a solo home run to left field to give the Hawkeyes a 2-1 advantage. It as McCoy’s third home run of the year.
Iowa scored its first in the fourth inning on a Grant Judkins RBI groundout. Adams scored after drawing a leadoff walk to open the inning.
The Hawkeyes had only five hits on the afternoon, but road superb pitching to victory. Cropley collected two of Iowa’s five hits, finishing 2-for-3 with the go-ahead RBI single.
“We had some bad at-bats today, but we clutched up when we needed too,” said Heller. “Our pitchers made some great pitches.”
Junior Nick Gallagher recorded his eighth quality start of the season, scattering nine hits over seven innings of work. He allowed just one run and struck out six. Senior Josh Martsching (2-0) earned the win, allowing one run on one hit over the final two frames. He struck out one.
“We got a great start out of Nick Gallagher,” Heller said. “Josh Martsching came in late and did a great job in the eighth and ninth innings.”
Walter Borkovich (4-3) suffered the loss for Michigan State. He entered the game in the sixth and gave up one run on two hits while striking out one over three innings.
Game two of the series is slated for a 12:05 p.m. (CT) start Saturday.