IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior Tyler Cropley hit a two-out, two-run home run in the ninth inning to send the University of Iowa baseball team to a 7-5 walk-off victory over seventh-ranked Michigan on Sunday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
The victory gives Iowa the series win, moving the team’s record to 26-14 overall and 9-7 in Big Ten play.
“This is a big win to regain our confidence,” said UI Head Coach Rick Heller. “This will hopefully give everyone a huge boost and we can play well the next five games before we head back into conference play.”
Iowa trailed 5-0 through two innings before scoring one in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth, and tying the game at five on a Chris Whelan solo home run in the seventh.
The Hawkeyes’ ninth-inning rally started when sophomore Ben Norman reached on a fielding error by third baseman Blake Nelson. After Iowa thought it walked off when an infield fly landed in fair territory before going foul, Cropley hit a 2-2 pitch over the left field fence to give the Hawkeyes the walk-off victory.
It was Iowa’s fifth walk-off of the season and the team’s 12th come-from-behind victory this season.
Michigan jumped on Iowa starter Cole McDonald when the Wolverines’ Dominic Clementi hit a three-run first inning home run. Michigan pushed its lead to 5-0 with a two-run second.
Iowa started its comeback in the second when Mitchell Boe’s RBI single knocked in Kyle Crowl to get the Hawkeyes on the board.
The Hawkeyes tacked on two more in the third inning and another in the fourth. After Robert Neustrom drew a four-pitch walk, Austin Guzzo delivered his third home run of the season — a two-run home run that made the score 5-3.
Sophomore Justin Jenkins led off the fourth inning with a three-base error before scoring on an RBI double from Matt Hoeg to make it a one-run game.
Junior Zach Daniels (5-1) earned the victory, scattering two hits over four shutout innings. He finished with six strikeouts to one walk. McDonald went 3 2/3 innings before leaving the game because of injury.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“Tyler keeps getting better and his confidence is there. He has improved so much with his swing and the situation with the foul ball and then to knock one out of the park like he did to win the game says a lot about his toughness and make up. Zach did an awesome job for us today as well. His changeup was really good and he was punching out really tough outs against a really hot team.”
- The series win is Iowa’s fourth in Big Ten play this season. The Hawkeyes took two of three games from Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio State.
- The Hawkeyes improve to 6-8 against top-25 teams this season.
- Iowa hit three home runs — its third such game of the season. Cropley’s home run was his sixth of the season, including his second walk-off, while Whelan and Guzzo both connected on their third.
- The Hawkeyes are now 15-4 at Duane Banks Field this season.
The Hawkeyes return to action Tuesday, hosting Missouri at 3:05 p.m. (CT) at Duane Banks Field.
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