IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team scored seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings and held off a ninth-inning rally to down No. 12 Oklahoma State, 16-14, on Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
“I felt the two-out hits we got today were big,” said senior Matt Hoeg, who had a bases-clearing go-ahead double in Iowa’s four-run seventh. “To win big games against really good teams, you need a lot of two-out hits and we had plenty of them today. We knew we needed to come out and play well today.”
The Hawkeyes evened the series by scoring 16 runs on 14 hits in a slugfest. Between Iowa and Oklahoma State, runs were scored in every inning except the second, which led to a four hour and 15 minute contest.
After trading three spots in in the first, Oklahoma State took the lead in the third with a two-run inning. Iowa countered, putting up a three spot to take a 6-5 advantage. Junior Robert Neustrom led off the inning with a no-doubt home run to right field to start the inning before sophomore Kyle Crowl hit a two-run double to left field to give Iowa a its first lead of the series at 6-5.
Oklahoma State regained the lead with a big two-out rally that was kept alive by an Iowa throwing error that allowed two runs to score. The Cowboys’ Michael Neustifter provided the big blow in the frame, hitting a towering three-run shot off reliever Derek Lieurance, making the score 11-6.
The Hawkeyes began chipping away, scoring two runs in the fourth on a two-run double from Hoeg and Crowl scored on a wild pitch in the fifth. After Oklahoma State scored one run in the sixth to take a 12-9 lead, Iowa responded with four in the seventh and three in the eighth.
Neustrom singled home Iowa’s first run in the seventh before Tyler Cropley and Austin Guzzo walked to load the bases. With two outs, Hoeg stepped to the plate and laced a first-pitch double down the left field line to clear the bases to give Iowa a 13-12 lead.
The Hawkeyes got some key insurance runs in the eighth. After Crowl singled and Chris Whelan reached via a hit by pitch, Neustrom belted a three-run home run off reliever Brady Basso to extend Iowa’s lead to 16-12.
They were key runs as Oklahoma State hit two solo home runs off reliever Zach Daniels in the ninth, trimming the deficit to 16-14.
Freshman Ben Probst earned his first career victory, allowing one hit and fanning three in one inning of relief. Senior Nick Nelsen pitched a scoreless eighth before Daniels got the final three outs in the ninth.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team and the effort we put in today. Our backs were against the wall and to fall behind early, but to keep fighting back says a lot. To get the insurance runs at the end was big. We had guys clutch up today, Neustrom and Hoeg had a big game and Crowl had four hits. Amid all the free bases, we gave its pretty amazing really.”
- Iowa tied a season-high with 16 runs. It’s the second time this week and third time this season the Hawkeyes have scored 16 in a game.
- Hoeg finished 2-for-4 with a career-high six RBIs. It ties Lorenzo Elion for the team season-high.
- Neustrom hit his team-leading ninth and 10th home runs of the season. He has four home runs in his last five games. The outfielder finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs and three runs. The five RBIs tie a career high, while it is his second career two home run game.
- Crowl finished a perfect 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. It was his first career four-hit game.
- It was the first time in 12 starts the Brady Schanuel hasn’t been involved in the decision.
- The Hawkeyes are 16-6 at Duane Banks Field this season.
The rubber match of the three-game series will begin at 11:35 a.m. (CT) Sunday at Duane Banks Field. The Hawkeyes will start freshman LHP Jack Dreyer in his first career weekend start (second of the season).
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
Stay up-to-date on all the happenings with the Iowa baseball program on social media via Twitter (@UIBaseball), Instagram/UIBaseball, and Facebook/IowaBaseball.