IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to come from behind to upend Chicago State, 5-4, Wednesday afternoon at Duane Banks Field. It is the Hawkeyes’ second walk-off victory in four days.
Iowa has won a season-high four straight games to improve to 11-7 overall heading into Big Ten Conference play this weekend at Indiana.
Trailing 4-3 heading to the ninth, sophomore Izaya Fullard drew a leadoff walk before stealing second and third base to get into scoring position. With one out, junior Austin Martin tied the game on a RBI-double to left field.
Martin then came around to score the game-winning run after junior Ben Norman hit a fly ball that Chicago State’s centerfielder Andy Gaytan couldn’t corral for the E8, sending the Hawkeyes to the walk-off victory.
Chicago State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first after sophomore starting pitcher Trenton Wallace allowed a two-out, two-strike single to Daulton Ryans. Wallace, who hit for himself, settled down and scattered four hits over a career-high four innings, while striking out a career-best six batters.
The Hawkeyes scored a run in the first and second innings, while Chicago State added another run in the third. Iowa tied the game at three in the bottom of the fifth on a Martin RBI-single, scoring Fullard.
Freshman Duncan Davitt dominated the middle innings, and retired the first five batters he faced en route to three scoreless innings of relief.
Iowa had a chance to break the game open in the sixth, but senior Tanner Wetrich struck out looking with the bases loaded.
In the top of the eighth, the Cougars took a 4-3 lead off senior pitcher Jason Foster. Junior Kyle Shimp pitched a scoreless ninth to give Iowa a chance before Iowa walked it off in the ninth. Shimp was credited with the win, his first of the season.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It was a tough, close game. There was no panic. I’m happy with how we went about our business. (We had an) errorless game on defense. We had some decent at-bats, but didn’t get the knockout blow when we had the chance. Unfortunately, that’s been the story for a while. I like the progress. I like the direction we are going.”
- Fullard reached base four times and tied a career-high with four runs scored on a 3-for-4 afternoon. Fullard stole two bases in the bottom of the ninth to get into scoring position.
- Martin, who is hitting a team-best .317, recorded his team-leading eighth multi-hit game of the season. Junior Lorenzo Elion also recorded a multi-hit game from the eight hole.
The Hawkeyes begin Big Ten play this weekend in Bloomington, Indiana, against Indiana. The Hoosiers (12-8) are riding a five-game winning streak. Friday’s series opener will start at 5:05 p.m. (CT).
“It’s going to be a tough start. Indiana’s hot right now,” said Heller. “They’ve scored double digit runs in four of the last five games, including 15 yesterday against a really good Indiana State team. There ballpark, depending how the wind blows, is a place that you can go in there and knock it out of there.
“We’re not built to get into a slugfest with anybody. We’re going to have to pitch, play great defense, and take advantage of our opportunities. If we do that, we’ll have a chance.”
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