IOWA CITY, Iowa – Redshirt freshman Keaton Anthony’s RBI single in the seventh inning broke a four-all tie and propelled the University of Iowa baseball team to a 7-4 victory over Central Michigan on Friday night on a cold, windy day at Duane Banks Field.
“Today was about toughness,” said head coach Rick Heller. “Playing on a day like today was difficult. We did a great job in handling that.”
With two outs in the seventh, the Hawkeyes put together rally when Michael Seegers singled and Peyton Williams drew a walk to put two runners on. On a 1-2 count, Anthony laced a single up the middle to give Iowa a 5-4 lead.
Iowa added two insurance runs in the eighth on back-to-back two-out singles from Brayden Frazier and Seegers, pushing the lead to 7-4.
Iowa turned to its closers by committee to close out the game. Redshirt sophomore Casey Day relieved Jacob Henderson after Henderson gave up a leadoff single in the eighth. Day had two wild pitches in the inning, but the right-hander got a ground out and back-to-back strikeouts to leave the then tying run at third.
Redshirt sophomore Luke Llewellyn pitched around a two-out single in the ninth to earn his team-leading third save of the season. Henderson (1-0) earned the win – his first of the season and his career.
The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning when freshman Sam Petersen hit a would be routine fly ball to right field, but the 30+ mph winds lifted the ball over the fence for a three-run homer.
After carrying a no-hitter into the fifth, Central Michigan scored its first run on a bases loaded walk from Iowa starter Adam Mazur. The Chippewas then took the lead with a three-run sixth. After an Iowa fielding error and a hit by pitch, Central Michigan had back-to-back doubles, pushing its lead to 4-3.
The Hawkeyes tied the game in the sixth on a Kyle Huckstorf RBI single before scoring the game’s final four runs.
Iowa finished with nine hits in the game, which included two-hit games from Seegers, Huckstorf and Anthony in the contest.
QUOTING COACH HELLER
“I am happy today because we showed toughness. Things were going our way early, we were playing great, pitching great and a little adversity hit. Some free bases, a couple of hits and all of a sudden we’re down.
“We’ve played in some games like that, and we didn’t recover from it. Today was a great sign because we went out and scored runs in the last three innings. We recovered from it, we had four two-out hits to score runs and our bullpen came in and was really good.”
– Petersen’s home run was his second of the season. His three RBIs were a career high.
– Anthony’s two-hit game was his team-leading eighth multi-hit game of the season.
– Iowa’s bullpen allowed one run on four hits over the final four innings.
– The Hawkeye pitching staff limited Central Michigan to five hits, its 10th game allowing five or fewer hits this season.
Game two of the series is scheduled for a 2:05 p.m. (CT) first pitch on Saturday.