EAST LANSING, Mich. – The University of Iowa baseball team spotted Michigan State a 2-0 lead before scoring 12 unanswered to post a 12-2 series-clinching victory on Saturday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium at Kobs Field.
The victory is the Hawkeyes’ 30th of the season, giving the program 30 or more wins in each of the seven “non-COVID” seasons under head coach Rick Heller. It is Iowa’s fifth straight series victory (and seventh in eight weeks), moving the record to 30-16 overall, 14-6 in Big Ten play.
“It was great to get win No. 30, especially with all this team has gone through,” said Heller. “The injuries, fighting, scrapping, clawing with our early season schedule. Getting to that number is great and even bigger yet, we’re still in the race.”
The Spartans jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Iowa starter Connor Schultz before reliever Duncan Davitt entered with two outs in the first to settle things down. Michigan State had six hits in the first two frames – all singles – before collecting three hits the rest of the way.
Redshirt sophomore Peyton Williams jumpstarted Iowa’s offense, belting a two-run home run – his team-leading 11th of the season – in the third and the Hawkeyes grabbed the 3-2 lead on Brendan Sher’s RBI ground out in the sixth.
The Hawkeyes broke the game open in the seventh, pushing seven runs across the plate on four hits. Freshman Ben Wilmes had a two-run single in the inning, Izaya Fullard drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 6-2, Sam Petersen had a bases-clearing double to right center and Cade Moss singled to left field, making the score 10-2.
“After the rain delay, Petersen coming out, first batter and hitting the bases-clearing double on a full-count, that was big,” said Heller. “We executed well offensively today. We scored a bunch from third with two outs and we won a bunch of 3-2 counts at the plate.”
Iowa’s offense made it 12-2 in the ninth on Mitch Wood’s RBI single – the first hit of his career – and Sam Hojnar walked with the bases juiced to force in the final run.
The Hawkeye bullpen was superb in the game, tossing 8 1/3 shutout innings. Davitt, Ben Beutel and Cam Baumann scattered five hits, struck out five and issued two walks. Beutel (3-0) earned the victory, while Baumann earned the three-inning save.
Iowa collected 12 hits in the game with Williams, Keaton Anthony and Hojnar tallying multi-hit games. Williams was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and four runs scored, Anthony was 3-for-4 with his 20th double and Hojnar finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
QUOTING COACH HELLER
“There were a lot of positives today. Duncan and Ben working out of the jams in the first and fifth were huge. That gave us a chance and that was a big run in the sixth when Sher gave us the lead.
“It was a positive day after we worked out of those jams. Michigan State came out swinging the bats. It could have been a lot worse early, but thanks to Davitt and when he hit the wall, Beutel came into a bases loaded jam and got us out of it.”
– The game started late due to lightning and there was a 57-minute rain delay in the top of the seventh.
– Anthony’s 20 doubles are tied for the second-most in a single season in program history. They are the most doubles since Tyler Cropley in 2018.
– Williams has 11 home runs, the most since Jake Adams hit 29 during the 2017 season.
– Iowa’s pitching staff has 21 games this season surrendering two or fewer runs.
– Baumann is the seventh different Hawkeye to tally a save this season. It is his first career save.
– The Hawkeyes have had 10 or more hits in four of the last five games.
– Ben Wilmes batted in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career. He had his third two-RBI game in the last five contests.
The Hawkeyes look to finish off the series sweep on Sunday. Game time is set for 12:05 p.m. (CT).