IOWA CITY, Iowa – After scoring 42 runs in the first two games, the University of Iowa baseball team leaned in its pitching staff in a 2-1 victory over Indiana to complete the weekend sweep on Senior Night Saturday at Duane Banks Field.
The victory improves the Hawkeyes’ record to 17-7 in Big Ten play, giving the team a share of second place in the conference standings. Iowa, who is 33-17 overall, earned the No. 3 seed at next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska.
“With how the games went this weekend, not having a chance to play for a championship today, we still had a chance to tie for second place in the league and that’s a big deal,” said head coach Rick Heller. “To get the third seed (opposed to the fourth seed), I think that was a good thing, too.
“I was proud of our guys. It was a long weekend with a lot of emotion and senior weekend going on and a late game like this. We showed a lot of toughness and responded. I am proud of them.”
Three Iowa pitchers – starter Ty Langenberg and relievers Connor Schultz and Ben Beutel – allowed one run on eight hits in the win.
Langenberg scattered four hits and fanned four over five innings to improve to 6-2 on the year, Schultz allowed one run on one hit and fanned three in two innings and Beutel pitched himself in and out of trouble, stranding five base runners and striking out four to earn his fourth save.
“I am happy with the way I performed,” said Langenberg. “I didn’t have my best stuff with me, but overall I was pleased how I was able to work out of the situations and make due with what I had today.”
The Hawkeyes grabbed the early lead in the first inning when redshirt freshman Keaton Anthony belted a solo home run to right field for his 14th blast of the year. It was the first of three Iowa hits in the game.
Iowa loaded the bases on two walks and a Hoosier fielding error in the fifth and scored the pivotal second run on a Ty Bothwell wild pitch.
Indiana got on the board in the sixth when Matthew Ellis hit a solo home run off Schultz. The Hoosiers put the first two runners on in the eighth before Beutel struck out the side. Indiana then loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but the southpaw got a strike out and fly out to send the Hawkeyes to the sweep.
“Confidence, it all goes back to it,” said Beutel. “When things are speeding up, you have to take a step back and know you’re going to get out of it.”
QUOTING COACH HELLER
“Ty did a good job tonight, he had good stuff and the changeup was back. To give us five tonight was about what we wanted and Schultz gave us a couple and was pretty good and Ben wasn’t as sharp as he has been, but he found a way to get it done and showed a lot of toughness and grit. Our pitching staff did an awesome job tonight.
“We needed to have a grinder and find a way to get it done. We did that tonight. We were in some tough situations and fought out of it. Indiana’s pitching was outstanding tonight. When we let Bothwell off the hook in the fifth, I thought it might come back to haunt us, but it held up.”
– Iowa’s pitching staff has allowed one or fewer runs in 12 games this season.
– Anthony homered for the third straight game against the Hoosiers.
– Redshirt senior Izaya Fullard had Iowa’s two other hits, finishing 2-for-3 for his 12th multi-hit game.
– The Hawkeyes won for just the fourth time in 11 games when being out-hit by its opposition and for just the third time in 10 games when scoring two or fewer runs.
– It is the second time in the Heller era for the Hawkeyes to finish in second place in the league standings (second, 2015). Iowa has four top four finishes under Heller.
The Hawkeyes will be the No. 3 seed at the 2022 Big Ten Tournament where they will face sixth-seeded Penn State at 9 a.m. (CT) on Wednesday at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.