Iowa Blasts Penn State; Advances to B1G Tournament Semifinals

OMAHA, Neb. – The University of Iowa baseball team scored 11 runs on 16 hits en route to an 11-3 victory over sixth-seeded Penn State in a Big Ten Tournament elimination game on Saturday morning at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.

The win moves the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals where they will face fifth-seeded Michigan at approximately 6 p.m. (CT). Iowa will need to beat the Wolverines tonight and Sunday to advance to the Big Ten title game for the fourth time in program history.

“We needed to find a way to get the win and stay around for tonight and we did that,” said head coach Rick Heller. “I am happy with our effort today.”

Iowa’s offense got off to an inauspicious start as the team loaded the bases in each of the first three innings but failed to push a single run across the plate. Penn State even grabbed a 1-0 lead, scoring on Josh Spiegel’s ground-rule double in the top of the third.

“Any time that happens, that’s scary because when you get opportunities, you have to take advantage of them,” said Heller.

The Hawkeyes got going in the fourth when sophomore Kyle Huckstorf jumpstarted the inning with a leadoff double and scored on Michael Seegers’ RBI single up the middle. After Keaton Anthony doubled to left field, putting runners on the corners, Penn State intentionally walked Peyton Williams to load the bases yet again.

The move paid off for the Nittany Lions as Izaya Fullard grounded into a 5-2-3 double play, but the Hawkeyes kept hitting. Will Mulflur’s RBI single made the score 2-1 before sophomore Cade Moss’ two-run single pushed the lead to 4-1.

“Through the first and second innings when we had the bases loaded, I knew it was going to be one of those games were eventually our bats would break through,” said sophomore Ty Langenberg. “Being on them like that it gave me confidence that I needed to go out there and continue to compete.

“Having a little run support, I knew there would be more on the way.”

Huckstorf led off the fifth with an oppo-taco solo home run that carried into the Nittany Lion bullpen in right field, a run scored on a Penn State fielding error and Fullard singled in a run to make it 7-1.

After Penn State put up two runs in the sixth, Anthony had an RBI single and Williams an RBI ground out to make the score 9-3. Williams belted his 13th home run in the eighth, a two-run laser to right centerfield to stretch Iowa’s lead to 11-3.

Langenberg allowed three runs on three hits and fanned five over 5 2/3 innings to earn his seventh victory of the season. Redshirt sophomore Luke Llewellyn didn’t allow a hit (but walked three) in 1 1/3 innings and redshirt junior Duncan Davitt got the final six outs to close out the victory.

“I am happy with how our guys came out to play today. Ty came out and gave us a quality start, he went deep into the game. Our offense came to life and we put pressure on Penn State from the first inning on.

“It looked like one of those games where maybe all the runners we stranded were going to come back to haunt us, but we stayed after it and finally broke through with the big hit. Cade Moss had a big day, Michael Seegers, Huckstorf and it was nice to see Keaton and Williams swing it well today. Really up and down the lineup, we got quality at-bats all day long.”

– After finishing with just two hits in the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament against Penn State, Iowa finished with 16 with six different Hawkeyes tallying multi-hit games.
– The 16 hits are tied for the team’s third-most in a game this season.
– Seegers tied a career-high, finishing 4-for-6 with a double and RBI.
– Anthony finished 3-for-4 with two doubles – Nos. 21 and 22. He is alone in second place in school history with 22 doubles, two shy of tying the school record.
– Iowa’s 35 wins are the eighth-most in a single season in program history. Three of the top eight win totals have come under Heller.

The Hawkeyes will face Michigan at approximately 6 p.m. (CT) in their third straight Big Ten Tournament elimination game. Redshirt senior Cam Baumann will start for Iowa against Wolverine RHP Chase Allen.

A Hawkeye win will set up a rematch for a spot in Sunday’s championship game.