Iowa Downs Michigan, 7-3; Forces Sunday Rematch

OMAHA, Neb. – Redshirt senior Cam Baumann delivered his best outing of the season and the University of Iowa baseball team scored seven runs in a three-inning stretch in a 7-3 victory over Michigan in a Big Ten Tournament elimination game on Saturday night at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.

The Hawkeyes have won three straight elimination games, including two on Saturday, to force an if necessary game against the Wolverines on Sunday. The game time is dependent of the result of the Rutgers-Indiana game later tonight.

Baumann, a southpaw from Fairfield, Iowa, was stellar, allowing two runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He finished the game with five strikeouts to one walk to notch his first victory of the season. Baumann entered the game logging 15 1/3 innings and a 6.46 ERA.

“I started off slow and struggled with fastball command during the early part of the season and started to really settle in this past month,” said Baumann. “It has been up and down mentally. I knew all my stuff was good and I knew it would start clicking. You just have to stick with it and that’s what I have done.”

After hitting three batters (and getting out of the inning unscathed in the first), Baumann settled in for his longest appearance of the season.

“I was struggling there in the beginning,” said Baumann. “I was rushing myself with my off-speed grips. I didn’t get a good grip when I was delivering those. After that I stepped back, slowed it back and made sure I was ready to go and that was the difference.”

“I felt if he made it through the first, there was a good chance that he would settle in and give us a few innings,” said head coach Rick Heller. “I was happy to see Cam settle down and he was really good after that.”

After being held scoreless through four, the Hawkeyes loaded the bases in the fifth inning on a Cade Moss single, a Michigan throwing error and a Ben Wilmes walk. With one out, Keaton Anthony battled, drawing a bases loaded walk in a eight pitch at-bat to earn a walk and make the score 1-0.

Iowa pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fifth with a two-hit inning. Redshirt sophomore Sam Hojnar singled and Moss walked before redshirt sophomore Kyle Huckstorf ripped a two-run triple into the right center field gap to clear the bases.

Michigan got to Baumann in the sixth, leading off the inning with two straight singles and Iowa went to redshirt senior Ben Beutel. After getting two outs and walking the bases loaded, Jordan Rogers hit a blooper to right field that landed in front of a diving Anthony.

Two Wolverine base runners scored on the play and Michigan tried scoring Ted Burton from first. Redshirt senior Izaya Fullard made a heady play, hustling to shallow right and one-hopping a strike to Moss at the plate to gun out the game-tying run, keeping Iowa in front 3-2.

“I thought Keaton was going to get there and make a diving catch, but it popped out,” said Moss. “I lined up Izaya and he was able to get in quick. I had to take a few steps to my right, make a good pick and get back and get my glove to the plate and he slid into me. I cut up my arm a little bit, but got the out so that’s good.”

The Hawkeyes put up a crooked number in the top of the seventh to break the game open. Iowa loaded the bases on two hit by pitches and a Fullard single before freshman Sam Petersen ripped a pinch-hit single to left field to make the score 5-2. Moss and Huckstorf followed with consecutive singles pushing the Hawkeye lead to 7-2.

Michigan closed the gap to 7-3 on a Jimmy Obertrop solo home run before putting two runners on with nobody out. Iowa brought in Connor Schultz and the graduate student struck out the side, thwarting the Wolverine rally.

Schultz closed out the game in the ninth to notch his first save of the season.

“I am proud of our guys, it was a long day with two hard-fought games. Cam put us on his back, I am proud of Cam tonight. He stepped up and did exactly what we needed him to do. He stepped up in a big-time game and was great for us.

“Cade had another big game and Kyle Huckstorf with three RBIs. Sam Petersen comes off the bench with a pinch hit that drives in two. It was a good team effort and a solid defensive game. Beutel gave us everything he had, and Connor came in and shut the door. We needed to find a way to get to tomorrow.”

– Iowa is one win away from advancing to the Big Ten title game for the fourth time in program history.
– Baumann’s previous season high was a three inning outing at Michigan State on May 14.
– Fullard, Huckstorf and Moss accounted for six of Iowa’s 10 hits.
– Schultz became the seventh different Hawkeye to record a save this season.

The Hawkeyes will face Michigan in an if necessary game on Sunday. If Rutgers beats Indiana, the game will begin at 1 p.m. (CT). If Indiana forces an if necessary game, Iowa will face Michigan at 9 a.m.