Hawkeyes Down Purdue to Win Opening B1G Series

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana – The University of Iowa baseball team defeated Purdue, 9-6, in the rubber match of the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Alexander Field.

Iowa outhit the Boilermakers, 15-4, and used a big fifth and sixth inning to secure the win.

“Really happy with how we came out,” said head coach Rick Heller. “The bats came out strong and jumped on them right away.”

The Hawkeyes got four and two third innings out of their starter Marcus Morgan. The Iowa City, Iowa native allowed two hits and three earned runs while striking out three and walking four.

Jack Whitlock entered in relief with the bases loaded and recorded a strikeout to get out of the jam. He threw 1 and 1/3 innings without allowing a baserunner to earn the win. Anthony Watts struck out two in an inning and 2/3rds of work, while allowing three runs (two earned).

Jack Young earned his first career save throwing the final 1 1/3 innings, he struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to close the door.

“Decent start out of Marcus Morgan,” said Heller. “At times it was really good, but some free bases led to a few runs. They didn’t have to work very hard for their six. You look up at the board and see six runs on four hits, and you don’t like to see that, but we had some guys step up. Jack Whitlock was great on the mound and Jack Young finishing it out with the final four outs, he was outstanding again.”

On the offensive side of things, the Iowa bats remained hot totaling 29 hits in the final two games of the series.

Purdue took a 2-0 lead early in the game using a walk, a sacrifice bunt and an RBI double to get to the Hawkeyes in the third. A wild pitch and a mishandled sacrifice bunt allowed a second run to cross in the frame.

Iowa responded cutting the Purdue lead in half in the fourth inning as Raider Tello hit a leadoff double down the right field line and Davis Cop singled scoring him.

The Hawkeyes broke things open in the top half of the fourth. Ben Wilmes singled, Michael Seegers doubled to give the Hawkeyes runners in scoring position. Andy Nelson came to the plate and sent a ball over the Purdue bullpen in left field to give Iowa the lead.

A Sam Petersen bunt single and Raider Tello reaching on an infield error allowed Cop to bring home another run as he punched a ball through the left side. Cop finished the day 2-for-5 with three RBIs.

Purdue got a run back in the fifth after a bases loaded walk from Morgan, but the Hawkeyes tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull away.

Wilmes and Seegers both singled to set up Nelson who continued his stellar week with a two RBI double through the left side of the infield. Nelson was 2-for-4 with five RBIs on the day and hit .667 (10-for-15) with three home runs and nine RBIs in Iowa’s four games this week.

Petersen would single and score Nelson from second and Tello would single and put Petersen on third after an error. Cop grounded out but score Petersen from third to give the Hawkeyes a 9-3 lead.

Purdue would plate three runs in the seventh and eighth to narrow the gap, but Young would close the door earning the save and preventing any further damage.

“We just kept after them until the very end,” said Heller. “We didn’t execute as well as we would have liked, but 15 hits and nine runs, you will take that. Really good to get a road series win, never easy to win on the road. Good step for us.”

Iowa hit .364 with runners on compared to Purdue’s .231 and .333 with runners in scoring position compared to .222 for the Boilermakers.

UP NEXT: The Hawkeyes (13-10, 2-1 B1G) travel to Normal, Illinois for a midweek matchup on Tuesday with Illinois State.