WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The University of Iowa baseball team won its 20th game of the season and third straight Big Ten Series after splitting a Saturday doubleheader with Purdue at Alexander Field.
The Hawkeyes (20-14, 7-5) dropped game one, 9-5, to the Boilermakers (11-23, 5-6), but rebounded with a 6-3 win in the series finale.
“I’m happy to get out of here with a series win and start getting ready for next week,” head coach Rick Heller said.
Game 1 | Purdue 9, Iowa 5
Game one saw a 4-0 Purdue lead disappear in the sixth when the Hawkeyes took a 5-4 lead. However, the Boilermakers responded with a five-run seventh to down Iowa, 9-5.
In the first two innings, sophomore starter Cam Baumann allowed six hits and four runs. The lefty from Fairfield, Iowa, battled back, surrendering only two hits and zero runs in his final three innings.
Once Baumann found his groove, the Iowa offense started to piece together a comeback. In the fourth, senior Chris Whelan scored on a double play after leading the inning off with a walk. Iowa tied the game at four in the fifth with three runs, including a two-run home run from senior Tanner Wetrich.
Wetrich then had the go-ahead RBI single in the top of the sixth that knocked in junior Ben Norman. Iowa’s 5-4 lead was short lived.
Davitt walked the first two batters he faced before giving up a two-run triple, which forced Heller to go to the bullpen with Hoffman. The Boilermakers followed with back-to-back singles, including a back-breaker to pinch-hitter Milo Beam that scored the fourth and fifth runs of the inning.
Iowa had two runners on with one out in the eighth, but Whelan grounded into a 5-3 double play to end any comeback threat.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It was a tough loss in game one. You blow a one-run lead in the seventh, give up a five-spot, and walk away not feeling very good after Cam Baumann battled for us and logged some innings. Unfortunately, we struggled to throw strikes in the bullpen and we gave up some big hits.”
Game 2 | Iowa 6, Purdue 3
Game three was the series’ most even matchup with the game being knotted at two until the seventh inning. After the first two innings, both starting pitchers found a groove until Iowa scored four runs in the eighth inning.
Junior Grant Judkins (4-3) was the winning pitcher, while Ryan Beard (0-5), who exited the game with an apparent leg injury, was the tough-luck loser. Judkins retired 10 straight batters from the second to the fifth inning and left in the eighth after recording two outs.
Eight of Iowa’s 10 hits and all of Iowa’s six runs on the offensive end were recorded in two innings – the second and the eighth.
In the second, the Hawkeyes scored two runs with two outs. Senior Luke Farley fouled off a few pitches before hitting an opposite field single to right field that scored sophomore Izaya Fullard. Next, junior Matthew Sosa bunted down the third base line and beat out the throw, plating senior Tanner Wetrich.
Iowa’s four-run eighth inning started with three straight singles with junior Austin Martin drove in two runs. It was Martin’s first and only hit of the series.
Following a Fullard fly out, junior Ben Norman smoked his team-leading fifth home run over the right center field fence, extending Iowa’s lead to 6-2.
Judkins gave way to closer Grant Leonard in the eighth, who allowed one inherited runner to score. Leonard then struck out the final three batters in the ninth to convert his eighth save in as many chances.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It was good to see in game two, a tight ball game, until late. We score four in the eighth to take the lead, but Purdue never went away. We got a great start out of Grant Judkins in game two and then Grant Leonard came in and did a nice job closing it out.
“I’m pretty pleased with how our guys played defensively. We hit a lot of at them balls in game two – a lot of line drives at guys that cost us some runs early and then finally had a few fall. It was a big game for us to find a way to get it done and really happy with our guys and how hard they played.”
- Iowa improves to 6-6 in six doubleheaders this season.
- Iowa committed only one error in three games this weekend.
- Tanner Wetrich hit .556 (5-of-9) with four extra-base hits and four RBIs in the three-game series
- In two starts this weekend, Luke Farley was 3-for-9 with two RBIs.
- With six RBIs this weekend, Ben Norman extended his team-leading RBI total to 25.
- Grant Leonard’s 10 career saves are ninth most in Hawkeye history.
- Grant Judkins’ start in game two was only the second time in nine starts he has allowed three or more earned runs.
On Tuesday, Iowa hosts Northern Illinois at Duane Banks Field with a 6:05 p.m. (CT) first pitch.