IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team scored four runs early and poured it on late to down No. 12 Oklahoma State, 11-3, and clinch the series win Sunday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
The Hawkeyes won the final two games to win their second straight and third series of the season over a ranked foe. Iowa is 28-16 overall.
“This win is huge,” said redshirt junior Chris Whelan, who finished 2-for-5 with two runs. “Coach (Rick) Heller was talking to us about how teams before us wouldn’t have this opportunity for a top-25 team to come in and play us.
“We were fortunate to have them come out and play us and I think this sets the tone for the rest of the season going into the last two weeks of Big Ten play.”
The Hawkeyes grabbed the momentum early when Whelan singled and junior Robert Neustrom doubled to put two runners on for senior Tyler Cropley. The Hawkeye catcher followed with a two-run single to right field to give Iowa a 2-0 lead.
Iowa’s final two runs scored on Luke Farley ground ball that was thrown away by Oklahoma State third baseman Michael Neustifter, making the score 4-0.
The early run support was just what freshman Jack Dreyer needed in his first career weekend start and just his second of the season. The southpaw went five innings, allowing one run on two hits and fanning six to notch his third win of the season.
Sophomore Grant Judkins followed, going 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and senior Nick Nelsen got the final out with the bases loaded in the ninth to clinch the series victory.
Iowa’s offense added insurance runs with a six-run seventh inning. Sophomore Mitchell Boe started the inning by singling to center field, then sprinting around the bases and scoring on a three-base error by center fielder Trevor Boone.
Senior Matt Hoeg had an RBI single to plate the second run and four more Hawkeyes scored on a hit by pitch and three consecutive bases-loaded walks.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“This was a great game for us and our program. To be in the situation we were in and have Jack Dreyer step up like he did was big. It was good for our offense to come out and score four runs right off the bat and to keep the pressure on them. Grant Judkins pitched great and I could not be prouder of him and Dreyer. We came out and played hard three days in a row. The energy and effort was the difference maker for us.”
Iowa pounded out 14 hits for the second straight game. Iowa scored 33 runs on 32 hits during the three game series.
Five different Hawkeyes tallied multi-hit games with Tyler Cropley (3-for-4, 3 R, 2 RBIs) and Matt Hoeg (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBIs) posting three-hit games.
Dreyer tied a career-high with six strikeouts in just his second start of the season. He went a career-long five innings in the game.
Iowa is 8-9 against ranked opponents this season.
The Hawkeyes move to 17-6 this season at Duane Banks Field.
Iowa returns to action May 11-13, traveling to Evanston, Illinois, for a three-game weekend series at Northwestern. Friday’s series opener is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. (CT).