Iowa baseball escapes with 3-1 victory over Penn State in first game of a three-game series at Banks Field
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Nick Allgeyer didn’t get credit for the win on Thursday, which is misleading to say the least.
Because without Allgeyer’s latest pitching gem, which included seven shutout innings, the Iowa baseball team would have been in serious trouble against Penn State in the first of a three-game series to end the regular season at Banks Field.
The Hawkeyes were in serious trouble, even with Allgeyer’s mastery on the mound, but still managed to escape with a 3-1 victory by scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning after Penn State had tied the score in the top half of the frame.
Ben Norman and Chris Whelan both drove in one run in the eighth inning with a double and single, respectively.
Ace reliever Zach Daniels then recorded the final three outs to secure the much-needed victory, which also helped Iowa secure a spot in the Big Ten Tournament.
Iowa improved to 31-18 overall and 11-9 in the Big Ten. The teams will meet again on Friday at 6:05 p.m. at Banks Field before closing the regular season on Saturday.
The Big Ten Conference normally plays its three-game series from Friday through Sunday. But the final series is pushed up one day to allow more time to prepare for the conference tournament, which starts next Wednesday in Omaha, Neb.
Allgeyer was replaced by Daniels to start the eighth inning, but Daniels couldn’t hold the lead as Penn State scored one run to even the score at 1-1. Failing to protect the lead also kept Allgeyer from recording a victory.
That set the stage for Norman’s game-winning hit in the eighth. He smacked the ball deep to left field, allowing Kyle Crowl to score from first base.
Crowl had led off the inning with a walk.
Whelan then provided some cushion by driving in Iowa’s third run of the game. It was also his third hit of the game.
Mitchell Boe drew a based-loaded walk in the bottom of the sixth inning to score the first run in the game.
Allgeyer continued to roll in the seventh, which started with him recording his sixth strikeout of the game for the first out. He then recorded two fly outs to retire the side.
Allgeyer has thrived as Iowa's Friday starter, which is college baseball's version of the ace. He also pitches well on Thursday based on his latest performance, which came under pressure-packed circumstances..
It is widely assumed that Iowa has to sweep the Nittany Lions and probably win at last two or three games in the Big Ten Tournament to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa suffered a severe setback by losing two of three games at lowly Northwestern last weekend. That pretty much eliminated any margin for error, so it was crucial that Allgeyer deliver and he met the challenge.
Iowa is trying to make the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five seasons under head coach Rick Heller.