IRVINE, Calif. – The University of Iowa baseball team staved off a UC Irvine comeback to win 12-10 in the Sunday series finale at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark. The win moves the Hawkeyes record to 7-7 overall.
“It was great to see our guys go out and fight after two tough losses, games we could have won,” said Iowa head coach Rick Heller. “We needed to get a win today even though it wasn’t pretty. Sometimes you have to win these types of games.”
Iowa was cruising as it scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning to stretch its lead to 12-2 before the Anteaters tried to make a furious comeback.
UC Irvine scored three in the bottom of the sixth, two in the seventh and three more in the eighth to close the gap to 12-10. Iowa brought in reliever Luke Llewellyn with one out in the eighth and he walked the first batter he faced to load the bases.
The Kirkwood transfer then buckled down, getting a comebacker from Church for the second out before getting a fly out to center field to end the inning. Llewellyn then retired the Anteaters in the ninth 1-2-3 to record the save.
The Hawkeyes trailed 2-0 early before taking control with a seven-run third. Iowa sent 10 batters to the plate and erupted for seven runs on five hits to grab a 7-2 lead.
“We had a bunch of two-out hits,” said Heller. “We had 0-2 counts three times and kept winning (the at-bats). We scrapped and got some big hits.”
Junior Kyle Huckstorf started the inning with a double down the left field line and then Iowa put together a two-out rally. After a Michael Seegers walk, sophomore Anthony Mangano singled through the left side to get Iowa on the board.
Redshirt sophomore Peyton Williams followed with a two-run double to right center field and Iowa loaded the bases via walks from Keaton Anthony and Sam Hojnar. Redshirt sophomore Brayden Frazier doubled in two runs to stretch the lead to 5-2.
After UC Irvine went to the bullpen, Huckstorf followed with his second hit of the inning, lacing the first pitch he saw to left field for a two-run single, stretching the lead to 7-2.
The Hawkeyes added two more runs in the fifth on three straight doubles from Williams, Anthony and Hojnar to start the inning, making the score 9-2.
The hits (and runs) kept coming in the sixth as Iowa sent nine batters to the plate. Anthony, Frazier and Huckstorf all had RBIs in the inning.
After a dicey first inning, sophomore Ty Langenberg settled in to earn his third win of the season. The righthander, who was making his first career start, allowed two runs on seven hits over five innings, while fanning a pair.
“Ty hurt his ankle in the first inning and toughed it out,” said Heller. “It was uncomfortable for him, but he logged big innings. Beutel put out a fire for us and Luke showed a lot of toughness. He was confident and that was great to see.”
– Iowa finished with 10 hits and matched a season-high with 12 runs. It is the team’s sixth game with 10 or more hits and third game with 10 or more runs.
– The Hawkeyes finished with six extra base hits (six doubles) – tying a season high.
– Anthony has hit safely in 11 straight games and has reached safely in all 14 games this season.
– Huckstorf had a career-high three hits, finishing 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
The Hawkeyes (7-7) close out their California road trip Tuesday, facing San Diego State at 8 p.m. (CT) at Tony Gwynn Stadium. There will be no live stream; fans can listen to the action via the Hawkeye Radio Network via The Varsity Network app.