IOWA CITY, Iowa – A four-run seventh inning propelled the University of Iowa baseball team to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over St. Thomas on Monday afternoon at Duane Banks Field. The win was the Hawkeyes’ second straight, moving the team’s record to 10-8 overall.
Trailing 4-2, the Hawkeyes loaded the bases in the seventh on a Sam Petersen single, an Anthony Mangano walk and a Ben Wilmes fielder’s choice, reaching after the catcher tried to get the lead runner at third.
Sophomore Michael Seegers’ fielder’s choice ground out cut the deficit to 4-3 and with two outs, redshirt sophomore Sam Hojnar hit a full-count pitch to right field for a two-run single, giving the Hawkeyes a 5-4 lead. Redshirt freshman Keaton Anthony scored the sixth run on a Carl Cano wild pitch.
“It comes down to guys getting on base,” said Hojnar. “Guys getting going early in the inning helped us and two guys on before we had any outs was big.
“I was looking for a fastball middle away and when it got to two strikes, I was trying to cut out the inner half. He made a good pitcher’s pitch. He came in with a fastball, and I got just enough of it to squeeze it to the outfield.”
The Tommies got one run back in the eighth when Kyle Halverson doubled to leadoff the inning and he scored on a Ben Vujovich ground out against redshirt sophomore Casey Day.
Redshirt sophomore Luke Llewellyn pitched around a Hawkeye error to start the ninth, as he struck out the next two batters before getting a ground out to end the game. It was his second save of the season.
Senior Ben Beutel (1-0) earned the win – his first as a Hawkeye – after tossing 1 1/3 perfect innings with two strikeouts. Six Iowa pitchers took the mound, fanning 13, while issuing just one walk.
“I was happy with our staff,” said head coach Rick Heller. “They did exactly what we have been asking them to do, which is fill the strike zone up. If we’re going to lose, it’s going to be because they beat us, not because we’re giving up free bases on the mound. They’ve done a good job of that the last two days.”
Iowa jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Anthony hit a home run off the foul pole in right field for his third blast of the season. St. Thomas tied it in the third, but Anthony’s second RBI – a sacrifice fly to center field – gave the Hawkeyes the 2-1 lead.
St. Thomas tied the game in the fifth on a wild pitch and the Tommies took a 4-2 lead in the sixth on a Vujovich RBI single and a Hawkeye fielding error.
Iowa finished with seven hits in the game with Hojnar leading the charge with a 2-for-4, two RBI performance.
QUOTING COACH HELLER
“We didn’t have many free bases tonight (five), but three of them cost us runs. That’s the way it has been going for us. Any mistake we make is costing us runs and it did tonight, but we found a way to overcome it.
“Duncan (Davitt) gave us another great start and could have gone longer. Everybody that came in did a great job. I was impressed with Luke Llewellyn, that’s his third solid outing in a row. When Michael didn’t make a play on the slow roller, a lot of guys cave right then, but he kept pounding the zone and did a great job and closed the game. That was impressive to see.”
– Hojnar’s multi-hit game was his fourth of the season – tied for the third-most on the team. It was his first career multi-RBI game.
– Seegers ran his on-base streak to 12 games – the second-longest by a Hawkeye this season.
– Iowa had 13 strikeouts in the game, its fourth straight game with 10 or more strikeouts (and 14th of the season.)
– The Hawkeyes have 30 strikeouts to three walks over their last two games.
The Hawkeyes are scheduled to host Grand View on Wednesday at 4:05 p.m. (CT), weather permitting. Iowa will welcome Central Michigan to Iowa City this weekend to wrap up the seven game homestand.