IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team withheld a ninth-inning Nebraska rally to down the Cornhuskers, 6-5, on Sunday afternoon at Duane Banks Field in the final game of a three-game series.
The Hawkeyes took a 6-3 lead into the top of the ninth inning, but Nebraska made things interesting by putting two runs on the board. The Cornhuskers used a sacrifice fly and an RBI single to make the score 6-5 before senior Ricky Sandquist induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the game, earning his first save of the season.
“It was a gutsy performance by Ricky.” said UI head coach Jack Dahm. “He didn’t flinch and knew he was going to be able to get ground balls. It was a heck of turn by the middle of the infield.”
Sandquist threw 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Andrew Hanse, allowing two runs on five hits. Hanse picked up his first win as a starter this year after tossing 6 2/3 innings. The senior from Marion, Iowa, allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits.
The Hawkeyes scored six runs on 11 hits, tallying 10 or more hits for the fourth straight game. Five different players drove in a run, and sophomores Eric Toole and Taylor Kaufman, and freshman Blake Hickman each went 2-for-4 at the plate.
“When you look up and down the lineup there were a lot of guys that got key hits for us,” Dahm said. “There were so many big at-bats for us throughout the day, and we were able to drive in some runs”
Nebraska broke a scoreless tie in top of the third inning, scoring a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead courtesy of Michael Pritchard and Chad Christensen one out RBI singles.
The Hawkeyes answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third inning, taking advantage of three Cornhusker errors to tie the score, 2-2. Toole scored Iowa’s first run, crossing the plate after a throwing error by Nebraska catcher Tanner Lubach. Junior Trevor Kenyon drove in the second run of the frame, plating sophomore Jake Yacinich after reaching base via a fielding error.
The Cornhuskers wasted no time regaining the lead, scoring a run in their next at-bat to make the score 3-2. Bryan Peters plated the run by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field.
Iowa took its first lead of the contest in the fifth inning, pushing two runs across the plate on five hits. Four of the five hits came with two outs, as junior Keith Brand, sophomore Jake Mangler, Hickman and freshman Nick Roscetti posted four consecutive singles against Nebraska reliever Tyler King. Hickman and Roscetti were both credited with an RBI, giving the Hawkeyes a 4-3 advantage.
The Hawkeye lead increased to 6-3 in their next at-bat. Sophomore Kris Goodman opened the frame by drawing a walk, before being advanced to second via a Yacinich bunt and moving to third on a Kenyon single. Kaufman plated Goodman, hitting an RBI single to right field. Kenyon crossed home a batter later, as Brand sharply hit a ground out to the Nebraska shortstop.
The Hawkeyes return to action with a pair of mid-week games April 9-10 against Kansas at Duane Banks Field. Opening pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. (CT) on Tuesday and 4:05 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday.