The Hawkeyes improved to 4-1 in extra-inning games this season, outscoring opponents 8-1 in extra frames.
“That was a team effort, and that’s what I told the team,” said UI head coach Jack Dahm. “It started on the mound, and Bryan came up with a couple big swings of the bat for us. It was a great effort all the way around and we did a great job of battling.”
Iowa (17-24, 5-12) loaded the bases in the top of the 12th inning to set the stage for Niedbalski’s go-ahead sacrifice fly. Sophomore Jake Yacinich singled to open the frame, while junior Taylor Zeutenhorst drew a walk and sophomore Anthony Torres was plunked prior to Niedbalski’s deep drive to center field.
Sophomore Taylor Kaufman held the Wolverines scoreless in their half of the 12th inning, striking out the final two batters. Kaufman collected his second win of the season after allowing no runs on two hits in 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Sasha Kuebel. Kuebel took a no-decision after allowing three runs on eight hits and striking out eight in 9 1/3 innings of work. The St. Louis native set new career-highs in innings pitched and strikeouts.
“Sasha came to us on Tuesday and said he wanted the ball,” Dahm said. “He had a tremendous outing and competed. He didn’t want to come out of the game.”
Michigan (23-21, 9-8) broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring one run on two hits to take a 1-0 lead. Jacob Cronenworth drove in the run by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Wolverines extended their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of sixth, pushing two runs across the plate on four hits. Travis Maezes plated both runs, hitting a two-run bunt single that scored Patrick Biondi and Eric Jacobson.
Iowa got into the scoring column and cut the Michigan lead to 3-2 in the top of the seventh, using one hit to score two runs. The Hawkeye loaded the bases with one out after three walks and a fielder’s choice, setting up a two-run single up the middle by sophomore Kris Goodman. The pair of RBIs were Goodman’s 20th and 21st RBIs on the year, tying him with Yacinich for the team lead.
The Hawkeyes knotted the score at 3-3 in their next at-bat in the top of the eighth. Zeutenhorst led off the frame with a single to center field, and advanced to third base with two outs. Niedbalski drove in Zuetenhorst with an RBI single through the right side of the infield, registering his first hit and RBI of the season.
The Hawkeyes pounded out nine hits en route to evening the three-game series, 1-1. Goodman and Yacinich were responsible for four of the nine hits, as they each tallied two hits apiece.
Iowa concludes its three-game series with Michigan tomorrow at the Wilpon Complex. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. (CT).