NORTH PORT, FLORIDA – Redshirt junior Kyle Huckstorf played the role of hero in the bottom of the 11th inning connecting on a walk off grand slam as the Hawkeyes defeated Indiana State, 6-2, in their season opener.
“Couldn’t ask for more it was a great baseball game between two really good teams,” said head coach Rick Heller. “Two really good arms. Anytime you play in a situation like that where every pitch matters, whether it’s game one or game fifty, and you see your guys hang in there and compete and get out of some tough jams it makes you proud. Really proud of our guys.”
Junior Ty Langenberg got the nod on the mound for Iowa. The Urbandale, Iowa, native allowed two runs – on five hits – while striking out six Sycamores in five innings of work.
Redshirt sophomore Jared Simpson came into the game with the scored tied, 2-2, with runners on second and third. He preceded to throw four innings allowing no runs – on one hit – and striking out seven.
“Really proud of Jared,” said Heller. “Proud of the confidence he showed coming in that extremely tough situation and getting us out of it. That gave us the opportunity to stay in the game and get the win. Night-and-day difference from where he was a year ago. Super proud of him and the hard work he has put in.”
Redshirt junior Will Christophersen followed Simpson throwing two hitless innings and earning the win.
Seven different Hawkeyes tallied hits in the opener with two players notching multi-hit games. Huckstorf went 2-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Junior Michael Seegers (2-for-4) also had a multi-hit contest.
After Indiana State scored in the top half of the first, Iowa put together a strong inning in the second to take the lead. Sophomore Sam Petersen homered well over the left field wall to tie the game before Huckstorf singled, and redshirt junior Sam Hojnar doubled to right center to score him.
Indiana State would tie the game in the fourth inning and then neither team scored until the 11th when the Hawkeyes captured the game.
Junior Michael Seegers singled to lead off the bottom half but would be thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Redshirt sophomore Raider Tello singled, redshirt sophomore Keaton Anthony was hit by a pitch, and fifth year Brennen Dorighi singled to load up the bases. Huckstorf swung at the first pitch he saw and connected sending the ball over the left field wall to win the game for the Hawkeyes.
“Huckstorf had the strikeout the at-bat before but wiped it away and steps up with the bases loaded and hits a grand slam,” said Heller. “It was a great day, really proud of our guys. Felt like we beat a really good team today.”
– It is the fifth time in the Rick Heller era Iowa has opened the season with a victory.
– Kyle Huckstorf has hit the last two grand slams for the Hawkeyes (Indiana 5/19/22).
– The last walk off home run for the Hawkeyes was Brett McCleary vs. Northwestern (4/26/21).
– Brennen Dorighi, Chase Moseley, and Raider Tello all made their Hawkeye debuts.
The Hawkeyes (1-0) return to action Saturday, facing Quinnipiac at 10 a.m. (CT) in Game 2 of the Snowbird Baseball NCAA Classic. The game will be played at Centennial Park.