By Adam Hensley
As the snow flurries developed into heavy snowfall in the bottom of the eighth inning, Grant Judkins scored Iowa’s biggest run of its series finale against Ohio State.
Judkins sent an RBI double flying down the left-field line, scoring Kyle Crowl and putting the Hawkeyes up, 2-1, for good, capping the weekend with a series victory.
“Guys on first and second, I was trying to stay simple, trying to put something in play [and] give them a chance to hopefully score, and it stayed fair,” Judkins said.
He did his share of work in the outfield as well.
Playing in left field for the first time as a Hawkeye, he made a leaping catch against the wall, igniting the Banks Field crowd into a frenzy.
Iowa got things going early in the second inning when Austin Guzzo, who reached base after being hit by a pitch, scored on a Crowl sacrifice fly.
Iowa left two Hawkeyes on base to end the inning, however, taking a 1-0 lead.
Neither team marked the scoreboard in the third, but then Ohio State scored its first run of the game in the fourth.
Facing a 2-0 count, Noah McGowan rocked a pitch over the left-field wall for the first home run of the three-game series by either team and his seventh on the year.
Cole McDonald got the start on the mound, striking out 8 Buckeyes and scattering 3 hits over his 6 innings, but Zach Daniels earned the win, moving to 4-1 on the year.
“When the offense is down, it seems like the pitching staff will pick them up and vice versa,” Daniels said.
Daniels pitched the game’s final three innings, giving up only 1 hit while retiring three batters.
“It was a really big series,” head coach Rick Heller said. “In [Sunday’s] game, every pitch mattered — every single one of them. On a day when the offense wasn’t clicking for either team, largely in part because of the pitching, for us to find a way to get a win … this was a big one.”
On April 7, the Hawkeyes split their doubleheader with the Buckeyes.
The second game of the day ended in Iowa’s favor, 9-5, thanks to a monster first inning by the Black and Gold.
The Hawkeyes used a 5-hit first inning to jump out to a 7-1 lead, and from there, they controlled the game.
Robert Neustrom, Tyler Cropley, and Lorenzo Elion combined for 6 of Iowa’s 8 hits, while pitcher Brady Schanuel gave up 6 hits and 3 runs during his 6 innings on the mound, striking out 7.
Ohio State took Game No. 1, 2-1, in a defensive performance in which scoring was hard to come by.
Iowa scored first in the bottom of the third inning when Cropley brought Chris Whelan home on an RBI single, but in the top of the fourth, Ohio State scored 2 runs. From there, both teams struggled to put any sort of offense together.
Both teams notched 8 hits, but combined, they left 19 runners stranded.
Nick Allgeyer started on the mound, going 6 innings and scattering 5 hits and giving up both Buckeye runs. He struck out 8 of the 26 batters he faced.
Iowa’s next contest will be on the road; the Hawkeyes will travel to Peoria, Illinois, to take on Bradley at 7 p.m. Tuesday.