By Adam Hensley
Cole McDonald hadn’t pitched since he was injured on April 29.
May 18 at Banks Field marked his first time on the mound since the win against then-No. 7 Michigan, and he looked better than ever.
McDonald was dealing in Iowa’s 9-1 win over Penn State. The Nittany Lions seemed to have no answer offensively — they only reached base three times during McDonald’s time, once via a hit and twice on walks. Other than that, McDonald kept Penn State batters guessing, striking out 7 in 4 innings.
While McDonald had himself a day, so did Grant Judkins, who entered in relief. The Pella, Iowa, native picked up right where McDonald left off, giving up just 2 hits in 5 innings while striking out 8.
Penn State countered with Justin Hagenman, who lasted 4.1 innings and felt the full force of Iowa’s offensive onslaught in the bottom of the fifth.
With the teams knotted at 0, Tyler Cropley connected for a 2-run single to left. Austin Guzzo was hit by a pitch, and then, with the bases loaded, Matt Hoeg ripped a single into a gap in left field, scoring Robert Neustrom and Cropley. Moments later, Guzzo scored when a ball got by Penn State’s catcher.
All in all, the Hawkeyes recorded 5 hits in their 5-run inning, creating a hole the Nittany Lions couldn’t dig out of.
Just two innings later, Iowa scored 4 more runs. Penn State pitching managed to load the bases and then hit Chris Whelan, scoring Kyle Crowl. Later, Cropley connected on a 3-run double.
With the win, Iowa clinched a series victory. The May 19 series finale will start at 6:35 p.m. at Banks Field.