IOWA CITY, Iowa – Junior Zeb Adreon delivered a game-winning RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the University of Iowa baseball team to a 3-2 walk-off victory over No. 30 Nebraska on Friday night at Duane Banks Field.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Adreon who helped the Hawkeyes improve to 22-14 overall and 8-5 in the Big Ten. “This is what you play for. This is was you dream about being a little kid in the backyard – being in those situations and delivering.”
“To come up big like he did,” head coach Rick Heller said. “He’s a good hitter and clutched up big time. I felt there was a really good chance he was going to come through in that situation the way he has been swinging it.”
Senior Tanner Wetrich started the ninth with a leadoff single before junior Justin Jenkins attempted a sacrifice bunt, but Wetrich was called out on a bang-bang play at second base. After Jenkins stole second, Adreon laced a 2-1 pitch to right field and the play at the plate wasn't close when right fielder Aaron Palensky air-mailed the throw, sending the Hawkeyes to their third walk-off victory of the season.
Senior Cole McDonald recorded his sixth quality start of the season, throwing six innings and allowing only two runs on four hits. Iowa’s bullpen didn’t allow a hit as Kyle Shimp tossed 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief ball, while junior Trace Hoffman pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to earn his fifth victory of the season.
Iowa scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the third after consecutive two-out hits by Adreon and senior Chris Whelan. Whelan went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. Sophomore Izaya Fullard also went 2-for-4.
Nebraska responded in the top of the fourth, scoring two runs with two outs. The Cornhuskers looked to add on in the fifth after the first two batters reached, but McDonald and the Hawkeyes escaped the bases-loaded jam.
The Hawkeyes tied the game in the bottom of the sixth after Whlean doubled to lead off the inning. Junior Austin Martin then drove in Whelan with an infield single.
Iowa finished with eight hits off Nebraska starter Matt Waldron, scoring runs in the third and sixth inning against the right-hander who entered the contest with the top ERA in the Big Ten.
“We kept battling and taking good at-bats all night and with them being at the top of the leaderboard, getting this first win on Friday night is real big momentum boost going in to the next two days,” Adreon said.
With a runner on third in the top of the eighth, junior third baseman Matthew Sosa made a game-saving play deep behind the third base bag to get out of the inning.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It was a big game for us. It was a well-pitched game by (Matt) Waldron as advertised. It was a gutty effort tonight by our team. We did make a few mistakes, but we were able to cover them up. It was a good game. It was an intense game. It was a type of game that we expected it would be.”
- Wetrich extended his career-high eight-game hitting streak in the bottom of the ninth.
- Tonight marked Iowa’s 12 come-from-behind win and third walk-off of the season.
- The victory snapped Nebraska's nine-game Big Ten winning streak.
- Iowa improves to 13-3 at Duane Banks Field this season.
Game two is set for 2:05 p.m. (CT) start and will be televised on BTN. Saturday is Hawkeye Football Day with Iowa football players signing autographs pregame from 1-1:40 p.m. (CT). Senior quarterback Nate Stanley will throw out the first pitch.
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