Hawkeyes Edge Minnesota in 12 Innings
April 29, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS -- After losing the first two games of the weekend series by one run, the Iowa baseball team posted a thrilling 5-4 one-run win in 12 innings over Minnesota Sunday in the Metrodome to avoid the series sweep.
After falling to Minnesota 5-4 in 12 innings a year ago (April 30, 2011) in Minneapolis, the Hawkeyes returned the favor, winning by the same score and inning this season.
"This was a gritty effort by our team," said head coach Jack Dahm. "We came up with some clutch hits and big defensive plays. Our freshmen pitchers (Sasha Kuebel, Taylor Kaufman and Nick Hibbing) were outstanding today."
Iowa (17-22, 6-9) generated two runs in the top of the third inning. Mike McQuillan started a two-out rally with his second single of the game to right field. McQuillan then scored on the next play when Minnesota's right fielder attempted to throw out the Hawkeye senior at third base after a single by Jake Yacinich, but the errant throw ended up in the Iowa dugout allowing McQuillan to trot home. Keppler then smacked another single to right to score Yacinich for the early 2-0 advantage.
Minnesota (26-20, 9-6) took the lead in the bottom of the fifth with three runs via four singles.
The Hawkeyes were able to even the game in the top of the seventh. With runners on second and third, McQuillan hit a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Taylor Zeutenhorst. The home squad reclaimed the lead on a sacrifice fly of its own in the bottom half of the frame.
Iowa tied the contest for the second time in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs, pinch-hitter Bryan Niedbalski delivered a clutch RBI double to the gap in left center scoring Keppler.
McQuillan, Yacinich, Keppler and Eric Toole led Iowa offensively. Toole and Yacinich each had two singles, while McQuillan had two singles, two walks, two runs, his team-leading 11th stolen base, an RBI and sacrifice fly. McQuillan's first base hit was his 227th of his career, which moved him past Brad Carlson (1999-02) for third on Iowa's career hits list. Keppler had two hits, two RBI and a run scored.
Both starters got no-decisions. Iowa's Sasha Kuebel threw seven and a third innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits, while striking out three. Minnesota's Austin Lubinsky completed six and a third innings, allowing three runs on eight hits.
Tim Fangman, Taylor Kaufman and Nick Hibbing saw action out of the Hawkeye bullpen. Kaufman earned his second victory of the year, pitching a season-long four and two-thirds. His previous long was three and two-thirds against Army on March 16. Hibbing entered in the 12th and secured his second save of the campaign retiring the final two Gophers. Minnesota's Drew Ghelfi got the loss, allowing Iowa's winning run in the top of the 12th.
Tonight's game was only Iowa's third extra-inning contest of the season and first since a 16-15 ten-inning triumph over Youngstown State in Clarkesville, Tenn., on March 4. The 12-inning game was the longest of the season for the Black and Gold.
The Hawkeyes return to Iowa City for a four-game homestand beginning Tuesday. Iowa will host Milwaukee Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. at Dune Banks Field, followed by a three-game weekend series against Michigan Friday through Sunday.