Hawkeyes Drop Extra Inning Heart-Breaker at Minnesota
April 30, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS - - After rallying from a three-run deficit to force extra innings, the Iowa baseball team was unable to hold off Minnesota and drop a 5-4 heart-breaker in 12 innings Saturday. The game was played at Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins.
The win extended Minnesota's Big Ten winning streak to five, while the Hawkeyes have now dropped its last four conference games. Iowa falls to 15-25 overall and 4-10 in conference. Iowa, who has been involved in a number of close games, fell to 1-5 in games decided by one run in league play.
Minnesota's Matt Puhl, who had a game-tying RBI single with two outs in the tenth, came up big again in the 12th. Again with two outs, Puhl hit one up the middle off Hawkeye reliever Zach Kenyon for his fourth base hit and third RBI of the game to lift the Gophers to the extra-inning victory. Kenyon got the loss, allowing two runs on four hits in four and a third.
Minnesota (16-16, 8-6) jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first scoring unearned runs via two hits and two Hawkeye errors. The Gophers extended their lead to 3-0 with an RBI double down the right field line in the third inning.
Minnesota starter Phil Isaksson silenced the Hawkeye bats in the middle innings, stranding one runner on base in the fourth through seventh innings. Isaksson allowed no runs and only three hits in seven innings of work, but got a no-decision.
After 16 scoreless innings dating back to yesterday's 1-0 loss, Iowa finally cracked the scoreboard and tied the contest in the eighth inning. With two outs and runners on second and third, pinch hitter Taylor Zeutenhorst delivered a clutch two-RBI base hit up the middle scoring Mike McQuillan and Tyson Blaser. Zach McCool then reached on a throwing error by the second baseman, which allowed Zeutenhorst to cross home plate for the tying score. All three runs were unearned as the Gophers committed four errors in the frame.
The Gophers had an opportunity to retake the lead in the eighth, but Kenyon was called upon to relieve Tim Fangman and thwarted the scoring threat. With runners on first and second and only one out, Kenyon registered a pop out and strikeout.
After a scoreless ninth, the visitors took a 4-3 lead in the top of the tenth. McQuillan hit a lead-off double to center to get things started. Blaser followed with a sacrifice bunt moving McQuillan to third. Two batters later and with two outs, Zeutenhorst hit the first pitch and found a hole through the left side for the freshman's third RBI of the contest.
Iowa was one out away from victory in the 10th, but Puhl singled to left to even the score and extend the contest.
Today marked only Zeutenhorst's second multi-hit game of the year and his contest collecting multiple RBI's. Senior shortstop Kurt Lee collected his ninth multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a walk.
Iowa starter Matt Dermody got a no-decision, allowing three runs (one earned) while scattering seven hits and striking out five in five and two thirds. Minnesota reliever Tom Windle pitched two scoreless innings to earn his fourth win of the year.
Today's game, which was scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, was delayed two hours at the start due to rain.
Iowa and Minnesota conclude the weekend series Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m. at Target Field.