IOWA CITY, Iowa — A walk-off grand slam from senior Tyler Cropley sent the University of Iowa baseball team to a 13-9 victory over Bradley on Wednesday night at Duane Banks Field. The walk-off win is the team’s fourth of the season.
“I was just looking for a sac fly with the last at-bat, but I hit it a little further than I planned, which is good,” said Cropley, who finished 3-for-5 with a career-high five RBIs. “This is my first walk-off homer and it lived up to what you’d expect. I’ve hit a walk-off single before, but this doesn’t compare to that.”
The Hawkeyes owned a 6-1 lead entering the sixth inning after senior Austin Guzzo hit a two-run home run in the first inning and sophomore Kyle Crowl hit a solo shot in the four-run fourth. Iowa also got RBI doubles from Mitchell Boe and Cropley and a Robert Neustrom RBI single to open a five-run advantage.
Bradley fought back in the top of the sixth, scoring five runs to tie the game at six, but Iowa responded with a two-run sixth to take an 8-6 lead.
The Braves took their first lead with a three-run seventh before the Hawkeyes put together a late-inning rally, tying the game in the eighth on a pinch-hit RBI single from sophomore Lorenzo Elion before Cropley connected on the walk-off homer — Iowa’s second in a week.
Iowa loaded the bases in the ninth courtesy of base hits from Boe, Chris Whelan, and Robert Neustrom.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“This was a game where I we came out with good energy and we had quality at-bats. Offensively, I was happy with our performance. For the most part, we were solid up-and-down the lineup. We were planning to throw nine guys, but unfortunately, once we got to the sixth inning; Bradley is a good hitting team. I liked our fight tonight and those arms that we faces the last four innings were high-quality arms. To go out and rally like we did says a lot about the team.”
Iowa out hit Bradley 15-12, with four Hawkeyes registering a multi-hit game. Whelan finished 4-for-5 with four runs, while Neustrom (3-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Cropley had three hit games. Boe finished 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
Cropley, Guzzo, and Crowl all homered, giving Iowa its first three home run contest of the season.
Iowa used 10 different pitchers in the game. Junior Zach Daniels notched the victory, tossing two shutout innings, fanning three.
Wednesday’s win was Iowa’s fourth come-from-behind victory this season.
The Hawkeyes improve to 7-2 at Duane Banks Field this season.
The Hawkeyes (14-8, 1-1) travel to Champaign, Illinois for a three-game series against No. 22/25 Illinois from March 30-April 1.