MINNEAPOLIS — A two-run seventh inning lifted 25th-ranked Minnesota to a 4-3 victory over the University of Iowa baseball team in Friday’s series opener at Target Field.
The Hawkeyes led 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2, but the Gophers answered each score before taking the lead in the seventh.
Minnesota’s seventh-inning rally began with a Cole McDevitt single and he advanced to second on a Toby Hanson sacrifice bunt to end Iowa starter Nick Allgeyer’s day. Jordan Kozicky tied the game with an RBI double to right center field against reliever Nick Nelsen and Luke Pettersen had a two-out double off the right field wall against Zach Daniels to give the Gophers the 4-3 lead — their first of the game.
Iowa jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fifth when sophomores Justin Jenkins and Ben Norman had back-to-back one-out doubles against Minnesota starter Reggie Meyer. Jenkins scored on a wild pitch.
The Gophers tied the game on a two-out RBI single from Alex Boxwell in the fifth before senior Tyler Cropley put Iowa back on top with a solo home run down the left field line, putting Iowa on top, 2-1. Minnesota used another two-out base hit from Eli Wilson in the sixth to tie the game at two.
The Hawkeyes grabbed their final lead in the seventh, taking advantage of a pair of Gopher errors. Sophomore Kyle Crowl singled and moved to second on a throwing error before Jenkins’ sacrifice bunt was bobbled, allowing him to reach.
After Norman sacrificed runners to second and third, Mitchell Boe’s sacrifice fly gave Iowa a 3-2 advantage.
Iowa missed an opportunity in the eighth, loading the bases on a Cropley single and walks from Lorenzo Elion and Crowl, but Jenkins took a called third strike from closer Max Meyer to leave the bases full.
Allgeyer went 6 1/3 innings in the start, allowing three runs on six hits and fanning six in the no-decision. Nelsen (2-1) suffered the loss, allowing one run in 1/3 an inning.
Minnesota’s Brett Schulze (8-0) earned the win in relief, allowing one hit over 1 2/3 innings. Max Meyer got the final four outs for his ninth save of the season.
QUOTING COACH HELLER
“It was a great game, two great teams and two great pitching performances. Reggie Meyer pitched great for Minnesota and Nick did well for us. It was a pitcher’s duel the first four innings. We scratched a run in the fifth, sixth, and seventh, and as well as we pitched, we gave it right back in the fifth, sixth, and seventh.
“That’s where we have to put a zero up and we weren’t able to do that. We had an opportunity in the eighth with two outs and didn’t get a base hit with the bases loaded. The guys fought hard.”
Minnesota out-hit Iowa, 8-6, in the game. Cropley finished 2-for-4 with a home run. It was his 13th multi-hit game of the season and his fifth home run.
Allgeyer recorded his ninth straight quality start in the no-decision.
Iowa falls to 3-6 against ranked opponents this season.
Game two of the series will begin at 2 p.m. (CT) at Target Field.