IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two eighth-inning RBI singles from Tyler Cropley and Kyle Crowl sent the University of Iowa to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory, leading the Hawkeyes to a three-game series sweep over Evansville on Sunday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
The win was Iowa’s third come-from-behind win of the season, improving the team’s record to 11-6 overall.
“We’ve taken some big strides this weekend,” said Crowl. “We came out with a lot of energy today and I think we did a good job executing. We’ve been getting it done late in the games and I think we did a good job showing that again today.”
Iowa trailed 2-1 through 6 1/2 innings before rallying with three runs in its final two at-bats. Freshman Zion Pettigrew tied the game in the seventh with a pinch-hit RBI single to centerfield before Iowa put together a three hit inning in the eighth.
Junior Chris Whelan singled and junior Robert Neustrom walked to start the inning before Cropley laced the first pitch he saw from reliever Ryan Brady into center field to give the Hawkeyes a 3-2 lead. After Lorenzo Elion‘s sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third, Crowl singled to right center field to give Iowa a 4-2 lead.
The Purple Aces fought back in the ninth, scoring one run after Nate Reeder led off the inning with a triple and scored on a Craig Shepherd RBI ground out. Junior Grant Leonard entered with a runner on first and allowed a one-out single before getting a strikeout and fly out to convert his first career save.
Evansville took a 1-0 lead in the first on a Tanner Craig RBI double in the first before Crowl belted a solo home run in the second to tie the game at one.
The Purple Aces broke the tie game in the sixth inning with an RBI single from Reeder.
Junior Zach Daniels (2-1) earned the victory, allowing one run on two hits over 3 1/3 innings. He had five strikeouts to one walk. Junior Cole McDonald was solid in the start, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits in five innings.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“I’m happy with the way our guys came out and played today. We faced a good arm from Evansville in Lukas, one of the better arms we have seen. He pitched great. Crowl continued to stay hot, hitting the home run early to tie the game.
“Cole McDonald gave us a good start, I feel like he had to labor a little bit today and he fought through it. Zach Daniels came in and did a nice job and Grant Leonard came in to a tough spot and got the two outs for us. The clutch hits today were the story for us late in the game. Pettigrew came in with a big knock to tie the game and Crowl and Cropley each had big hits.”
– Cropley went 2-for-3 at the plate with one RBI for his fifth multi-hit game of the season. Crowl finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one home run — his third of the season.
– Freshman Matt Berst made his first career start behind the plate.
– Iowa improved to 4-0 at Duane Banks Field this season.
The Hawkeyes (11-6) return to action on Tuesday, hosting Saint Louis at 3:05 p.m. (CT).