116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Kids ran around the outfield and gathered up Easter eggs as part of a Sunday afternoon postgame promotion at Banks Field.
The exact count on those eggs wasn’t immediately available, though it seemed to be about the same amount as the run total the Iowa Hawkeyes baseball team had in the seventh inning. Infinity.
It wasn’t really infinity, “just” eight, a number that turned a previously frustrating game into an eventual 9-3 win over Minnesota and a Big Ten Conference series sweep.
“Getting a sweep is always good, especially at home,” said Iowa’s Will Mulflur. “Just really good momentum for everybody on the team going into a tough series next week on the road ... Just a big confidence booster for everybody.”
Iowa (20-12, 6-3) has a non-conference game Tuesday at home against Bradley, then hits the East Coast for a three-game series at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have won 15 in a row, are 30-6 overall and lead the Big Ten with an 11-1 record.
Big series. Big, big series.
“If we wanted to make any kind of run, it was a big game today,” said Iowa Coach Rick Heller. “Last week, we let a couple slip away (against Illinois) that we wish we had back. The only way you do that is you keep winning. To get a win today, especially coming back late like that is really good for the confidence, really good for the psyche of the team. To do it with a bunch of guys out of the lineup says a lot about our culture and the toughness of the group that we have. Guys stepped up and got the job done.”
Minnesota (10-23, 1-8) knocked out Iowa starting pitcher Ty Langenberg with single runs in each of the first three innings. It was still a 3-0 Gophers lead after six innings, thanks in large part to Gophers starter Aidan Maldonado, who showed off a 94-mile-per-hour fastball and sweeping slider that kept Hawkeyes bats quiet.
But the seventh inning was a completely different deal: 13 guys batted, there were seven hits and three walks against four Minnesota relievers. Seven straight guys reached after two outs, including Ben Tallman’s game-tying single and Mulflur’s go-ahead two-run double down the third-base line.
Iowa transfer Will Semb took the brunt of the damage (five runs in one-third of an inning) and the loss.
“We knew a good amount about him coming into the game, obviously,” Mulflur said. “Just trying to get up there and keep fighting. I found myself in a lot of two-strike counts over this whole season, really. Just see it deep with two strikes, put a good swing on it, and got it past the third baseman there. It worked out.”
“Just trying to get the guys to stick with it, stick with it,” Heller said. “Try to get into the bullpen and try to give ourselves a chance to come back.”
Dylan Nedved got the win in relief for Iowa, throwing four shutout innings. He and Benjamin DeTaeye combined for six two-hit, shutout innings out of the bullpen, which allowed this comeback to happen.
“Definitely feels good to give your team a chance,” Nedved said. “I know it was big to get some shutdown innings, so they could come back in and try to give us a chance to win. We were able to get it done.”
Comments: (319)-398-8258, firstname.lastname@example.org