Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa baseball beats snow, Ohio State

Hawkeyes claim second straight Big Ten series with 2-1 win in cold

Iowa head baseball coach Rick Heller. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa head baseball coach Rick Heller. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Following Iowa’s 2-1 win Sunday over Ohio State, Hawkeye Coach Rick Heller was taking a video on his phone as snow began to blanket Duane Banks Field.

Heller was also breathing a sigh of relief. Had the Hawkeyes not been able to finish off the Buckeyes when they did, it was likely the game would have been suspended.

“It would not have been good,” Heller said. “We would have had to suspend the game and come back (Monday).”

Thanks to the heroics of sophomore Grant Judkins, who broke a 1-1 tie with a two-out bloop double that scored Kyle Crowl with the winning run, and solid relief pitching from junior Zach Daniels, Iowa was able to finish off the Buckeyes on a crazy weather weekend just minutes before the playing surface would have become unplayable.

The victory allowed Iowa (19-10, 5-3 Big Ten) to win its second straight series after taking two of three last weekend at Illinois. Ohio State fell to 20-10, 3-2.

“Baseball’s a crazy game,” Judkins said following the game. “You’ve just got to stay locked in, be confident for that one opportunity you’re going to get. You’ve just got to be ready at all times.”

The winning rally started with a two-out walk to Kyle Crowl, followed by a Justin Jenkins single to left. After working a 2-0 count against Buckeye closer Seth Kinker, Judkins reached out and poked the ball down the left-field line well in front of OSU left fielder Tyler Cowles.

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Judkins, who pitched in relief during the opening game of the series, has been hampered by a hamstring injury that has limited his time on the field.

“I was just trying to stay simple,” Judkins said. “I just wanted to put something in play to give (Crowl) a chance to score.”

The Pella native also made a big defensive play.

He saw his first action of the season in the outfield, coming in to play left field after pinch hitting in the fourth inning.

Ohio State’s Noah McGowan, whose line drive solo homer in the fourth tied the game at 1-1, lifted a towering fly ball down the left-field line with a runner on in the sixth.

It appeared the light breeze blowing out to left might take the ball over the wall, but Judkins got back to the wall and reached up to haul it in right at the yellow line on top of the fence.

“It’s the first time I ever played outfield,” Judkins said. “I was a little nervous at first, but after my first inning out there I was confident.”

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