IOWA CITY — The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees would have been proud of this one. A little envious, too.
Iowa and Bradley played a nine-inning college baseball game Wednesday afternoon/evening at Duane Banks Field that clocked in at a cool four hours and three minutes. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, he of the pace-of-play fetish, would have blown a gasket or two at this one.
But if you’re going to play a long, laborious game, it’s way better to win it than lose it, and that’s what Iowa did on Tyler Cropley’s ninth-inning, walk-off grand slam, 13-9.
“First one,” the senior catcher-outfielder said of his big hit. “It definitely lived up to (what I thought it would be). Especially being a grand slam, too. I’ve hit a walk-off single before, but that doesn’t compare to this.”
That was the second non-conference, walk-off win in a week for Iowa (14-8), which rallied to beat Division III Loras last Wednesday on a two-run home run from Austin Guzzo. Cropley launched a 2-2 pitch from Bradley reliever Boby Johnson into the wet night with one out here.
Rain fell throughout the first half of this game. Iowa travels to Illinois for three Big Ten Conference games this weekend after splitting its first two last weekend against Indiana.
The Hawkeyes built a 6-1 lead after four innings, but Bradley (12-6) scored five times in the sixth and three times in the seventh for a 9-8 advantage. Iowa tied it in the bottom of the eighth on a two-out RBI single from pinch hitter Lorenzo Elion.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“I felt like we had quality at-bats the entire game,” said Iowa Coach Rick Heller. “Offensively I was really happy with our performance, other than a guy or two here and there.”
Iowa planned on going with nine pitchers (one per inning) but had to turn to relief ace Zach Daniels for the final two because of ineffectiveness of others. He got the win, not allowing a hit and striking out three.
“I liked our fight tonight a lot,” Heller said. “Those arms we faced the last three or four innings were high-quality arms. To go out there and rally and not get down after giving up a big lead shows a lot about the team and where we’re headed, the direction we’re going.”
l Comments: (319) 398-8259; firstname.lastname@example.org