Iowa Hawkeyes

Zeb Adreon gives Iowa baseball walk-off win over Nebraska

Hawkeyes open series with dramatic 3-2 win

Iowa Hawkeyes’ Zeb Adreon celebrates after reaching second base during the third inning of their Big Ten Conference college baseball game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Duane Banks Field in Iowa, Iowa, on Friday, April 19, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes’ Zeb Adreon celebrates after reaching second base during the third inning of their Big Ten Conference college baseball game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Duane Banks Field in Iowa, Iowa, on Friday, April 19, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Iowa’s Zeb Adreon couldn’t recall a time he had the chance to deliver a walk-off hit.

Maybe the former Pleasantville prep played out the scenario playing baseball with friends or practicing at home.

Adreon capitalized on an opportunity to make it reality Friday night. He roped a two-out single to right field, scoring Justin Jenkins with the winning run in a 3-2 victory over Nebraska in the opener of a three-game Big Ten Conference series at Duane Banks Field.


“Something you think about being a little kid in the backyard, being up in those kinds of situations and delivering,” Adreon said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Adreon stepped to the plate with Jenkins on second, who stole the base after reaching by a fielder’s choice on a failed sacrifice attempt.

Adreon had a simple approach.

“I was really just trying to have a good at-bat,” Adreon said. “I was just trying to stay calm and look for a pitch I could do damage with and fortunately he left one over the plate and I was able to get a base hit.”

Adreon had a double and scored on Chris Wheelan’s single in the third, giving Iowa a 1-0 lead. He was clutch in his final at-bat.

Iowa Coach Rick Heller said he had a feeling Adreon would be able to prevent extra innings.

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“He has a good at-bat earlier in the game with a knock and then to come up big like he did,” Heller said. “He’s a good hitter. He clutched up big time. I bet there was a really good chance he was going to come through in that situation the way he’s been swinging it.”

After Iowa took the lead, Nebraska answered with some clutch hits of its own in the top of the fourth. Angelo Altavilla drew a leadoff walk and reached third on consecutive groundouts. Mojo Hagge’s infield single to the hole at shortstop plated Altavilla to even the score. Hagge scored on Cam Chick’s single to give the Huskers a 2-1 edge.

Iowa tied the score in the sixth. Whelan led off with a double and scored on Austin Martin’s single.

The Hawkeyes received a quality start from Cole McDonald. He went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits in a no-decision. Kyle Shimp and Trace Hoffman combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Hoffman, a former Cascade prep, improved to 5-1, tossing 1 2/3 innings.

“I was really proud of him,” Heller said of McDonald. “He really battled out of some jams.

“He got through the sixth and Trace Hoffman threw really good out of the pen. It was good to see. Kyle Shimp was really good out of the pen as well. Did a nice job for us tonight. Just a really gutty effort by our team.”

Iowa’s defense came through with some key plays to support the pitchers. Shortstop Tanner Wetrich’s play on a grounder thwarted a bases-loaded threat in the fifth and a quick catch and tag to nab a base stealer in the top of the ninth. Matthew Sosa stranded a Husker at second, skipping a throw to first baseman Izaya Fullard, who finished with a nice scoop to end the eighth.

“It was a good game,” Heller said. “It was an intense game. I guess it was the type of game we expected it would be.”

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Iowa (22-14, 8-5) hosts Nebraska (21-12, 10-3) Saturday at 2:05 p.m. The Hawkeyes have won three straight conference series.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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