The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Baseball battles back for win

Anthony Vazquez
Iowa infielder Mitchell Boe throws the ball to first base during the Iowa vs. Northen Illinois baseball game at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City, Iowa on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The Hawkeyes beat the Huskies 12-8. (The Daily Iowan/Anthony Vazquez)

By Pete Ruden

[email protected]

Everything started just as Iowa wanted on Tuesday, when it downed Northern Illinois, 12-8, on a windy March afternoon Tuesday.

Even after the Huskies scored 2 early runs in the top of the first, the Hawkeyes battled back to top that with 5 runs of their own in the same inning.A lot of Iowa’s early production was due to pitcher and designated hitter Grant Judkins. Although he gave up 2 runs early, he was a force on the mound, racking up 5 strikeouts in just his first two innings.

At the same time, he was using his bat to produce on offense. Judkins had a 2-run single in the first inning, then scored on a wild pitch shortly after.

“We had a couple big innings that really helped the pitching staff out, including me,” Judkins said. ”It was just nice being able to contribute.”

Not much later, second baseman Mitchell Boe hit a 2-RBI single to left field, scoring Ben Norman and Matt Hoeg.

However, things didn’t go how Judkins would have liked for the rest of the game.

He allowed an RBI single, which was then added to after a Jake Adams throwing error. By the time he was done, the Pella native had allowed 5 earned runs on 5 hits in three innings.

Reliever Elijah Wood then came in for Judkins but gave up a run (attributed to Judkins) on a wild pitch. The next inning he allowed another run when Northern Illinois’ Roderick Bynum singled to right.

But Iowa didn’t stop fighting at that point. With runners on second and third, sophomore left fielder Robert Neustrom singled up the middle to score both and give the Hawkeyes a 7-6 lead.

“It’s always good to see a fight,” Neustrom said. “Didn’t score for a few innings, then we fired back, stayed consistent. It was really good to see.”

After Neustrom advanced to second on a wild pitch, Judkins struck again. Still in the game at designated hitter, Judkins singled up the middle and brought Neustrom in to give Iowa a 2-run cushion.

From then on, Iowa didn’t look back.

Shortly after the seventh inning stretch, left fielder Chris Whelan floated a ball just over the glove of the Huskies’ second baseman, which scored Norman. Right after, Neustrom added another RBI to his stat line, bringing Whelan in.

In the same inning, Big Ten Player of the Week Jake Adams singled to left, which allowed Mason McCoy to cross the plate.

After a Northern Illinois homer brought the Huskies to within 3, Whelan shut the book on a comeback with his second RBI of the day.

Head coach Rick Heller was happy about the Hawkeyes responding when they were down.

After being down in the first and fifth innings, Iowa didn’t fold and kept pressing, a quality that would satisfy coaches around the country.

“I learned that we’re continuing to improve and get better,” Heller said. “I learned that when things were looking bleak in the middle innings, nobody pressed. They just stuck with the plan, and went out and played, and that’s a good sign.”

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