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 knocks off Spartans

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Alex
Iowa catcher Tyler Cropley hits a grand slam during the game between the Bradley Braves and the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City at Duane Banks Field on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The Hawkeyes bats came alive to hit two grand slams and won 12-1. (The Daily Iowan/ Alex Kroeze)

For the first time this season, the Iowa baseball team has recorded back-to-back Big Ten series wins, taking its series over Michigan State, 2-1, this past weekend and sweeping Penn State the previous weekend.
Following the sweep of conference foe Penn State and a loss on the road to Western Illinois, Iowa came back and won a 3-2 game over Michigan State.

Tyler Cropley had himself a series, racking up 6 RBIs in the three games. His 4 RBIs on Sunday tied a career high.

In a 2-2 ballgame on May 5, first baseman Jake Adams came up with a base knock to lead off in a crucial spot. Immediately after, right fielder Robert Neustrom doubled to put Iowa in scoring position.

Cropley then came up huge for the Hawkeyes, launching a ball down the left-field line to give his team the lead.

“Tyler gave us a big, clutch hit to take the lead after Michigan State tied it up,” head coach Rick Heller said in a release. “He had a good game.”

Mason McCoy went yard for the third time this season, and Grant Judkins also brought a run in for the Hawkeyes.

Nick Gallagher came out with another solid performance, making his eighth quality start of the season. The Iowa City native allowed 9 hits in seven innings of work, but gave up just 1 run, extending a record that is beginning to look like one of an all-conference hurler.

That stretch of optimal pitching carried over into the May 6 game, but the result wasn’t what the Hawkeyes wanted.

Ryan Erickson notched a quality start as well, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits, while fanning three.

However, the offense couldn’t generate a whole lot of runs to support him. Iowa scored 1 in the sixth, but that was all it could muster, as Michigan State’s Kyle Lowery also pitched a gem, surrendering just the 1 run on 5 hits in 7.2 innings. He also struck out 9.

“Ryan pitched outstanding for us; we just couldn’t get anything going for him,” Heller said in a release.

Neustrom logged the only RBI for Iowa, bringing in McCoy on a sacrifice fly.

The series-clinching win came on Sunday when the Hawkeyes were able to break away in the ninth to complete a 9-4 victory.

The Hawkeyes started and ended the game on fire.

After scoring 3 early runs in the top of the first inning, Iowa brought in 4 runs in the ninth inning to effectively put the game away and end any hopes of a Spartan comeback.

While the team heated up early and late, Cropley kept it going consistently. The Iowa Western transfer tied a career high with 4 RBIs: 2 in the first, 1 in the third, and 1 in the ninth.

Before the ninth, however, it was a close game. Iowa held a 5-4 lead heading into the final frame before the runs came pouring in.

“It was another close game heading into the ninth,” Heller said in a release. “It was good to see us break through and score some more runs.”

The series win over the Spartans — who could have flipped positions with Iowa in the Big Ten standings with a series win of their own — has the Hawkeyes in a good position heading toward the conference tournament. Big Ten series against Ohio State and Illinois remain before the conference meets in Bloomington, Indiana, to determine who gets the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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About the Contributor
Pete Ruden
Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @PeteyRuden Pete Ruden is the Pregame Editor at The Daily Iowan, where he has worked since the beginning of his college career. He has covered a variety of sports at the DI, including football, men's basketball, baseball, wrestling, and men's tennis. Currently a senior, he served as a sports reporter his freshman year, before becoming the Assistant Sports Editor and then Sports Editor his junior year.