Iowa baseball’s bats come alive in 12-9 win over Northwestern

With some assistance from 14 mph winds, the Hawkeyes and Wildcats hit a combined seven home runs at Duane Banks Field on Monday.


Kate Heston

Iowa baseball player Ben Norman hits the ball during a baseball game in Iowa City against Northwestern on April 26. The Hawks beat the Wildcats, 9-8.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Thanks, in part, to 14 mph winds, 18-11 Iowa baseball and 12-16 Northwestern hit a combined seven home runs at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City Monday.

While the Wildcats did notch five of the seven homers, the Hawkeyes swung for the fences when it mattered most, as junior pinch hitter Brett McCleary hit a walk-off, three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to help the Hawkeyes pick up a 12-9 win and a 2-0 series sweep of the Wildcats.

“Coming in, we knew the wind was blowing out,” junior Ben Norman said. “We knew that if balls were hit up in the air, they were probably going to have a good chance of going [out of the park]. We knew it was going to be an offensive battle coming in, and we just had to stay at it the whole game.”

Iowa’s starting pitcher, Duncan Davitt, allowed three solo home runs in the first two innings of the contest, giving the Hawkeyes an early 3-0 deficit to deal with.

“Three runs in this type of weather is like nothing,” Norman said. “We just kind of had that approach and stuck to that the rest of the game.”

In the bottom of the fifth inning, junior Izaya Fullard hit the Hawkeyes’ first home run of the game to tie the score at three apiece.

Although the wind proved to be useful at the plate, it did not help any of Monday’s hurlers.

In six innings pitched, Davitt gave up four earned runs on four hits. All of the hits he conceded were home runs.

Davitt came into Monday’s the game with 4.44 ERA on the season. He left it with a 4.93 ERA.

But according to Hawkeye head coach Rick Heller, Davitt’s outing was still solid.

“The big point I wanted to make today was how fantastic of a start that was for Duncan Davitt,” Heller said postgame. “I mean, you look at it, and he gives up what, four solo home runs, but you know what? He didn’t turn it into two walks and a three-run home run. And that’s what happens on a day like today, they get you beat and maybe you can’t come back. He just pitched. He gave up a home run, boom, he’d attack guys … he didn’t let it affect the next pitch.”

Heller also noted that, while the wind was a factor Monday, Iowa’s ability to rattle Wildcat starter Jack Dyke ultimately won the Hawkeyes the game.

“It really was more of a plan against the pitcher,” Heller said. “Trying to get him to spit on the pitches that were going to be down — you notice in the first inning that [Iowa] didn’t follow the plan real well, we had three ground balls. [Dyke] did a good job of sinking those changeups out there, so our plan was to try and get him to elevate. And anytime he elevated, we wanted to elevate as well, so that was the plan.”

The Hawkeyes have a short week ahead of them, traveling to Indiana for a three-game weekend series against the Hoosiers. Action between Iowa and Indiana starts on April 30 at 4:00 p.m.

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