Iowa defeats Oregon for first NCAA Tournament win in 43 years
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Iowa had waited 43 years for a chance to win an NCAA Regional baseball game.
So what was another half-hour?
The Hawkeyes had to wait 28 long minutes through a rain delay before closing out a 3-1 win over Oregon on Friday afternoon before 1,963 fans at Hammons Field.
Iowa collected its first NCAA Regional victory since 1972. The Hawkeyes (40-16) ha last appeared in the regional round in 1990.
Iowa's 21-year-old shortstop, Nick Roscetti, could have lived his life a little more than twice over in the time that passed between the 1972 postseason and Friday's historic win. Roscetti had two RBIs by way of fielder's-choice plays and scored the Hawkeyes' other run.
Iowa had just six hits and stranded 13 runners in the process, but still picked up a validation victory.
"Not having a win in 43 years in the NCAA Tournament, it's truly big for us," Roscetti said. "We just kept with our approach. And I mean, yeah, we didn't get the one big knockout punch — but just trying to do your job putting the ball in play and make them make a play. Hopefully some good things happen, and they did."
Oregon (37-24) entered the postseason having won nine of its past 10 games. The Ducks reached regional play for the fourth consecutive year and for the fifth time in the past six seasons.
Oregon scored its run in the top of the third inning when sophomore Mark Karavoitis scored from third base on a well-hit single to left field from center fielder Austin Grebeck.
The Hawkeyes chased Oregon lefty Cole Irvin after five innings pitched. Irvin gave up three earned runs on four hits. He struck out two, walked two and hit four batters.
"I had nothing. My arm did not feel as strong as it has the past four weeks, and I'll be the first to admit that the loss today is on me," Irwin said.
Hawkeyes starter Tyler Peyton (7-4) dropped his season earned run average to 3.03 with 7 1/3 innings pitched and one earned run allowed on seven hits. The two-way standout helped his cause with his bat by collecting a hit, a run and two walks.
"We needed a great start out of Tyler, and he provided it — seven-plus innings, he pounded the strike zone, didn't walk a batter," Iowa coach Rick Heller said.
Peyton says the lack of postseason experience made the Iowa players uneasy at first, but he was happy with how his teammates settled in behind him.
"There were nerves around the team, but they went away right away, it seemed like. We just went out there and played our game," Peyton said.
Relief pitcher Nick Hibbing earned his eighth save of the season. He collected Iowa's last five outs, striking out one and scattering three hits.
Rain returned with a deluge shortly after Iowa picked up its final out on a running grab by Kris Goodman in deep left field. The downpour forced the postponement of the corresponding semifinal in the Springfield Regional.
Top seed Missouri State (45-10) faces MAAC champion Canisius (34-28) at 12:05 p.m. CDT. The loser plays Oregon immediately after at 4:05 p.m., while Iowa has the luxury of waiting until 8:05 p.m. to play any one of the three teams remaining in the regional bracket.