IOWA CITY, Ia. — Backed by a heavy dose of late-inning action, Iowa emerged from Saturday’s baseball marathon with two wins and a series sweep.
A three-run ninth — capped off by Chris Whelan’s walk-off single — propelled the Hawkeyes to a 6-5 win over UNLV in the opener at Duane Banks Field. Iowa sent the Rebels home with a sweep just a few hours later, delivering a three-run eighth for a 7-6 victory in Game 2.
The productive afternoon gives Iowa (17-9) a three-game sweep of the Running Rebels and a six-game win streak overall. The Hawkeyes are 5-2 this season in one-run ballgames.
Facing a 5-3 deficit entering the bottom of the ninth in Game 1, Iowa put together a two-out rally. Austin Guzzo walked, stole second and advanced to third on Luke Farley’s single. Mitchell Boe then tied the game on a two-run double down the right-field line to set the stage for Whelan, who knocked a single back up the middle and sent the Iowa dugout into jubilation.
Zach Daniels (6-1) picked up another win out of the bullpen, tossing 2 1/3 innings after starter Ryan Erickson yielded three runs (one earned) over 6 2/3.
Things unfolded similarly in the second game, as UNLV (10-20) sported a 6-4 advantage late following its own three-run eighth. But the Hawkeyes immediately answered with three straight hits — the last of which was a game-tying, two-run double from Boe. Whelan then moved Boe to third on a groundout, and the Iowa second baseman scored one batter later on a throwing error.
Shane Ritter (2-1) shut the door in the ninth, capping off a two-inning scoreless outing.
Iowa returns to action next week, hosting South Dakota State on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Northwestern for three over the weekend.
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.