After starting the weekend off with a comeback extra-inning win, the Hawkeyes landed another punch Saturday evening.
Iowa struck late with a three-run seventh to break a knotted affair and fought off Nebraska down the stretch, propelling the Hawkeyes to a 5-3 victory and a huge series road win.
Locked in a 2-2 battle, Iowa ignited things with one out in the seventh. Following a Mitchell Boe walk and a Chris Whelan single, Jake Adams roped a two-run double to right-center to give the Hawkeyes (22-11, 5-3 Big Ten) a 4-2 advantage. Robert Neustrom then added another RBI double for some additional insurance.
The monumental seventh made a winner out of starter Ryan Erickson (1-1), who surrendered six hits and three runs (two earned) over six innings. He also walked two and struck out five on exactly 100 pitches. Reliever Shane Ritter didn’t miss a beat either, closing things out with three scoreless frames for his fourth save this season.
Nebraska (20-13-1, 4-3-1) tacked on a single run in the seventh to pull within two, but Ritter wouldn’t let the Cornhuskers get any closer. Nebraska entered the weekend hot as a mainstay in multiple midseason NCAA Tournament projections, but Iowa answered blow for blow.
Rick Heller’s squad will go for the sweep on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. Big Ten Network will carry the series finale.
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him firstname.lastname@example.org follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.