Hawkeyes take two of three games in weekend series against Penn State in Iowa City
Iowa baseball won its weekend home series against Penn State, taking two of three games against the visiting Nittany Lions to improve to 21-14.
An early scoring outburst carried the Hawkeyes to a 4-2 series-opening win Friday afternoon. With inclement weather on the horizon for Sunday, Saturday turned into a double-header. Iowa won the first game 5-3 behind five solid innings from Duncan Davitt before it got shut out, 3-0, in the second game.
Friday: Iowa 4, Penn State 2
After giving up a quick run to Penn State in the top of the first, the Hawkeyes responded with back-to-back home runs from Izaya Fullard and Zeb Adreon to take a 2-1 lead after the first inning. Ben Norman then knocked in two more runs on an RBI single in the second inning, giving the redshirt senior his Big Ten-best 44 RBIs.
On the mound, Trenton Wallace delivered five excellent innings with 10 strikeouts and seven hits allowed. Relievers Trace Hoffman and Dylan Nedved added five more strikeouts, giving Iowa a season-high 15.
Saturday: Iowa 5, Penn State 3
The Hawkeyes jumped on top with three runs in their half of the second thanks to RBI singles from Brendan Sher and Norman (up to 45 RBIs), as well as a Nittany Lion error.
Iowa then scored a fourth run on back-to-back walks in the fifth to go up 4-1, and it scored its final run in the sixth on Austin Martin's RBI single to left field.
Davitt allowed one run over five innings with five punch-outs compared to six hits. Grant Leonard notched his first save of the year by striking out the side in the ninth. It was Leonard's 21st career save, the most of any active Big Ten pitcher. It leaves him one save shy of tying Iowa's record for career saves.
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Saturday: Penn State 5, Iowa 4
After trailing 5-0 in the eighth inning, Iowa made this game interesting at the end.
Fullard drove in the Hawkeyes' first run in the bottom of the eighth with an infield single.
Then, in the ninth, they scored a run on a balk to make it 5-2. A single and a walk later, Norman then came up to the plate with the bases loaded. Norman smacked a double that scored two of three runners, but Penn State was able to throw out the tying run on a collision at home plate. Ballgame, 5-4.
An RBI single from Cole Bartels in the second inning began Penn State's scoring, giving the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. They scored again in the fifth after a leadoff double, single and a throwing error.
Bartels knocked in another run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, and Johnny Piacentino doubled home two runs in the eighth to give Penn State a commanding 5-0 lead.
On the mound, Penn State starter Kyle Virbitsky pitched a gem, allowing one run on just one hit over six innings while striking out eight Hawkeyes.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Drake basketball and pretty much anything else under the sports sun for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.