It's taken 43 years, but here we are: Iowa has won in the postseason. The second-seeded Hawkeyes took home a hard-fought, often-strange 3-1 victory over three-seed Oregon in the first game of regional play at Missouri State in the NCAA Tournament. And when you have to wait 43 years for a milestone, you celebrate the only way you know how:
The victory didn't come easy, as Iowa left 13 runners on base in eight innings of offense, including three bases-loaded innings. And while Iowa didn't do a great job of hitting Oregon starter Cole Irvin (only four hits in 5 IP), Irvin did a phenomenal job of hitting the Hawkeyes—he logged a borderline-surreal four HBP, including three in the fifth inning alone (Irvin did not stick around to pitch the sixth, as you've likely determined). Irvin's errant ways were part of nine hit batsmen altogether in the game (three by Iowa, all late in the game), one off an all-time NCAA Tournament record.
And though Iowa struggled to plate its runners, the Hawkeyes still small-balled their way to three runs off Cole, scored on an infield single and two groundouts. With Tyler Peyton (7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R) and Nick Hibbing (a five-out, no-run save) dealing on the mound for the Hawkeyes, three runs was plenty for the victory. Hibbing allowed two two-out hits in the ninth, but Kris Goodman made a sprinting catch in deep left on an Austin Grebeck fly ball to seal the victory. Better Call Kris, I guess.
The victor of Canisius and host Missouri State awaits the Hawkeyes in the winners' bracket of the regional, to be played at 8:00 pm Saturday. It's double-elimination in the regionals, so while Iowa's still alive in this thing regardless of what happens tomorrow, another win would put the Hawkeyes on the brink of taking home the regional title.
This is fun. GO IOWA AWESOME.