Drake Robison pitched a near-spotless seven innings, while Mason McCoy, Jake Adams and Co. sent their bats flying to support their starter to give Iowa a 13-4 win over Northwestern in the Big Ten Baseball Championship game.
This is the first outright Big Ten Championship for Iowa in any sport since 2011.
The championship wasn’t nearly as dramatic as Iowa’s 13-inning marathon win over Minnesota last night, but their were still plenty of heroics in this one.
Let’s start with the aforementioned Robison. He struck out six in seven innings, allowing just 1 run over 4 hits. The IWCC product had probably his best outing as a Hawkeye, and it could not have come at a better time. Of his 100 pitches thrown, 57 were strikes. That’s pretty good, I guess.
Helping out Robison were Iowa’s bats. They sang early and often. Mason McCoy notched a single in the first inning, while Jake Adams and Rob Neustrom loaded the bases with back-to-back walks. Northwestern pitcher Matt Gannon scored McCoy after a balk, and that sort of opened up the floodgates.
A sacrifice fly from Tyler Cropley after the balk brought in Adams, and Gannon walked Grant Judkins to keep Iowa in scoring position. Gannon was pulled after just 2⁄3 of an inning, but his replacement couldn’t stop the bleeding.
Matt Hoeg doubled to score Neustrom, then Judkins scored on a wild pitch on the next batter. Ben Norman singled to score Hoeg, and that was that. Iowa got up 5-0 early, and it could have stayed that way.
But it didn’t.
Northwestern scored its first run of the game in the third inning. Then Iowa poured it on.
But first let’s do a quick shoutout to Iowa’s defense today.
Quickest turn in the Midwest.@UIBaseball hopes to punch their NCAA , and it's a #BTNStandout x @AutoOwnersIns https://t.co/9J2xEuQSmD— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) May 28, 2017
Oh baby. Let’s continue talking about the offense:
A fielder’s choice scored McCoy in the fifth. 6-1 Iowa.
Mason McCoy had a leadoff double and Jake Adams hit a two-run homer in the seventh. 8-1 Iowa. Shortly after, a series of errors scored Judkins and Cropley. 8-1 Iowa.
Adams hit ANOTHER homer in the eighth. He’s now tied for the national lead in home runs with 27.
Jake can rake.@UIBaseball's slugger tied the national lead and the all-time single season B1G record with No. 27: https://t.co/FJ2WExMTQd— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) May 28, 2017
A sac fly from Hoeg scored Neustrom, and a single from Justin Jenkins scored Ben Cropley. That made it 13-1 Iowa, and that was all she wrote for the most part.
. @Jakeadams23 has tied the All-time #B1GBaseball home run record .. Indiana's Mike Smith in 1992. #Hawkeyes— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) May 28, 2017
Nick Gallagher pitched the eighth while Shane Ritter and Nick Nelsen closed out the win. Northwestern made things semi-interesting with three runs in the ninth, but yeah it’s tough to overcome an 11-run deficit in one inning.
Now, we celebrate. Iowa just earned a berth to an NCAA Regional, the details of which will be released tomorrow morning on ESPN2 at 11am.
More importantly, however, is the fact that Iowa baseball is your Big Ten Champs. Let’s savor this.