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Hawkeyes smash Spartans

Iowa picked up their 30th win of the season on Saturday at Michigan State.
Iowa picked up their 30th win of the season on Saturday at Michigan State.

No better way to get your 30th win of the season than in blowout fashion. The Hawkeyes used a huge seventh inning to put the game out of reach and they picked up the 12-2 series clinching victory over Michigan State.

The win marks the seventh time that Coach Rick Heller has reached the 30-win mark with the Hawkeyes and the first time since 2019. The Hawkeyes had just two 30-win seasons in the 17 years prior to Heller’s arrival.

“It was great to get win No. 30, especially with all this team has gone through,” said Heller. “The injuries, fighting, scrapping, clawing with our early season schedule. Getting to that number is great and even bigger yet, we’re still in the race.”

Despite the result, the game did not go as smoothly as the final score may suggest. For the third straight week, Connor Schultz did not get past his third inning of work and today, the leash was even shorter from Coach Heller.

The Spartans collected four hits in the first inning, including RBI singles from Dillon Kark and Peter Ahn to make it 2-0 Michigan State. When you are chasing an NCAA at-large bid, you cannot afford to allow a bunch of runs to begin the game, so Heller pulled the trigger on a pitching change.

It worked out well. Duncan Davitt, Ben Beutel and Cam Baumann completed 8.1 scoreless innings of work to end the game. The Spartans loaded the bases in the second and fifth inning, but the Iowa pitching staff stomped out both fires to keep MSU at two runs. Duncan did a particularly solid job, going 3.2 innings in early relief, including three strikeouts.

“It was a positive day after we worked out of those jams. Michigan State came out swinging the bats. It could have been a lot worse early, but thanks to Davitt and when he hit the wall, Beutel came into a bases loaded jam and got us out of it.”

Meanwhile, The Hawkeyes tied the game in the third inning on a two-run home run from Peyton Williams. The blast is his 11th of the season, which allows him to retake the team lead over Keaton Anthony.

“After the rain delay, Petersen coming out, first batter and hitting the bases-clearing double on a full-count, that was big.”

Iowa took the lead in the sixth inning on an RBI groundout from Brendan Sher, but they had big plans on tap for the seventh inning. Ben Wilmes delivered a two-run double to make it 5-2, while Izaya Fullard made it 6-2 with a bases loaded walk.

And then the rain came.

A pop-up thunderstorm forced a 57-minute rain delay, but the Hawkeyes poured it on when play resumed.

Sam Petersen ripped a bases clearing triple within minutes of resumption, while Cade Moss followed with an RBI single to make it 10-2. Mitch Wood picked up his first hit of his Iowa career in the ninth inning with an RBI single and Iowa rolled to the 12-2 victory.

Keaton Anthony collected three hits, while Sam Hojnar and Peyton Williams each had two hits. The Hawkeyes had 12 hits on the day and left just six runners on base compared to 13 on Friday.

With the win, the Hawkeyes move to 30-16 on the season and 14-6 in Big Ten play. They moved up to #66 in the RPI rankings and Illinois dropped their game to Nebraska, so Iowa moves into solo third place in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes will look to pick up the sweep tomorrow with Ty Langenberg on the mound, while the Spartans have not yet named their starter. First pitch is set for 12:35pm and the game will be streamed on BTN+.