Iowa’s baseball team upset top-seeded Houston 6-3 Friday night in an NCAA regional at Schroeder Park in Houston.
The Hawkeyes (39-20) advanced to the winner’s bracket and will play Texas A&M (37-21) at 7 p.m. CT Saturday. It’s the second time in three seasons Iowa has won an NCAA regional opener.
Iowa, the Big Ten Tournament champion and fourth seed in the Houston regional, has won 12 of its last 16 games and five of its last six.
— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) June 3, 2017
How it happened
The Hawkeyes got on the board first in the top of the second inning. Iowa’s Ben Norman reached on an infield single to score Tyler Cropley from third base. With Iowa base runners on second and third with two outs, Houston center fielder Corey Julks made a diving catch into the left-center field wall to prevent two runs from scoring.
Iowa went up 2-0 in the top of the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Norman and Mitchell Boe. Houston tied the score at 2 in the bottom of the fourth with runs on a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball.
In the fifth, Iowa scored twice. Mason McCoy led off with a double up the right-field line and Jake Adams was hit by a pitch. Robert Neustrom singled home McCoy, then Grant Judkins plated Adams with a single. Houston ended Iowa’s scoring threat with a double play. The Cougars’ Connor Wong scored in the bottom of the fifth on Jake Scheiner’s sacrifice fly to cut Iowa’s lead to 4-3.
Perhaps the game’s most important play took place in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the Hawkeyes leading 4-3 and Houston runner Joe Davis at second base, Cougars batter Lael Lockhart hit a double to seemingly score Davis. But the Hawkeyes appealed that Davis missed first base on his way to second. Iowa first baseman Jake Adams touched the bag on the appeal, and Lockhart was called out. It also negated the run, which kept the score 4-3.
In the top of the eighth, singles by Iowa’s Boe and Chris Whelan plated Corbin Woods and Norman, respectively, to push Iowa ahead 6-3.
Ryan Erickson picked up the win for Iowa, while closer Josh Martsching earned the save.
Corey Julks covers it all!
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 3, 2017
What it means for Iowa baseball
It’s the second time in three years the Hawkeyes have won their first NCAA regional game. Before 2015, the last Iowa postseason victory was in 1972.
Iowa will play Texas A&M Saturday night. Houston faces Baylor in an elimination game at 2 p.m.
Iowa center fielder Ben Norman had 3 hits in his first 3 at-bats, scored 2 runs and had a diving catch in right field.
Houston pitcher Trey Cumbie gave up 4 runs and a season-high 10 hits. Cumbie entered the game 10-1 with a 1.88 ERA and was the American Athletic Conference pitcher of the year. Iowa first baseman Jake Adams, the Big Ten’s Player of the Year, struck out 3 times.
Who is next
Iowa plays Texas A&M in the postseason for the first time since 1975, when the Aggies eliminated the Hawkeyes 9-6.
The Aggies beat their former conference rival, Baylor, 8-5 in Friday’s opener.
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) June 3, 2017