Call it a hit-by-pitch parade. Iowa plunked 10 – yes, 10 – Indiana State hitters and walked another six to keep the table set for the Sycamores. And they capitalized.
Yet despite that, it was a back-and-forth affair before Indiana State ultimately pulled away and ended the Iowa baseball season with an 11-8 loss in the Terre Haute Regional final.
“We fought until the end,” said head coach Rick Heller. “That really shows the character of this team. We all really believed that we were going to find a way to score more runs tonight regardless of what happened.”
Simon Gregersen struck out six of the 10 outs he recorded to close out Indiana State’s win and earn a berth in the super regionals.
It was only the fourth time this season that Iowa lost while outhitting its opponents (42-4) and only the third time that Iowa lost while scoring five or more runs (44-3).
Heller remained optimistic despite the loss.
“We have a ton of guys back off of this team,” said Heller. “We have a chance to be pretty special next year.”
The Hawkeyes were pretty special this year.
It was just their second regional final appearance, and the 44 wins matched the program’s best total.
Iowa pitchers set the single season record for strikeouts (630), and Hawkeye hitters set program records for walks (326) and HBPs (105).
Too soon to talk HBPs, good or bad? Yeah, maybe it’s too soon.
Indiana State (45-15) knocked Iowa (44-16) into the elimination round with a 7-4 win Saturday night and the Hawkeyes earned the rematch by outlasting North Carolina 6-5 in 13 innings earlier Sunday.
Blake Guerin homered in the fourth inning to put Iowa in front 5-4 and Michael Seegers, who hit an RBI triple in the 13th inning to beat the Tar Heels, padded the lead with an RBI single.
The Sycamores used a hit batsman and a fielder’s choice to score two runs in the fifth inning to tie the game at 6. ISU added two more in the sixth on another fielder’s choice and a bases-loaded walk.
Brennen Dorighi singled with the bases loaded in the sixth to get Iowa within one, but Keegan Watson put the game out of reach with a three-run home run in the seventh.
Jacob Pruitt (2-1) worked an inning of relief to earn the win for Indiana State. Gregersen was credited with a save. Cade Obermueller (2-1) allowed three runs on two hits and three walks for Iowa (44-16) and took the loss.
Earlier in the day, Michael Seegers ripped an RBI triple in the top of the 13th inning to lift Iowa past North Carolina 6-5 in an elimination game.
Iowa built a 5-2 lead through seven innings largely on the strength of a three-run homer in the fifth by Brennen Dorighi. Dylan King drilled a two-out double to deep right to score two runs and pull the Tar Heels within a run through eight innings and Mac Horvath tied the game at 5 with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth.
Will Christopherson (5-1) came on to get the final two outs in the fifth for Iowa. He then held North Carolina hitless over the final four innings, allowing just two baserunners, both on walks, and struck out four.
Dalton Pence (4-3) worked the final 4 ⅔ innings and took the loss for North Carolina, allowing three base hits and striking out three.
Ryan Jaster contributed to this report.