OMAHA, Neb. — It all came together when it mattered most Thursday for the Iowa baseball team.
The Hawkeyes moved ahead with a four-run seventh inning and scored four more in the top of the ninth to move within one win of the championship game at the Big Ten Tournament, 9-4.
Iowa dropped second-seeded Indiana into an elimination game at 2 p.m. Friday against Michigan, where the winner will face the Hawkeyes in a 9 a.m. semifinal Saturday at Charles Schwab Field.
Pleasant Valley product Will Christopherson earned the victory on the mound for the Hawkeyes with a dominant relief effort over two-and-one-third innings.
He entered the game after the Hoosiers had extended an early lead to 4-1 on an RBI single allowed by Clinton native Jared Simpson in relief of starter Brody Brecht with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
People are also reading…
Brecht allowed three runs over 4.2 innings for Iowa, striking out five batters and walking three.
"Brody gave us enough to be able to help us protect our bullpen," Iowa coach Rick Heller said. "We were planning on saving Will for the eighth or ninth but we felt like that was a big leverage situation in the game and decided to go with him then, and we are glad we did that."
Christopherson's outing began with an inning-ending strikeout and by the time he returned to the mound the Hawkeyes had taken the lead.
A run-scoring single by Sam Hojnar cut the Hoosiers' lead to 4-2 before Kyle Huckstorf collected one of his three hits, driving a three-run double into left to put Iowa on top.
Hucktorf's two-base hit scored Michael Seegers, who had walked, Hojnar and Raider Tello who had reached on a single.
Working with a 5-4 lead, Christopherson didn't allow a baserunner over the next two innings.
He followed a groundout to open the seventh with a pair of strikeouts and finished off a six-strikeout effort by striking out the side in the bottom of eighth inning.
The Hawkeyes (41-13) left nothing to chance, adding four runs to their lead in the top of the ninth including three that scored on a home run by Sam Petersen.
"After seeing (Luke) Sinnard for six innings, we knew getting into the bullpen anything was going to look a little better," Heller said. "It was a rough day to score at the ballpark with the wind really blowing in hard. Petersen's ball getting out, that was a big boy home run."
Iowa out-hit Indiana (41-17) by an 11-5 count, but stranded 12 runners on base including 11 when Sinnard was on the mound for the Hoosiers.