NEW ORLEANS — Freshman Kace Massner scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning on a Virginia Tech fielding error, giving the Hawkeyes a 2-1 walk-off victory on Friday in the first game of the All-State Sugar Bowl Baseball Classic.
The win moves Iowa to 4-0 for the first time since 2006.
Pinch-hitter Austin Guzzo started the Hawkeye rally in the 10th by reaching on a one-out hit by pitch before Massner entered as a pinch runner. With two outs, Massner stole second base and sophomore Justin Jenkins followed by drawing a two-out walk to put two runners on.
Norman then hit a hard grounder at Hokie third baseman Sam Fragale and the ball trickled into left field for the E5, allowing Massner to score to give the Hawkeyes their second walk-off victory of the season.
After a slow start to the game, sophomore Kyle Crowl put Iowa on the board with a no-doubt solo home run to left field in the third. Virginia Tech responded, scoring the equalizer in the fourth on a solo shot from Nick Menken.
A pitcher’s duel ensued from there. Iowa starter Nick Allgeyer allowed five hits and one run over seven innings, while strikeout out eight without issuing a walk. Virginia Tech starter Connor Coward went eight innings, scattering two hits and fanning 11.
Junior Zach Daniels (1-0) entered in the seventh and allowed one hit over three innings. He had four strikeouts to one walk to earn his first victory of the season.
QUOTING UI HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“Both team’s pitchers pitched extremely well. Allgeyer was sharp for us today. I am happy with his performance and this is a big positive from last week. I thought he threw well last week, but this week was even better.
“Coward was good for them as well. Both teams benefited from a little wider zone than what we are used to. The other big positive moving forward is we only gave up two free bases. I am happy we found a way to get the win. It was a quick turnaround for us after getting down here late last night.”
– Sophomore Kyle Crowl hit his first home run of the season on Friday. It is Crowl’s second career home run.
– Iowa loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but came away empty when Tanner Wetrich lined out to end the inning to send the game to extras.
– Virginia Tech out-hit Iowa, 6-4. Junior Robert Neustrom had a pair of Iowa’s hits, finishing 2-for-4 in the contest.
– Iowa’s pitching staff had 12 strikeouts to one walk in 10 innings. Virginia Tech’s pitchers had 15 strikeouts to three walks.
The Hawkeyes (4-0) return to action Saturday, facing Ball State at 6 p.m. (CT).