MACOMB, Ill. — With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, junior Mitchell Boe stole home to give the University of Iowa baseball team a 5-4 victory over Western Illinois on Tuesday at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium. The victory marks the Hawkeyes 30th win of the season.
Western Illinois jumped to an early 4-0 lead through five innings after Jonathan Fleek singled to right field and Mitch Ellis drew a walk; it was an RBI ground out from Alex Dorethy that gave Western Illinois a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Three more runs came for the Leathernecks in the third, pushing the Leatherneck lead to 4-0.
The Hawkeyes battled back, building momentum in the fifth with Justin Jenkins bunting to lead off, and back-to-back hit-by-pitches from Boe and Chris Whelan loaded the bases. Junior Robert Neustrom delivered a one-out sacrifice fly to make the score 4-1.
With two outs and runners on the corners, senior Tyler Cropley hit a two-run double to left field, bringing the score to 4-3.
Iowa tied the game in the sixth inning with a leadoff double from Hoeg, followed by a balk to put the tying run on third base. Jenkins singled through the right side for an RBI single, tying the game at four.
The Hawkeyes capitalized in the top of the ninth inning after Boe reached off a fielder’s choice, and a ground out and balk moved him to third base. With Luke Farley in the box with the bases loaded and two outs, Boe stole home to give Iowa the 5-4 victory.
Grant Leonard (2-1) recorded the win, going six innings, while scattering two hits, no walks, and no runs. He struck out six. Pete Minella (1-2) suffered the loss, allowing one run off two hits across 3 1/3 innings pitched.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It was great to get the win; the guys fought and scraped back after we fell behind and found a way to score some runs. The big story today is Grant Leonard going six innings with six punch-outs, and no walks. He really stabilized the game for and was sharp. Nick Nelsen also did a good job in the ninth bailing us out.
“Ben Norman then made a diving catch to double the guy off and end the game and Mitch Boe in the top of the ninth with the straight steal home on the catchers throw back was unreal. Happy to get the win.”
Iowa out-hit the Western Illinois, 7-5, with Cropley and Jenkins producing a multi-hit game recording two each.
Cropley went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and two doubles, while Jenkins went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The victory gives the Hawkeyes and head coach Rick Heller their fifth straight 30-win season.
Iowa moves to 9-10 on the road and 8-3 overall in midweek games this season.
The Hawkeyes (30-18, 10-9) close out the regular season, hosting Penn State for a three-game set from May 17-19 at Duane Banks Field. Thursday’s series opener is a scheduled 6:05 p.m. (CT) first pitch.