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Big win on Senior Day for baseball team

BY JEFF PAWOLA | MAY 11, 2009 7:28 AM

The Iowa baseball team ended three different losing streaks with its 5-3 victory over Penn State (24-23, 7-14) on Sunday at Banks Field.

The Hawkeyes (16-32, 4-16) ended their previous two-game losing streak, an eight-game Big Ten losing streak, and a three-year losing streak on Senior Day.

“The four years that I’ve been here, we haven’t had a win on our Senior Day,” senior relief pitcher Steve Turnbull said. “We got one today so it’s just really huge for me.”

Turnbull came in to close the game for the Hawkeyes with one out in the top of the eighth, ahead 5-3 with runners on second and third. The senior struck out both Nittany Lions batters to evade the threat.

He then came back out for the ninth inning and pitched a near flawless frame and picked up his second save of the year.

“[Turnbull] came in and just blew those guys up,” Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said. “With guys on second and third and us only holding a two-run lead, that was a great job by him and it was good to see him get that save.”

Prior to Turnbull finishing things out, Iowa relied on a freshman to help claim the Senior Day victory. Starting pitcher Jarred Hippen pitched 71⁄3 innings and was credited with the win. The freshman allowed three runs (one earned), gave up only four hits and struck out six.

Hippen struck out the first batter in each of the first four innings and produced inning-ending double plays in the opening three frames.

“My arm felt great today. I had a week off and normally I’m only on five days,” Hippen said. “Defense made a couple double plays for me, actually three in the first three innings and that really gave us momentum.”

The Hawkeyes scored in the bottom of the first off of junior right fielder Ryan Durant’s double to center field which platted freshman catcher Dallas Burke. The lead stayed at 1-0 until the top of the sixth, when Penn State claimed a 2-1 advantage.

Iowa took the lead back in the bottom of the seventh, scoring four runs and batting through the lineup. Freshman Sean Flanagan led things off with a single to center field, and eventually scored after three consecutive walks by Penn State’s starting pitcher and senior Scott Kelley, two of which were hit by pitch.

After walking in the tying run, Kelley was relieved by Paul Cianciolo who allowed each of the Iowa baserunners to score. Iowa collected three RBI singles, including an infield hit from Burke, who rocketed a line drive off the face of Cianciolo.

“We preach to just put the ball in play and don’t strike out with runners in scoring position,” Burke said. “I got a ball, and it kind of hung a little, it was an off-speed or changeup, and I just tried to put it in play, and luckily, I got a little bit of oomph on it.”

The victory also moves Iowa out from the doormat of the Big Ten, now one half game in front of Northwestern.

“No one is going to sit here and lie, we’re having a disappointing year with wins, losses, injuries,” Dahm said. “I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they all feel they could have done more … but they’ve done a lot of great things.”


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