Iowa baseball's win over Milwaukee dubbed 'crazy' and 'ugly'

BY BEN SCHUFF | MAY 02, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa manager Jack Dahm described it as "ugly." Hawkeye reliever Tim Fangman called it "crazy."

A number of words could have explained Iowa's 10-9 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday. But whatever adjective is used, it certainly wouldn't be "clean." The game featured blown leads, misread fly balls, a plethora of substitutions, and batters hitting out of order.

The final sequence of Iowa's 19th win of the season saw Milwaukee hand out two intentional walks to load the bases with one out. The Panthers then brought in a fifth infielder to play behind second base in hopes of cutting down a run at home plate. The plan worked initially, as Jake Yacinich drilled a ground ball at Milwaukee second baseman Jim Lundstrom.

But Lundstrom bobbled the grounder and failed to get a throw off to home in time to catch Keith Brand. In somewhat fitting fashion, Brand nearly tripped running from third and crossed home plate with an awkward stride.

"He almost missed home," Dahm said.

Banks Field transformed into a circus in the bottom of the second after Iowa fell behind 4-0.

The Hawkeye batting order listed Taylor Zeutenhorst as the seventh-place hitter and Anthony Torres in the eight-hole, but Torres came to the plate first and singled to right field. Zeutenhorst was then drilled by an offering from Milwaukee starting pitcher Eric King.

Had anyone from Milwaukee brought the mix-up to an umpire's attention, both players would have been ruled out. But nothing was said, and both players scored on a bases-clearing double by Mike McQuillan two batters latter.

McQuillan's shot to center hung up in the air long enough that Torres had to tag from second base. Zeutenhorst took off as soon as the ball was hit, and the result was Zeutenhorst sprinting no more than two strides behind Torres all the way around third. The pair crossed home plate within a few feet of each other.

When asked about the order mishap, Dahm said, "That's a good question. I have no idea. I've seen other teams hit out of order, but I've never seen one of our guys hit out of order. I was just praying that nobody would say anything."

"Us hitting out of order," Yacinich said with a grin. "I don't even know what went on there."

Dahm's lineup against the Panthers also featured a left-handed reliever as his designated hitter. Freshman Taylor Kaufman had pitched 24 innings in 17 appearances prior to hitting sixth in the Hawkeye order against Milwaukee. Kaufman hit .568 and 10 home runs his senior year of high school, but struck out looking in his lone at-bat and second plate appearance of the season.

"Last week when we had [intrasquad] on Wednesday and Thursday, he had some great at-bats," the ninth-year Iowa skipper said about moving Kaufman to designated hitter.

The game was equally as strange and ineffective on the mound. The teams combined to use 10 pitchers and allow 15 walks. Iowa starter Andrew Hedrick and Milwaukee's King threw a total of 3 1/3 innings, leading to almost endless runs to the mound by both managers with calls to the bullpen.

Fangman looked like a distance runner amongst sprinters on the rubber. While no other pitcher lasted more than 2 innings, Fangman's 4 frames of work seemed like the Boston Marathon between pitching changes.

"The biggest key to the game was Tim Fangman," Dahm said. "He allowed us to get a little momentum back in our dugout."

Fangman wasn't always helped by his defense, though. Outfielder Phil Keppler lost a ball in the sky with Fangman on the mound in the seventh; the left fielder ran to a spot in left-center and then threw his hands up towards his side as the ball landed about 20 feet behind him on the warning track.

A total of 35 players saw action in a game that lasted 3:13 minutes, but seemed much longer due to the bizarre occurrences.

"It was a crazy game," Keppler said. "A lot of people say it's just baseball. You come to the field everyday and see something new."

Follow DI baseball reporter Ben Schuff on Twitter.

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