IOWA CITY, Iowa - It was Grant Judkins Day on Sunday at Duane Banks Field.
The junior delivered a game-winning, two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the University of Iowa baseball team a 5-4 walk-off victory over Cal State Northridge in game one before pitching eight strong innings in a 3-1 game two victory to complete the doubleheader sweep.
"We beat a good team," said Iowa head coach Rick Heller. "(Cal-State) Northridge plays the game the right way. They play the game hard. It was a tough battle the whole series, and I'm happy our guys found a way to bounce back."
Iowa improves to 9-7 this season after rebounding from a 7-5 series opening loss with two wins on a cold Sunday in Iowa City.
Game 1 | Iowa 5, CSUN 4
The Hawkeyes scored five runs in the final three innings to take game one, 5-4, in come-from-behind fashion. The comeback was completed by a walk-off double from Judkins in the bottom of the ninth inning.
With two outs in Iowa's final at-bat, sophomore Matt Berst started the rally by drawing a full-count walk. Junior Ben Norman followed with a singled up the middle to put runners on the corners.
On the first pitch he saw, Judkins, who was pinch-hitting for Chris Whelan, doubled to the right center field gap to knock in Norman from first to win the game.
"Coach told me I was going to get a pitch, to stay short, and hit a line drive," said Judkins. "He left the pitch over the plate and I got my best swing off."
The comeback started in the bottom of the seventh when senior Mitchell Boe launched a three-run home run over the right field fence to tie the game at three. The line-drive homer was Boe's second career home run.
Sophomore Cam Baumann started on the mound and went 4 1/3 innings, striking out a career-high eight batters. The lefty scattered six hit and only issued one walk.
Freshman Duncan Davitt relieved Baumann in the fourth inning. Davitt, who recorded three strikeouts, started the eighth, but gave way to Grant Leonard after allowing the first two Matadors to reach.
Leonard (1-0) allowed one inherited runner to score in the eighth, but proceeded to pitch two hitless innings of relief to earn his first win of the season.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
"I was happy with our team. We played hard. We got a good start out of Cam Baumann in game one. Their starter Wesley Moore was really good. His batting average against was below .100 coming into the game. He was as good as advertised and held us scoreless through six."
Game 2 | Iowa 3, CSUN 1
In game two, the Hawkeyes led from the get-go, scoring one run in the first inning and two runs in the third inning, and Judkins did the rest, leading Iowa to a 3-1 win.
Judkins (2-1) backed up his heroics in the first game of the doubleheader with eight dominant innings to earn his second win of the season. The right-hander from Pella, Iowa, allowed only one run on three hits and issued just one walk.
"What a day for Grant," Heller said. "He ends game one that way and then goes out and goes eight strong innings. He pitched extremely well in game two."
Judkins made quick work of the Matadors all game, retiring eight straight batters from the second to the fifth inning, while also throwing four 1-2-3 innings.
Boe scored Iowa's first run of the game in the bottom of the first. Boe was hit by the pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch, to third on a grounder to the right side by Izaya Fullard, and scored on a passed ball.
Boe and Tanner Wetrich scored in the third and that's all the Hawkeyes needed in game two. Iowa had a chance to add insurance runs in the seventh inning after Fullard and Sher reached on singles, but the Hawkeyes left the bases loaded.
In his first career start, left fielder Connor McCaffery doubled in the second and sixth, and singled in the eighth to complete a 3-for-5 day in his Hawkeye debut.
After Judkins walked CSUN's leadoff man in the ninth inning, Leonard made his second relief appearance of the day. He surrendered one hit, but recorded his fourth save of the season.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
"We cleaned things up in game two and played good defense for Judkins. It was the first time in a long time we've been under five in free bases. That was good to see."
The Hawkeyes will play their first midweek game of the season, hosting Chicago State on Wednesday at 4:05 p.m. (CT).
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