Iowa baseball rallies for 16-14 victory against No. 12 Oklahoma State to even the series at 1-1

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Matt Hoeg talks with the media after Saturday's win over Oklahoma State.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - To the fans who left Banks Field before the Iowa baseball team rallied to defeat Oklahoma State 16-14 on Saturday, you should never assume that your team is out of it.

The Hawkeyes have a knack for erasing deficits and did it again on Saturday multiple times. Iowa evened the three-game series at one game apiece despite trailing 3-0, 11-6 and 12-9 against one of the traditional powers in college baseball.

Senior Matthew Hoeg ripped a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Iowa a 13-12 lead.

Hoeg drove in six runs and was 2-for-4 at the plate..

"It was big," Hoeg said. "I kind of felt a lot of pressure because yesterday there were a lot of two out, even one out situations where I had a chance and I didn't come through. So I felt a little pressure from that at bat."

Junior right fielder Robert Neustrom then provided some much-needed cushion by belting a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Neustrom hit 3-for-5 and scored three runs to go along with driving in five runs.

Iowa needed all 16 runs as Oklahoma State hit two home runs in the top of the ninth off top reliever Zach Daniels.

"I couldn't be prouder of our team and the effort they gave today," said Iowa coach Rick Heller. "Our backs were against the wall. We lose a tough game yesterday and fall behind early and just kept fighting back, just kept answering back and not letting what has happened in the past effect the next pitch. 

"Some guys clutched up big time today. Robert Neustrom had a great game. Matt Hoeg had a huge game, Kyle Crowl four hits. Just guys stepping up big time. Two out hits, we played an errorless game amidst all the free bases we gave. It's pretty amazing really."

Iowa improved to 27-16 on the season and will try to win the series on Sunday's when the teams meet at 11:35 a.m. at Banks Field. Oklahoma State fell to 28-16-1.

The Hawkeyes are considered to be on the NCAA Tournament bubble, so to win the series against Oklahoma State would make a huge statement. Iowa is trying to make the NCAA Tournnament for the third time in five seasons under Heller.

The Hawkeyes earned an automatic to last year's NCAA Tournament by winning the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in program history.

Iowa will play a three-games series at Northwestern this coming weekend before hosting Penn State in the regular-season series finale May 16-18 at Banks Field.

Iowa was trailing 12-9 in the seventh inning when some of the fans apparently thought the outcome was decided as they started heading for the exits.

But this is the same Iowa team that erased an 8-0 deficit to defeat Michigan last weekend and that nearly defeated Oklahoma State on Friday, losing 7-6 after trailing 6-1 early in the game.

This Iowa team just refuses to wilt under pressure and it can score runs in bunches.

Those attending Sunday's series finale should stay patient if Iowa falls behind because you might miss something dramatic if you leave early.