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By George Stieren

FRISCO, Texas – Iowa overcame a shaky start to defeat Washington State on Sunday afternoon in the Frisco Classic at Riders Field.

After his team fell behind 3-0 after two innings, winning pitcher Ty Langenberg (2-0) supplied 5 2/3 innings of solid relief work, setting the stage for the Iowa offense to climb back in it, and eventually hang on for the win. The victory provided the Big 10 Conference representative with its only triumph this weekend in Frisco.

“I am extremely proud of our team,” said Iowa Head Coach Rick Heller. “It would have been easy to lay down the way things were going.”

Heller praised Langenberg’s effort saying, “It couldn’t have come at a better time; it showed a lot of guts.”

Hawkeyes’ third-place hitter Peyton Williams provided the most impressive highlight with a 422-foot home run to the grass berm beyond the centerfield fence in the bottom of the seventh inning. The bomb gave the Hawkeyes a lead they would not surrender.

The Cougars opened the scoring in the first half inning when designated hitter Bryce Mathews singled home leadoff hitter Kyle Russell with the game’s first tally. Russell began the contest with a walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch by Iowa starter Marcus Morgan.

Wild pitches bedeviled Morgan again a batter later when Mathews advanced to second on an errant toss home in advance of an RBI single by Justin Van De Brake to right field, scoring Mathews and making it 2-0. Washington State’s Morgan bounced back to induce a double play and a groundout to avoid further damage.

Van De Brake racked up three hits Sunday and seven total in his team’s three games in the Frisco Classic.

A lack of control haunted Morgan again the next inning when he uncorked another wild pitch, allowing Kodie Kolden to race home from third, upping the Cougars lead to 3-0. Kolden opened the second inning with a single.

Iowa remained quiet offensively until the sixth inning when it also took advantage of wildness by opposing pitchers. The Hawkeyes started the bottom of the sixth with two walks, the first to Sam Peterson at the hands of starter Cole McMillan. Reliever Cam Liss came on and issued a free pass to Williams, setting up designated hitter Keaton Anthony with a prime RBI opportunity. Anthony delivered with a double to left field, bringing in Petersen and making it a 3-1 game.

Williams came around to score on a Liss wild pitch. Liss was removed in favor of Kolby Kmetco, who promptly hit Kyle Huckstorf. Brendan Sher then doubled down the right field line, scoring Mulflur and Anthony, giving the Hawks their first lead at 4-3.

Washington State snapped back in the top of the seventh to tie the game at four apiece, thanks to ninth place hitter Hylan Hall’s home run that landed on the grass berm in left field after traveling 418 feet. The round tripper came off pitcher Tyler Hoeft.

Williams’ 7th-inning homer gave Iowa the lead 5-4. Later that same frame, Anthony singled to right field before Mulflur coaxed a walk to chase Hoeft, who was tagged with the loss. Hoeft was relieved by Connor Barison. The Hawks sent up pinch hitter Anthony Mangano, who sliced a single up the middle to bring Anthony around and make the score 6-4.

Van De Brake doubled to lead off the Cougars’ half of the eighth inning, his third hit of the afternoon and seventh of the tournament. He moved to third base on a wild pitch by Langenberg. Van De Brake came home to make it 6-5 on a sacrifice fly by Collin Montez.

The Cougars mounted a ninth-inning rally after Casey Day took the mound to start the inning. Jack Smith drew a four-pitch walk and was replaced by pinch runner Elijah Hainline. Will Cresswell bunted and was thrown out by catcher Brett McCleary at first base. Hainline was gunned down trying to advance to third base on a perfect throw from first to third.

The next hitter, Hall walked, and was left stranded as Day notched his first save of 2022.

The game took three hours and 17 minutes to complete.

Washington State Head Coach Brian Green and his team appreciate the Frisco Classic despite finishing with a 1-2 record at Riders Field. “It was an absolute honor to be here. It’s going to make us a better program moving into Pac-12 play next weekend.

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