Rick Heller

Rick Heller

The 15th ranked Iowa baseball team won another extra-innings game Tuesday, this time downing Sacramento State 4-3 in 18 innings. The Hawkeyes used extra innings to win one of their games in a 3-game weekend sweep over Nebraska.

Rick Heller’s team has put in a lot of work in a short amount of time after weather forced them to play a single game Saturday and a double-header with the Huskers Sunday.

“It’s tough to deal with in the early part of the weekend and obviously that’s always a stressful situation when you are the home team trying to make those tough decision on when to play,” Heller says. “And ending up having to play three nine-inning games in a 24-hour period is never easy, and for our guys to find way to beat Nebraska three times and not have a let down in any of those games says a lot about our team.”

Heller says they were expecting to get back to normal with the single game Tuesday. “Thinking you are going to have a nice single game on a beautiful night against Sacramento State turns into 18 innings and a lot of stressful innings during that one. But that one was extras special to be able to win that, if you play 18 innings, you certainly don’t want to lose it,” Heller says.

Iowa had to come back a couple of times to win the game. “If you keep playing the game, the game usually comes back to you in some way. When you just give up and let down is when you are beat, and this team just doesn’t give up,” Heller says. “It isn’t just recently that that’s been happening. We had some games early in the season where we hung around and came back and won, and I think that’s important in your first 10-15 games to win some games like that.”

Iowa has had some injuries to key players, but also has had some come back and start to round into form, such as junior Jimmy Frankos. “He’s just now three-quarters of the way into the season back into shape where he is turning into his old self. It was nice to have Jimmy swinging the bat well against Nebraska and he ended up being the co-conference player of the week. Getting some added punch from him has really helped,” Heller says. “Dan Potempa has had a good stretch — same thing with him –he got off to a slow start. He was an all-Big Ten DH last season. Dan is really starting to swing the bat a lot better.”

The extra-inning win moves the Hawkeyes to 31-11 overall. They return to conference action Friday afternoon with the start of a 3-game series at Michigan.