Nick Day hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Iowa, the No. 2 seed, a 3-2 victory over Ohio State on Wednesday on the first day of the Big Ten baseball tournament at Target Field.
It was third home run of the year for Day, a senior third baseman for the Hawkeyes (39-14) batting ninth and playing with an aching back.
"I was expecting a slider, and it was a pretty decent pitch," Day said, "and I don't know how I got to it. I'm still in shock."
"I was really happy for Nick because he was really toughing it out," Iowa coach Rick Heller said. "His back really causes him a lot of pain. He was hoping it would get better, but it really didn't. He was told that he's a senior and, if he could tolerate the pain, tough it out, and that's what he's been doing."
So much that Day took off almost a month before returning to Iowa's lineup in early May. He was 3-for-27 since then, but he got two hits in three at-bats against the Buckeyes.
"He was hoping [his back] would get better, but it really didn't," Heller said.Tyler Peyton pitched the first 6 ⅓ innings for Iowa, giving up one run and eight hits. Reliever Nick Hibbing got the victory.
Outfielder Pat Porter was 3-for-4 for the Buckeyes, and hit a solo homer in the eighth inning to put OSU (35-19) ahead 2-1.
Michigan 4, Indiana 1: Brett Adcock allowed only three hits and one run in 6 ⅓ innings as the Wolverines (34-23) beat the Hoosiers (32-21) in the opener of the tournament.
Johnny Slater hit a three-run homer for Michigan in the third while Jackson Glines went 3-for-4, scored a run and made a diving, over-the-shoulder catch in right-center in the first inning.
Illinois 3, Nebraska 2: The top-seeded Illini (46-6-1) won their 27th game in a row — a Big Ten record — but needed a comeback to do it.
The Cornhuskers (34-22) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning. Illinois answered with two runs the same inning on Reid Roper's RBI single and Jason Goldstein's sacrifice fly.
Pat McInerney's bases-loaded single in the eighth scored the winning run. Ryan Nagle went 3-for-3 and scored it. Reliever Nick Blackburn got the win, pitching 1⅓ scoreless innings. Tyler Jay needed just seven pitches in the ninth to get his 13th save of the season.
Scott Schreiber was 3-for-4 with an RBI for Nebraska.