The Iowa Hawkeyes are trying to make sense of a controversial interference call that helped decide a Big Ten Tournament elimination game.

No. 5 seed Iowa and 1-seed Illinois were tied 2-2 through 9 innings. The Illini broke the tie in the top of the 10th on a a 2-run single through the left side.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Hawkeyes already had two on when Will Mulflur singled to load the bases with nobody out. Iowa brought in Kyle Huckstorf as a pinch-runner for Mulflur.

Michael Seegers, the next batter, hit a hard ground ball to first. Huckstorf was called for interference on his slide at second, resulting in a double play that took a run off the board. The call was upheld upon review.

Ben Wilmes was retired via a swinging strikeout for the third out of the inning, bringing the game to an end with a final score of 4-2 Illinois.

Hawkeye skipper Rick Heller was understandably upset when the call was made in the 10th. After the game, he remained perplexed.

Frustrating season for Iowa

Thursday’s finish stings even more because it’s likely the end of the season for Iowa.

The Hawkeyes entered the 2024 campaign with high expectations. After a 29-21 regular season showing with a 14-10 mark in conference play, Iowa’s only hope to make the NCAA Tournament field of 64 was to secure by the automatic bid awarded to the Big Ten Tournament champion.

With losses to Michigan and Illinois, Iowa’s RPI is down to No. 101 nationally per, well outside the bubble for an at-large bid.