BIG TEN BASEBALL TOURNAMENT DAY TWO: IOWA VS. MINNESOTA

Andy Lyons

Either the Hawkeyes or the Golden Gophers will have their season end this afternoon.

WHO: Iowa (29-22 Overall, 10-14 B1G) vs. Minnesota (27-23 Overall, 13-11 B1G)

WHAT: Big Ten Tournament elimination game. The Hawkeyes lost to top-seeded Indiana yesterday 5-2, in a game that felt more lopsided than the score. Iowa manufactured a run in the top of the first to take an early lead, but Indiana was just too good. Hoosier ace Joey DeNato pitched eight brilliant innings, and the Hawkeyes never mounted a major threat after Indiana took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Minnesota lost a heartbreaker to get here. The Gophers brought home single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, before Michigan shortstop Travis Maezes launched a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to propel a 3-2 Wolverine win. Because there's no NIT in college baseball, or anything like the CBI (because people barely know those things exist in basketball), this will be the end of the line for the loser. The winner moves on to face the Michigan-Indiana loser in another elimination game.

WHEN: 2:00 PM CT (approximately; the game will start shortly after the Illinois-Ohio State game concludes)

WHERE: TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, NE, or for most of us who are available during the game, on the sofa via BTN

WEATHER: 69 degrees and cloudy at gametime

PITCHERS: Blake Hickman (IOWA), 2-2, 4.30 ERA vs. Ben Meyer (MINN), 4-4, 2.50 ERA

NOTES AND THOUGHTS: Hickman has only made four career starts on the mound. The hurt of losing Calvin Mathews is really apparent in the double-elimination setting. Minnesota is almost uniformly third-worst in the Big Ten in major offensive categories (BA, OPS, Runs), while the Hawkeyes' overall offensive figures are near the top of the conference. Iowa took two of three from Minnesota in Iowa City in late April. The Hawkeyes averaged seven runs per game that series, and two of the games were decided by one run. If they can score like that again today, they should be in decent shape against the relatively impotent Gophers, but it could be a tight contest nonetheless.

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