After a brief return to the Midwest for a three-game series against Southern Illinois and a home opener against Northwestern College earlier this week, Iowa heads back to the South this weekend for four games in the Spring Swing at LakePointe event in Emerson, Ga. The Spring Swing is not really a tournament, but it is a non-conference event that allows teams to get games against multiple different opponents with a minimum of travel.
PITCHING MATCH-UPS AND INFO
Game One: Nebraska-Omaha 3, Iowa 2
Iowa: RHP C.J. Eldred (SO, 1-0, 1.00 ERA)
Nebraska-Omaha: RHP Tyler Fox (SR, 2-1, 2.04 ERA)
Eldred is coming off his best performance of this (very young) season in his last outing, when he threw nine shutout innings against SIU. He didn't end up with the win because the Iowa offense couldn't muster much of anything against his SIU counterpart, but it was still a very strong showing from Eldred.
UNO has some good bats -- as a team, they're hitting .305, with a .398 slugging percentage and a .365 OBP. Seven UNO batters are hitting over .300, including four regular starters, led by Cole Gruber, who's hitting .397, with a .448 slugging percentage. Gruber's also stolen 11 bases in 13 attempts, so he's dangerous on the basepaths when he gets on base. Clayton Taylor (.354 BA, .688 slugging, 4 2B, 4 HR, 22 RBI) and Ryan Cate (.342 BA, .579 slugging, 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI) provide most of the power for UNO.
This could be a good game for Iowa's bats to keep the hits flowing after their red-hot performance against Northwestern College earlier in the week, too. UNO opponents are hitting .324 for the season, with a .463 slugging percentage, and a .394 OBP. They've swatted 50 extra base hits and drawn 46 walks as well. On a related note, UNO's team ERA is 6.27 this year, although Friday's pitcher (Fox) has been their best starter, with a 2.04 ER Ain 17.2 innings of work.
Game Two: Iowa (3-6) vs Seton Hall (6-6) -- Saturday, 3:30 PM CT
Iowa: RHP Tyler Peyton (SR, 0-2, 4.82 ERA)
Seton Hall: LHP Cullen Dana (FR, 1-0, 2.45 ERA)
Peyton did not pitch last week due to arm tightness, but he appears to be healthy again now and is expected to take the mound for Iowa on Saturday. He's struggled so far this year, but if he's actually healthy again, that could help his performances tremendously.
Seton Hall started the season badly, but they've won four of their last five games entering this weekend, including two wins against Indiana last weekend. For the season, Seton Hall is hitting .266, with a .343 slugging percentage, and a .360 OBP. Mikael-Ali Moques has been their best hitter, going .375 with a .625 slugging percentage and a .500 OBP. He leads the team in doubles (5), triples (1), home runs (1), RBI (8), and walks drawn (9), and is second on the team in hits (15). Four other Seton Hall hitters are batting over .300 on the year, including two regular starters, Ryan Ramiz (.372) and Joe Poduslenko (.341).
Seton Hall pitchers have combined for a 4.63 ERA this season, although they don't give up many walks -- just 31 total so far. Cullen Dana has been their best pitcher this season, going 1-0 in two starters with a 2.45 ERA. He's struck out 11 against 4 walks and given up just 4 hits, although two of them have been home runs.
Game Three: Iowa (3-6) vs Savannah State (4-10) -- Sunday, 12 PM CT
Iowa: RHP Calvin Mathews (SR, 0-1, 3.00 ERA)
Savannah State: RHP Gregory Hollman (FR, 0-1, 5.28 ERA)
Savannah State has had a rough start to the season at 4-10. Their batters have gone just .247 on the year, with only 20 extra base hits total (which would help explain their .304 slugging percentage). Only two Savannah State batters are hitting over .300, Mendez Elder and Jonathan Moore. Mendez is leading the team in average (.365), slugging percentage (.596), hits (19), doubles (7), home runs (1), and RBI (10). Moore ranks second in most of those same categories, but beyond those two there are a lot of struggling hitters in the Savannah State lineup.
Their pitching hasn't been much better, as Savannah State has a team ERA of 6.66 (!) and they've thrown more walks (81) than strikeouts (72). Hopefully Iowa's bats can tee off on Savannah State on Sunday the way many of their previous opponents have.
Game Four: Iowa (3-6) vs Point University (7-12) -- Monday, 1:30 PM CT
Point University: TBD
Point University is an NAIA team from West Point, Ga. I would certainly hope that Iowa is able to beat a middling NAIA team.
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN/FOLLOW ALONG
This weekend looks like a fine opportunity for Iowa to build off the momentum of their 28-0 clubbing of Northwestern College on Tuesday and pick up some more wins and get closer to a .500 (or better) record.
We'll try to post updates in the comments, but feel free to post your own, too!