I expected Iowa's bats to feast yesterday when I saw that they would be facing a Northern Illinois pitcher who was 0-2 with a 15.19 ERA and who had allowed 18 runs on 17 hits over 10.2 innings of work this season. I was not too disappointed by the results on Tuesday -- Iowa hitters blasted four home runs on their way to a 12-3 win over the Huskies. Iowa improved to 10-12 overall (and 5-1 at home) with the win.
The winds were blowing out, which helped power some of those Iowa long balls, although home runs accounted for nearly half of Iowa's hits in the game. Iowa had just nine hits total on Tuesday, with four of them being home runs. Iowa scored 12 runs on those nine hits thanks to a pair of NIU errors and six NIU walks (NIU's Danny Hyde was particularly accommodating, granting four Iowa hitters free passes on the day). The sixth inning, where Iowa blew the game open and took a 4-1 lead and made it 12-1 was a perfect example of Iowa's ability to manufacture runs out of only a few hits:
Eight runs on two hits! That's absurd. Iowa's only two hits in the inning were a single by red-hot freshman Robert Neustrom and a grand slam by senior Tyler Peyton. But they also drew four walks and took advantage of two fielding errors. Also noteworthy: NIU brought on a pitcher named JOE HAWKS. A pitcher named Hawks against Iowa? Are you serious, bro? No wonder he gave up a grand slam to the first batter he faced.
Peyton's grand slam was the highlight play of the day, but it was also his only hit of the game. Neustrom continued his torrid hitting form, going 2/3 with two runs scored and four RBI in the game. Nick Roscetti also went 2/5 with a run scored and an RBI. If there was a complaint about Iowa's hitting it would be that they only mustered nine hits on the day, but it's hard to be too upset about that when they drilled four home runs and and also drew six walks. They were still getting on base at a good clip, even if the hits weren't falling quite as much as we would have liked.
As usual for a midweek effort, Iowa went with a potpourri approach at pitcher, with seven different players seeing some time on the mound. Cole McDonald got the start and went two innings, giving up four hits and a run while striking out four. Josh Martsching also went two innings, giving up no hits or runs and striking out two while picking up the win. Sam Lizaarraga, Shane Ritter, Tyler Radtke, and Nick Allgeyer combined to pitch four innings and gave up no runs and three hits. Zach Daniels polished off the win for Iowa and gave up two runs on four hits in the ninth, but... well, he's normally an infielder, so I don't think he should hold that pitching effort against him too much.
Enjoy highlights of all four of Iowa's homers below:
Home runs? Home runs. Watch all four from Tuesday's victory against Northern Illinois: https://t.co/A0Vq1jgITC— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) March 30, 2016
The four home runs were Iowa's most in a game since 2010.
NEXT: Iowa heads north to Minneapolis to take on Minneapolis (12-9 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) in a three-game series this weekend.