Road games have been unkind to Iowa baseball this season and they remained so on a three-game road trip to Bloomington to face to Hoosiers this past weekend. Iowa dropped the first two games of the series by a combined margin of 15-3, before rebounding to pip Indiana 6-5 in 10 innings yesterday and avoid a series sweep. With the win, Iowa moved to 17-17 overall, 6-6 in the Big Ten, and a miserable 3-12 on the road. Iowa has dropped to #100 in the most recent RPI rankings.
Iowa sits at 8th place in the Big Ten for now, in the final Big Ten Tournament slot. The unbalanced Big Ten schedule is really doing Iowa no favors this year, as they have faced or will face all but one team presently ahead of them in the standings (Nebraska is the lone absentee from their schedule), while they have faced or will faced only two of the five teams below them in the Big Ten standings (Illinois and Ohio State). They don't play any of the Big Ten's three worst teams -- Rutgers, Northwestern, and Purdue -- at all.
Game One: Indiana 7, Iowa 1
C.J. Eldred, Friday's starting pitcher, has been Iowa's best starting pitcher this season and while his outing on Friday wasn't quite up to the standards he's set earlier this season, it still wasn't particularly bad. He went 6.1 innings and while he gave up 10 hits and a walk, he was able to contain the damage to three runs conceded, with those runs coming in the fifth and sixth innings. The wheels really came off for Iowa's pitching in the eighth inning, when Jared Mandel and Luke Vandermaten combined to give up four runs. Iowa gave up just two hits in the inning (though they also gave up a walk and hit another batter), but one of those hits was a three-run home run, which hurt. Home runs were a big problem for the Hawkeyes on Friday, though: Indiana batters knocked three homers in the game, one by Ryan Fineman, one by Luke Miller, and one by Tony Butler.
Meanwhile, Iowa's bats were ice cold on Friday. Iowa's top two hitters, seniors Nick Roscetti and Joel Booker, combined to go 0/7 on the day, although Roscetti did manage to score Iowa's lone run of the game after reaching base on an error. Iowa mustered only four hits all day, with Tyler Peyton managing half of them in his 2/4 outing. Jimmy Frankos hit the double that scored Roscetti, but overall it was a miserable day for the Iowa bats.
Game Two: Indiana 8, Iowa 2
Things didn't get a whole lot better for Iowa's bats on Saturday. They doubled their output in terms of hits and runs scored -- but that still meant they just wound up with eight hits and two runs for the day. Tyler Peyton again led the way with a 2/4 outing and batted in both of Iowa's runs. Roscetti bounced back with his own 2/4 performance and Booker and Mason McCoy both went 1/4.
While Peyton had a solid enough outing at the plate, he had a miserable day on the mound on Saturday. He went just two innings and got torched for seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and two walks. Home runs again benefited Indiana as Craig Dedelow blasted a two-run home run in the top of the first inning while Logan Sowers cranked a solo hole run (his seventh of the year) in the sixth inning to cap off Indiana's scoring. Nick Allgeyer replaced Peyton and he managed to go 3.2 innings and gave up just one run on three hits and a walk. Shane Ritter finished things out for the Hawkeyes with a hit and three walks over 2.1 innings.
Game Three: Iowa 6, Indiana 5 (10 innings)
Fortunately, Iowa's bats finally woke from their slumber on Sunday. Iowa's hitters combined to grab 13 hits on the day, led by Nick Roscetti with a tremendous 4/5 outing that included three runs scored, including the game-winner in the 10th inning. Tyler Peyton concluded his strong weekend at the place with a 2/5 outing, while Austin Guzzo went 2/5 with two runs scored and an RBI and Robert Neustrom broke out of his funk to go 3/5 with two RBI. Eric Schenck-Joblinske had just one hit, but it was a big one as his 10th inning single scored Roscetti. Iowa struggled to turn those hits into runs at times during the game -- Iowa stranded nine men on base (including a bases loaded situation in the fourth inning) -- but fortunately Indiana did the same (they stranded eight men total, including a bases loaded situation in the second inning and two-men-on-base situations in the first and fifth innings).
Nick Gallagher got the start for Iowa and he had some issues -- he lasted only four innings and gave up four runs on five hits and four walks during that stretch. He also gave up another home run (Indiana's sixth of the series) to Tony Butler in the second inning. Tyler Radtke replaced Gallagher and walked his only batter to load the bases. Fortunately, Ryan Erickson replaced Radtke and proved to be pretty solid in relief. Indiana scored three runs after Erickson came on, but none were credited to Erickson (he inherited a bases loaded, no outs situation). Erickson went 5.2 innings and gave up just two hits and a walk in his outing, and was charged with no official runs conceded. In fact, after giving up a hit and a sacrifice fly in the fifth after inheriting a lousy situation, Erickson gave up no additional hits until there were two outs in the bottom of the 10th. He kept Iowa close enough for the Hawkeye hitters to tie things in the eighth inning. Josh Martsching came on to replace Erickson for the final batter and got the out and the save.
Miss any of Sunday's action live on BTN? Here are some of the highlights! Hawks at home this weekend. https://t.co/ldOmtusWiD— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) April 18, 2016
NEXT: Iowa's road swing concludes with a stop in Peoria to face the Bradley Braves (16-13 overall, 2-3 MVC, 4-1 home). Iowa rallied to score two in the ninth inning and beat Bradley 7-6 earlier this year in Iowa City.