Iowa came into this past weekend's series with Michigan with a 27-5 record in home games since the beginning of the 2015 season. They hadn't lost a series at home since 2014. Unfortunately, that streak is done now -- Iowa dropped games against Michigan on Friday and Saturday to lose the series. They rebounded with a win on Sunday to salvage something from the series, but the Hawkeyes sit at 17-18 overall and 7-8 in the Big Ten, which is "good" for 9th place. We'll break down their odds of making the Big Ten Tournament a little bit later in the week, but for now they're on the outside looking in.
Game One: Michigan 8, Iowa 4
Iowa's best starting pitcher, C.J. Eldred, held Michigan scoreless through the first two innings, but the dam broke in the third inning as he gave up three runs on four hits and an error. Michigan added a run apiece in the fourth and fifth innings to open up a 5-0 lead. That sent Eldred went to the showers for the night, with a final line of nine hits, five runs (four earned), and a walk (against six strikeouts) in five innings of work. Down 5-0, Iowa's bats finally woke up in the sixth inning with four runs on two hits, two errors, and four (!) walks. That cut Michigan's lead to 5-4, but Michigan immediately replied with a run in the top of the seventh after a pair of walks, a sacrifice bunt, and a single.
Iowa's hopes of a comeback took a big hit when Michigan scored two more off a two-run Drew Lugbauer home run in the top of the ninth. Even then, Iowa managed to load the bases with one out in the ninth before Mason McCoy and Robert Neustrom flew out to end the game (with Neustrom's ball going all the way to the wall in center field). Nick Roscetti had the best day at the plate for Iowa, going 2/4 with a run scored.
Game Two: Michigan 12, Iowa 9
A big crowd (almost 2300 strong -- the biggest of the season) saw a high-scoring, exciting game -- but they also saw another Hawkeye loss. Once again, Iowa got down big early and had to try and claw their way back into the game. Michigan went up 4-0 in the top of the third inning off two hits, two walks, and a very costly error. Michigan enxtended that lead to 7-0 in the top of the fifth inning with three runs on two hits, three walks, and yet another error. Iowa finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth with a run off a sacrifice fly and a Luke Farley three-run home run in the sixth inning. Tyler Peyton added a two-run homer in the eighth inning and another pair of runs in the ninth, but giving up 12 runs to Michigan was just too many for them to overcome.
Ryan Erickson had some struggles on the mound -- he gave up five hits and four walks, a wild pitch, and a balk in his four innings -- but he was also victimized by Iowa's defense, as only two of the seven runs he gave up were earned. Shane Ritter also struggled out of Iowa's bullpen, giving up four runs (all earned) on six hits in his two innings of work. At the plate, four Iowa batters had multi-hit games, led by Tyler Peyton, who went 2/5 with a home run, two RBI, and three runs scored. Joel Booker went 2/6 with a double and two runs scored, while Daniel Moriel went 2/3 with a double and two runs scored, while Nick Roscetti went 2/5 wit ha run scored.
Game Three: Iowa 8, Michigan 3
Iowa finally got a win in Sunday's final game of the series. Once again, Iowa fell behind early, going down 2-0 in the second inning. But Iowa's pitching stepped up in a big way after that and the batters got on track themselves to lead a comeback victory. Calvin Mathews got the start for Iowa but he once again struggled, going just 1.2 innings and giving up five hits, two runs, and a walk in that short span of time. It's really unfortunate that he's struggled so much this season, but his lack of effective production has definitely hurt Iowa this season. Fortunately, Nick Gallagher stepped in to replace him yesterday -- and was brilliant. He pitched seven innings in relief, scattering six hits and one run while striking out seven and giving up just one walk. He was phenomenal yesterday and he should probably be in line to get a start next weekend.
At the plate, Iowa again had a lot of success -- five different batters had at least two hits. But Joel Booker was definitely the star of the show, going 4/5 with a a double, two RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base. Peyton, Roscetti, Moriel, and Corbin Woods all had two hits apiece themselves.
Highlights and postgame reaction following Sunday's 8-3 Hawkeye win! Back at Banks Field Tue & Wed at 6:05 p.m. https://t.co/9jNCLlbxA4— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) April 24, 2016
NEXT: Iowa entertains Grand View (24-14, NAIA) and Nebraska-Omaha (19-20) for mid-week non-conference games on Tuesday (6 PM CT) and Wednesday (6 PM CT), respectively.