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Hellerball: Iowa Struggles in Florida, a Cancelled Game, and a Preview of Kansas State

A lot to tackle in this one, folks. Let’s talk baseball.

Anthony Vazquez - The Daily Iowan

This series recap is coming in a bit late, which is my bad. Between work and travel, I wasn’t able to talk about the weekend on Monday like I normally do. However, it worked out well this week, as it saves us a post about today’s scheduled game against Iowa Wesleyan being cancelled! It turns out, it can snow in March and that might inhibit the ability to play baseball in Iowa. Who would’ve thought?

We’ll start with this past weekend and work on through to this upcoming weekend’s tilt with Kansas State. Admittedly, the recaps here will be a bit more brief. Let’s get to it.

Game 1: Villanova 10, Iowa 1 (Box Score)

This was not ideal. ‘Nova came into this one with one victory on the season in 11 tries and this easily should have been a team the Hawks stomped into the ground. Well, as the score indicates, quite the opposite happened as the Wildcats scorched Iowa pitching for ten runs.

Nick Gallagher (2-1, 3.67 ERA) had his worst outing of the season as his earned run average grew by over a run. He was hammered for eight hits and five runs (all earned) in five innings of work. The ‘pen didn’t fare much better as Kyle Shimp walked three consecutive batters in the sixth before giving up an RBI single and being relieved by Nick Nelsen, who escaped the inning. The pitcher who probably had the best day was Sam Norman, who gave up three unearned runs as his defense collapsed behind him in the seventh, committing two errors.

All-in-all, nothing went right for the Hawkeyes on Friday until the bottom of the ninth, which is when they scored their sole run on a Zach Fricke sac-fly. Even then, they had the bases loaded with no outs and only found a way to get one run across.

Sometimes it’s just not your day...

Game 2: Bucknell 7, Iowa 1 (Box Score)

... and sometimes it’s just not your day on consecutive days.

Iowa’s lone run in this game came in the third inning, as Mason McCoy hit a sacrifice fly and drove in Mitchell Boe. The biggest story on the offensive front in this one, however, wasn’t the runs who scored, but the baserunners that didn’t - Iowa was able to get runners on base at will, but left 16 runners on base. Sixteen!! Gotta get those runners across the plate when you get them on, if you ask me.

Starter Cole McDonald actually pitched his best outing of the season in this one, going 613 innings and giving up three runs. He gave Iowa every chance to win this game, pitching in his first quality start of the season. The bullpen wasn’t great for a second consecutive day, as two relievers failed to record an out in their appearances but combined to give up three runs. Elijah Wood pitched well out of the ‘pen for the second consecutive game, going two scoreless innings against Bucknell.

Game 3: Iowa 15, Lehigh 7 (Box Score)

This talk of losing has been disappointing. Let’s talk about winning and doubleheaders, yeah?

Cool. I like that idea.

Iowa saved all their runs for the first game of their doubleheader against Lehigh, for some ungodly reason. Seriously, they scored eight runs in the second inning. That would be all they needed on the afternoon, as the pitching staff limited (not sure this is the correct word choice here?) Lehigh to seven runs (this is why i’m not sure “limit” is the correct term).

The second inning was pretty fun, so we’ll talk about that. After loading the bases, Cropley, Boe, and McCoy all drew walks. Robert Neustrom also brought a runner home after forcing Lehigh into making an error. The bases were still loaded at this point, but Jake Adams decided he didn’t want anyone on base. So he hit a grand slam, and so it came to be that Iowa scored eight runs in one inning. Not too shabby.

Adams would come up a triple short of the cycle, as he added an RBI double and RBI single to his career day. In total, he went 3-for-5 with 6 RBI.

It wasn’t a banner day for the Iowa pitching staff, as Drake Robison pitched six innings and gave up five runs, but it would do. The most promising statistic of Robison’s day was that he struck out nine and walked none. Sammy Lizarraga also walked none over his three innings of work, but gave up two runs. It didn’t matter, because eight runs in one inning.

Game 4: Iowa 8, Lehigh 3 (Box Score)

This game would be completely dominated by Robert Neustrom, who went 4-for-5 with four singles and five runs batted in. Justin Jenkins and Mason McCoy also added RBI doubles in this one as Iowa continued to pick on Lehigh pitching.

The pitching in this one was actually really good for the first time all weekend. Grant Judkins pitched four innings and gave up one run before handing the ball over to Shane Ritter, who gave up two runs in two innings. Zach Daniels (2-1, 5.73 ERA) pitched three scoreless innings to close this one out and give Iowa the weekend split.

That’s it, really. There wasn’t a whole lot to say about this one.

Weekday Game Cancelled

Iowa was set to play Iowa Wesleyan on Wednesday, but due to some winter weather happening in March (imagine that!), the game has been cancelled and will not be made up. This is fine, as I doubt we would have learned much about this team from a weekday game against Iowa Wesleyan. There wasn’t much to gain with a win, but there could’ve been a lot to lose had they lost it.

On Deck: Kansas State

The Hawkeyes will travel down to Manhattan, KS this weekend to take on the Wildcats in a three-game set. Kansas State is 12-4 on the season and are currently sitting in fourth place in the Big 12.