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Hellerball: Iowa Baseball Wins High-Scoring Affair Against Northern Illinois

The Hawkeyes improved to 7-4 on the year with their victory.

The Daily Iowan - Anthony Vazquez

On a day where neither pitching staff decided to show up, the Hawkeyes were able to outscore Northern Illinois on the strength of a whole lot of RBI singles. While the two teams combined for 23 hits and 13 of the 18 starters made it into the hit column, only three went for extra bases and one left the yard. It was the true definition of the hit parade coming to town.

We’ll talk about Iowa’s pitching first so that we can end the recap on a happier note. If you don’t like carnage, I suggest you look away and rejoin us after the next line break.

While Grant Judkins had a solid day at the plate, he didn’t have himself that great of a day on the mound. The freshman had his first truly poor outing of the season as he was pounded for five runs (all earned) over three innings and couldn’t record an out in the fourth. He struggled in the first and gave up two runs, then he seemed to settle down a bit in the next couple of innings before falling apart in the fourth again.

Overall, he gave up five hits and walked two on 62 pitches. This is probably a blip in the road for him and I’d expect him to right the ship next time he draws a start. I think that he could regularly become the weekday starter for the Hawks, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if he got a look at being the Sunday starter somewhere down the line.

The bullpen didn’t fare much better than Judkins in this one. Elijah Wood made his first appearance for Iowa, coming in to replace Judkins in the fourth and allowing an inherited runner to score. He ended up giving up a run of his own during the fifth as well, which would be his final inning of work. The fact that he gave up these runs wasn’t as troubling as the way that he gave them up - he threw three wild pitches, which allowed for his baserunners to get themselves in scoring position and subsequently score. Shane Ritter had a solid day but made one mistake which ended up going way, way over the wall courtesy of Tommy Szczasny. Josh Martsching was also solid, providing 1.2 scoreless innings for the Hawkeyes.

Now that we fulfilled our obligations and discussed the pitching, let’s talk about the hitting. If you skipped the last section, thanks for rejoining us!

Iowa had a tremendous day at the plate, with six players (McCoy, Whelan, Neustrom, Adams, Judkins, and Norman) enjoying multi-hit days. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Iowa hit seven(!!) RBI singles. After the power display from this past weekend in Minneapolis, it’s great to see them put runs on the board by way of some smaller-ball. Get on base, move them over, get them in. Gotta love baseball played like that.

You can take a look at how Iowa scored at the top of this box score, but I’ll go over some interesting notes here:

  • Robert Neustrom extended his season-long hit-streak to 11 games.
  • We discussed Judkins’ struggles on the mound, but at the plate he had a great day. He went 2-for-4 with a walk. He also drove three runs in, which tied for the team lead on the day with Neustrom.
  • Along with Neustrom and Judkins, Boe Mitchell and Chris Whelan had multi-RBI days, driving in two apiece.
  • Iowa’s only two extra-base hits belonged to Mason McCoy and Ben Norman, both doubles.
  • The first inning of this game lasted an hour. I went and it was awful. I thought I was going to be there all night. Somehow, the game only lasted about three hours.

On Deck

Iowa travels down to Port Charlotte, Florida this weekend to take part in the Snowbird Baseball Classic. They’ll play Villanova on Friday and Bucknell on Saturday, followed by a doubleheader against Lehigh on Sunday.

None of these teams has had a good start to the season. Villanova be 1-9 going into their matchup with the Hawkeyes, with their lone win coming against Central Michigan last weekend. Lehigh is in a similar boat going into the weekend with a 1-5 record, their win coming against Fairleigh Dickinson in their opening day game. Bucknell is the lone team Iowa will face with multiple wins, coming into the weekend at 4-5. They’ve won three of their last four, but they didn’t play anyone of note in that stretch.

Let’s take four of four this weekend, yeah?