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Hellerball: Iowa Baseball Drops Series to Northwestern

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The Hawkeyes were unable to get enough pitching to take the latter two games.

Anthony Vazquez-The Daily Iowan

The Hawkeyes went into their first Big Ten road trip having won seven straight and 9 of their last 10, but were unable to take their series against a poor Northwestern team who came into the weekend with single digit wins. The Hawkeyes exploded in the first game of the series, but didn’t get good outings from their starters in the last two games. Despite three pretty good games from the bats, the Hawkeyes dropped two of three to the Wildcats.

Game 1: Iowa 14, Northwestern 2 (Box Score)

Nick Gallagher pitched a great game in the series opener and the bats exploded for 14 runs against the Wildcats as the Hawkeyes won their eighth straight contest.

Gallagher pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out five and walking two. The junior was pretty efficient during his outing as well, only throwing 101 pitches. After missing a start a couple weeks ago, it looks like Gallagher is back and just as effective as he was pre-injury. That’s a great sign for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa had a great day at the plate, too, scoring all 14 of their runs before the Wildcats could get on the scoreboard in the eighth. Mason McCoy led the way for Iowa at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and a double while driving in four runs. Jake Adams, Matt Hoeg, and Ben Norman also each drove in two runs. The only Hawkeye starter without a hit was Chris Whelan, and he reached base twice, driving in the first Iowa run on a hit-by-pitch.

The most impressive thing about the day at the dish for Iowa was the sheer number of baserunners they produced. The Hawks registered 13 hits and walked an absurd 12 times, including five to force in runs. Not a bad day at all for these guys at the plate.

Game 2: Northwestern 6, Iowa 5 (Box Score)

The good vibes didn’t continue for the Hawkeyes in the middle game of the series, as the Hawkeyes jumped out to an early lead but were unable to hold it, as Northwestern scored six unanswered runs to take this one.

Cole McDonald didn’t have his best outing of the year, going just three innings and giving up four runs on six hits before handing things over to the bullpen. They were unable to hold the lead, however, as Josh Martsching and Shane Ritter each surrendered a run.

The Hawkeyes had a pretty good day at the plate, but you would’ve liked to have seen more runs later in the game. Iowa scored all five of their runs in the first and fourth innings and were unable to get on the board after. Jake Adams and Tyler Cropley both went deep in this one for their 12th and 3rd homer of the year, respectively. Chris Whelan also had a 2 RBI single in the fourth inning.

Game 3: Northwestern 7, Iowa 5 (Box Score)

The pitching was once again lackluster in the getaway game as the staff was unable to keep the Hawkeyes in the game for a second consecutive day.

Ryan Erickson got the nod in the series finale and only made it through three innings, giving up three hits and two walks. He did surrender five runs, although he wasn’t helped by his defense as two of those were unearned runs. Zach Daniels followed him up in relief and pitched two solid innings before being knocked around for two go-ahead runs in the sixth.

For the second consecutive day, Cropley and Adams both hit two-run homers for their 4th and 13th long balls on the year, respectively, but it wasn’t enough for Iowa to get the win. Iowa’s only other run was scored on an RBI single by Mitchell Boe in the fourth. This team is best when they aren’t dependent on the long ball to win games, as evidenced by their win streak where they manufactured runs in all sorts of different ways.

Quick tangent: let’s just be glad we have Jake Adams to watch. The kid is an absolute monster. His 13 home runs and 43 RBI lead the Big Ten and he’s good for at least one extra base hit in every game (or maybe it just feels like it because he’s that good). If you get a chance to catch this team, go see them. They’re a special bunch, but Adams has some ridiculous power and he’s worth the price of admission alone in my opinion.

On Deck

The Hawkeyes are back at home for a midweek game against Western Illinois. They’ll be playing at Duane Banks Field at 6:05pm on Tuesday.

The Leathernecks are 9-20 on the year, but have been playing .500 ball since starting the season 0-11. They’re led on offense by Jonathan Fleek and Adam McGinnis, who lead the team with 31 hits on the year and hit close to .350. Infielder Mitch Ellis is also coming off a week where he was named Summit League PotW for recording nine hits in their series against Nebraska-Omaha.

Also, here is my new favorite thing to do in previews:

Leatherneck home runs: 10

Jake Adams home runs: 13

Probables haven’t been announced yet, but one can assume Drake Robison or Grant Judkins will get the nod since they’ve taken turns on midweek starts this season.