The Iowa Hawkeyes opened up Duane Banks Field on Friday afternoon and for the first time in nearly two years, there were fans in the stands. Despite some rough weather over the weekend, Hawkeye fans showed up to support their team and the team did not disappoint.
As Iowa fans showed up, the Hawkeyes showed out, outscoring the Gophers 31-2 over the course of a three-game set. The trio of wins makes it four straight for Iowa and eight of their last nine games as the Hawkeyes improve to 12-9 on the year.
Iowa got things rolling on Friday afternoon in their first game back in front of fans with a 7-1 win over Minnesota. As would be the case all weekend, the bats were hot for the Hawkeyes and the pitching was more than enough.
With things knotted at 0 into the bottom of the 6th, Iowa unleashed en route to a six-run inning. That was capped off by a MASSIVE grand slam by RS freshman Peyton Williams, the first of his career and his 5th HR of the season.
The Hawkeyes added an insurance run in the 7th before giving up the only Minnesota run in the top of the 9th. Trenton Wallace went 6 innings giving up 9 hits but no runs as the Gophers stranded 11 runners in scoring position on the day. Wallace now leads the Big Ten with an ERA of 1.87.
To say Williams was a highly sought after interview post-game may be a bit of an understatement.
Such is life when you’re crushing dingers into outer orbit.
Inclement weather postponed Saturday’s game and forced a double-header on Sunday. That didn’t stop the Hawkeyes from picking up right where they left off on Friday night.
Iowa got a strong showing out of the middle of their lineup en route to a 6-1 win in the first game Sunday. That included a 4-4 day for Dylan Nedved, who started the scoring with a solo shot in the bottom of the 2nd. That was followed up by another solo HR from lead-off hitter Ben Norman in the bottom of the 3rd - his team-leading 7th of the year.
The Hawkeyes started to pull away in the later innings as RS senior catcher Brett McCleary hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the 7th to put Iowa up 4-1. That was followed up by another two-run shot by fellow RS senior Zeb Adreon who put the bow on top of things in the bottom of the 8th.
Starter Drew Irvine went 7 innings while giving up just 2 hits and 1 run while striking out 6 to get his first win of the season. The aforementioned Nedved came in for a two-inning save, his team-leading 5th of the year.
As hot as the bats were through the first two games of the series, they were just a precursor for what was to come in the series finale.
The Hawkeyes jumped on Minnesota starter Trent Schoeberl to the tune of 5 runs in just 0.2 innings of work as Iowa put up an absurd 7 runs in the bottom of the first. Schoeberl loaded the bases with just one out in the first before Adreon lined a single up the middle to break things open. RS senior Matthew Sosa added a sac fly to make it 3-0 with two outs before the Hawkeyes cut loose with four straight doubles.
Iowa came back in the second to quash any hopes for a close game down the stretch. The Hawkeyes added five more runs while batting around for the second straight inning. There was no looking back from there as Iowa tacked on another run in the 4th, two more in the 7th and capped things off with three more in the 8th. When the scoring finally stopped, Iowa had put up 18 runs on 17 hits as six different Hawks recorded multi-hit days.
Game 2. 18-0 win. Some of the many highlights. pic.twitter.com/5ZNniIfUqz— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) April 12, 2021
On the mound, Cam Bowman got the win after going 5 innings while giving up no runs and just two hits. He struck out five while walking one of his 18 batters faced en route to his second win of the season.
It’s safe to say head coach Rick Heller was feeling OK after the Hawkeyes picked up their first 3-game series sweep since 2018.
Coach Heller's comments following Sunday's doubleheader sweep. pic.twitter.com/d9Xdkq0doZ— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) April 11, 2021
The big weekend moved the Hawkeyes into 5th place in the Big Ten as they prepare to head to Piscataway for a 4-game set with the 6th place Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Rutgers enters the weekend 11-9 and riding a 2-game winning streak.
You can watch this weekend’s games on BTN+.