I’m going to change a little bit of how I have written the last number of Hawkeye baseball pieces. I’ve been wrapping up the previous series and then previewing the upcoming weekend series. After our Hawks opened the Illinois series with a 5-4 win, the Hawks went belly up against the Fighting Illini, losing 14-1 and 6-2. Here was a bright spot from the weekend.
My guess is that most of you come to this website to read about enjoyable moments. I don’t really feel like writing about losing to something called Illinois baseball, so yeah. Flush..... Next.
Currently the Hawkeyes sit in fifth place in the Big Ten with a record of 22-16. The Hawkeyes are now on the road for two more three-game series against Northwestern and Michigan State. The Wildcats are in 9th place in the B1G and the Spartans sit in 11th place. If there is a time to make hay, it is now.
On Deck: Northwestern
The thing that jumps off the page at you regarding Northwestern is that they have dudes that are tearing the cover off the ball. The Wildcats have 56 home runs on the year. As a comparison, the Hawkeyes have 34 round trippers. Shawn Goosenberg (.355/11 HR), Stephen Hrustitch (.263/10 HR), Michael Trautwein (9 HR), and Anthony Calarco (.328/7 HR) form a pretty intimidating collection of bats for Northwestern.
Tale of the Tape - Hitting
Northwestern (.268/.350/.486) vs Iowa (.262/.377/.421)
Tale of the Tape - Pitching
Northwestern (5.69 ERA / .289 batting average allowed)
Iowa (4.82 ERA / .250 batting average allowed)
The Wildcats have an ace in Mike Doherty (3.51 ERA). After him the Wildcats’ starting pitchers sport less than impressive ERA’s of 5.40 (Jack Dyke), 5.82 (Tyler Uberstine), and 6.25 (Quinn Lavelle). To sum up this series, runs are going to be scored. It’s not going out on a limb to say the Hawkeyes need to get out their brooms and sweep the pesky Wildcats into Lake Michigan.
Northwestern Wildcats Game Times
Friday, May 21st 1 pm B1G Network
Saturday, May 22nd 1pm B1G+
Sunday, May 23rd Noon B1G+
Postseason for the Hawkeyes?
In sports you don’t typically want to put the cart before the horse, but heck, what’s the fun of that? The Hawks losing two of three games to Illinois could be the nail in the proverbial coffin for Coach Rick Heller’s crew. Prior to that series Iowa’s RPI (a strength-of-schedule ranking) was 55. After? 76. Yuck. One interesting piece regarding this is that Big Ten teams did not play any non-conference games this year. There is some controversy as to whether or not this will hurt Big Ten teams come the selection for the field of 64. The brackets and pairing will be announced at 11am on Monday, May 31st (ESPN 2). 64 teams will make up the field. There will be 31 automatic bids based on conference championships, and an additional 33 at-large bids which will be selected by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee. There will be 16 regionals of 4 teams each. These teams will play in a double-elimination format. The regional champs then move on to super regionals in a best-of-three series. Those eight winners then move on to the College World Series.
As stated, the Hawkeyes’ series loss to Illinois hurt. Iowa probably needs to win 5 of its next 6 games against Northwestern and Michigan State to have a chance at postseason play. Unfortunately, the RPI’s of both teams, NW (194) and Sparty (230) will not do Iowa any favors. I’m a big believer in “Show Me” vs “Tell Me”. If the Hawks deserve to make the postseason their play will dictate it. As a wise person once said, “Ball don’t lie.” Win some games, Hawks, and good things will happen. Let’s. Go. Hawks!
Welcome to the Show, Nick Allgeyer! (Kinda)
Former Hawkeye pitcher Nick Allgeyer was called up to the Bigs by the Toronto Blue Jays. He played for Iowa from 2014-18. He finished his Iowa career with an ERA of 2.76 and finished with 95 strikeouts, second most in Hawkeye history. Allgeyer became the first Hawkeye under Coach Rick Heller to make it to the Major Leagues. Allgeyer was optioned back to triple-A Buffalo without getting in a game, but his time will come.