Rick Heller’s Iowa Hawkeye baseball team cooled off a little this past weekend. Iowa went 1-2 against the Hoosiers. This ended Iowa’s 5 straight series win streak. The Hawks are now 19-13 on the year.
Friday, April 30. Hawks win 6-5.
Trenton Wallace pitched 7 strong innings, allowing 3 runs, 7 hits, and striking out 9. Austin Martin hit this scoreboard bomb (literally). Dylan Nedved came in in relief and gave up two runs. He pitched the 9th and three-up-and-three-down later he had his 7th save on the season.
Saturday, May 1. Hawks lose 6-12.
The Hawkeyes’ pitching staff sent 7 pitchers to the mound and they allowed a then-season-high 14 hits (this is broken on Sunday), many of them for extra bases. A few bright spots; freshmen pitchers Ty Langenberg (2.1 innings) and Will Semb (2.2 innings) did not allow a runner to cross. That has to make Coach Rick Heller feel good even though the outcome was less than stellar. Offensively Matthew Sosa went 3 for 4 and Izaya Fullard went 2-3.
Sunday, May 2. Hawks lose 8-12.
Iowa’s bats showed up. Their pitchers did not. Trenton Wallace, Izaya Fullard, and Ben Norman all went yard for the Hawkeyes. Unfortunately the Iowa hurlers gave up 16 hits (a new season high that was set the previous day) and 12 runs. This is a game to flush and get home to the friendly confines of Duane Banks Field. Iowa’s Peyton Williams has been out with an injury. His offense will be a plus when he is healthy, but the Hawkeyes need to get people out.
Penn State Heads to Iowa City This Weekend
The Hawkeyes head home to face Penn State for a Friday (6pm), Saturday (2pm), Sunday (11am) series. All three games will be aired on B1G+. Penn State comes in with a 12-18 record. They are, however, riding a 4 game winning streak. One of those wins was a 27-4 thrashing of Michigan State. That sounds like Saquon Barkley went off on Mark Dantonio’s defense, not a baseball score.
Penn State Pitchers
Connor Larkin RHP - Larkin is 2-3 on the year with a nice ERA of 3.98. He has excellent strikeout numbers and gives up few walks. He is allowing a batting average of only .215. If the Hawks can get to him they have an excellent chance of taking two of three from the Nittany Lions or even coming away with a sweep.
Penn State then throws two big ol’ dudes at you. Both are right handers. Kyle Virbitsky is 6’7” 235 pounds and Bailey Dees is 6’8” 250 pounds. Their respective ERA’s are 4.58 and 5.74, but they certainly look the part out on the mound. Ralph Gambino (sweet name) has been excellent out of the bullpen for Penn State with an ERA of 1.80.
Penn State Batters
Two of Penn State’s top batters have pretty solid baseball names. Gavin Homer and Parker Hendershot are both hitting over .320. Homer is slugging .479 and Hendershot is mashing with a .643 slugging percentage. Matt Wood is batting almost .300 with a .557 slugging percentage. Penn State’s long ball hitter is Johnny Piacentino who has 5 homers on the year. After struggling to tame Indiana’s batters last weekend, the Hawkeye pitchers need to get ahead of these hitters and/or not allow baserunners in front of these dangerous bats.
- What is the health of Peyton Williams? He missed the Indiana series. Williams is slugging .632 with 6 dingers and 23 RBI on the year. It will be important to get him healthy for the stretch run. Here’s a bomb from earlier in the year from Williams. It’s fun to watch multiple times. Also, it was against the Gophers, so, you’re welcome.
- Izaya Fullard has been red-hot. His batting average is now up to .319.
- Ben Norman is having himself a year. Norman is batting .319 with 10 home runs, 42 RBI, and is slugging .672. Yahtzee!
- Pitching, pitching, and pitching. Iowa has 4 starting pitchers. Three of whom have ERA’s under 5.00. The Hawks need to take the series, and getting solid-if-not-great starting pitching is a must. Trenton Wallace can set the tone for the weekend. He’s 4-1 with a spectacular ERA of 2.76. Cam Baumann has an ERA of 3.89. Duncan Davitt is 3-1 on the year with a solid ERA of 4.54.