Rick Heller’s Iowa baseball team improved to 26-14 (10-6 B1G) this past weekend winning the series when they traveled to Nebraska. The Hawks won the first game 1-0, took a 12-1 drubbing, and then took the series beating the Cornhuskers 5-3 in ten innings. The Hawkeyes sit alone in 4th place in the Big Ten Conference behind Rutgers, Maryland, and Illinois. Iowa has three weekend series left this year. The Hawks host Purdue (6-7 in B1G), travel to Michigan State (6-9 in B1G), and end the regular season with Indiana (6-9 in B1G) at home. That schedule looks good on paper as far as making the postseason is concerned, but the games are played between the lines. Also, the Hawkeyes looked to be in good shape last year, only to stumble late in the season. Iowa’s RPI is 62 right now. The Hawkeyes actually dropped two spots winning two out of three games at Nebraska.
Miscellaneous Nebby Tidbits
Game 1 against Nebraska was an old-school baseball game. It was well-pitched on both ends. For Iowa Adam Mazur improved to 5-2 with an ERA of 2.41 throwing a complete game shutout. Mazur gave up just two hits in his nine innings of work. Opponents are hitting just .153 off of Mazur this season. Peyton Williams (2 for 3) and Keaton Anthony (2 for 4) continued to swing hot bats; this duo has been Iowa’s most consistent hitters all year. Williams is hitting .383 and Anthony is hitting .347. Izaya Fullard provided the only run of the game with his second home run.
Game two of the series was a flushable moment. Connor Schultz was shelled in his start. He went 2 1⁄3 innings and gave up eight earned runs. The one bright spot for the pitching staff in the game was that the four relief pitchers did not allow an earned run. Iowa’s batters only got four hits on the day. Next.
Game three had the Hawks leading 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth inning. Dylan Nedved allowed two runs to let Nebby tie it up. The Hawkeyes pushed two across in the top of the tenth inning and Ben Beutel came in and closed the door, picking up his second save on the year. Nedved got the win (5-2). Peyton Williams (10 HR’s)
and Keaton Anthony (8 HR’s) paced Iowa offensively.
The Hawkeyes got an excellent start from Ty Langenberg. He went 5 innings and didn’t allow an earned run while striking out six batters. Langenberg pitched well after a few sub-par starts.
Illinois State Comes to Iowa City Tuesday, May 3rd
Iowa was supposed to travel to Illinois State on Tuesday, March 29th. That game was cancelled. The Hawks host the Redbirds Tuesday, May 3rd. Illinois State comes in with a record of 17-22. Of note, early this season the Redbirds beat #2 Arkansas 3-2 and lost two close ballgames by the scores of 5-1 and 4-2. Illinois State is led by Ryan Cermak. He is putting up video game numbers. He sports a .331 batting average with 16 home runs and a smokin’ slugging percentage of .717. Cermak, along with Iowa’s Williams and Anthony, makes for an entertaining game and a chance to see a ball or two leave the yard.
The Redbirds have a solid pitching staff as well; their team ERA comes in below 5.00. First pitch is at 6:05pm. It will be aired on B1G+ and the Hawkeye Radio Network.
Boilermakers On Deck
Purdue (25-14 / 6-7) travels to Iowa City this weekend for an important tilt. Purdue is a very good hitting team and they throw two excellent starters at you in Jackson Smeltz (6-1 with an ERA of 2.83) and Wyatt Wendell (4-2 with an ERA of 4.85). Offensively the Boilers have five batters who sport batting averages of .300 or better. Evan Albrecht sets the table for them with a batting average of .387. He also is fun to watch on the base paths. He is 17 for 18 stealing bases this year. Troy Viola (.342/.444/.568 7 HRs) and Cam Thompson (.300/.432/.614 10 HRs) are Purdue’s big bangers.
Tale of the Tape
Iowa vs. Purdue Matchup
At a minimum it would be ideal for the Hawks to win each of the next three series. It would be tremendous to get a sweep or two in there. Iowa is looking to build its postseason resume. Losing even a game or two against “lesser” teams will give Iowa’s RPI a hit. Keep it rolling, Hawks! As always, it’s great to be a Hawkeye!