Despite a forecast for Iowa and the Twin Cities that looks rather crappy, the Iowa baseball team traveled south to the Sunshine State to start its season. The Hawkeyes had a thrilling extra-innings win in game one, and then they rolled easily in games two and three.
Game 1: Iowa 6 - Indiana State 2 (11 Innings)
Iowa’s ace, Ty Langenberg, got the Friday start. Langenberg went five innings, surrendered five hits, and gave up two earned runs. He walked two batters and struck out six. The Hawkeyes got excellent relief when Jared Simpson came in and threw a gem. He went four innings, gave up one hit, walked two, and struck out seven. Will Christophersen (1-0) came on to get the win in his two innings of scoreless relief. Pitching and defense win championships. Iowa had one error over the course of the weekend by third baseman Raider Tello (how sweet of a name is that?!)
This year the Hawkeyes will be without two of their best hitters from last season. Peyton Williams, who now plays for the Toronto Blue Jays organization, slashed .335 (BA)/.464(OBP)/.622(SLG) last year. I grew up during pre-Moneyball, sabermetric times. Yes, it was a simpler time, but there is a wealth of information available to coaches, managers, and fans that allow us to better compare/analyze baseball players. Williams’ on-base plus slugging (OPS) for the 2021-22 season was 1.086. That was good for eighth in the Big Ten Conference last year. As a comparison, the Hawkeyes return Keaton Anthony who slashed .361/.455/.678 during the 21-22 campaign. Anthony’s OPS was 1.133, good for third place in the Big Ten. Finally, the Hawkeyes also lost Izaya Fullard to graduation. Fullard was a very good hitter who came through with some opportune hits for the Hawkeyes during his career.
The play of the game was of the walk-off variety. Centerfielder Kyle Huckstorf hit a grand slam to end the game.
Game 2: Iowa 7 - Quinnipiac 1
The name of the game for Iowa’s second game of the season was pitching, specifically starting pitching. Football player/pitcher Brody Brecht went five perfect innings, striking out ten batters. Zach Voelker came on and pitched four innings, allowing one run and striking out six to get his first save of the year. Hopefully Brecht has not played his last snap for Iowa football, but Brecht has the stuff to progress quickly through minor league baseball. Brecht at times looks like he is out there bullying batters.
Right fielder Brayden Frazier had three hits and three RBI’s on the day. First baseman Brennen Dorighi and center fielder Kyle Huckstorf both had two hits. Keaton Anthony hit his first home run of the year.
Game 3: Iowa 10 - Quinnipiac 0 (8 Innings)
The Hawkeyes’ final game of the weekend was never much of a contest. Iowa jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back. The Hawkeyes banged out 10 runs on 11 hits, 4 HBP, and 3 BB to end this one after eight innings. Keaton Anthony and left fielder Sam Petersen had two hits apiece. Of the ten Hawkeye hits, five of them were doubles.
On the mound the Hawkeyes got four very good innings of work from starter Marcus Morgan. Morgan’s control last year was an issue (a very common issue for younger hurlers). Morgan allowed three hits, struck out one, and did not allow a base on balls. He did hit two batters. Morgan did not go the five innings necessary to get the win. Luke Llewellyn (1-0) came on to pick up the win. He pitched one inning, walked one, and allowed one hit. Keaton Anthony was on the mound for the first time this season. Iowa’s best hitter went 2 2⁄3 innings giving up two hits and walking one. He also struck out two batters. We are just three games in, but Hawk fans may want to enjoy watching Anthony in a Hawk uniform as he more than likely will be moving on to pro baseball after this season.
Next Up: Karbach Round Rock Classic (Hawks face #1 LSU Tigers)
Friday, Feb 24: Sam Houston 6pm - Hawkeye Radio Network
Saturday, Feb 25: #1 LSU Noon - Hawkeye Radio Network
Sunday, Feb 26: Kansas State Noon - Hawkeye Radio Network
FYI -- for @LSUbaseball @KStateBSB @UIBaseball @BearkatsBSB @UIBaseball fans, you can get 15% off a WEEKEND streaming pass for the @KarbachRRC with these codes: #LSU: LSUKRR#KState: KSTKRR#Iowa: IOWAKRR#SHSU: SHKRR— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) February 20, 2023
LINK: https://t.co/brNtVINXet pic.twitter.com/uvE7SJxESS
It doesn’t feel like spring, but once the Iowa baseball team heads south, we know that nicer weather is coming... maybe. Eventually. As always, Go Hawks!