My apologies to Hawk baseball fans as I was caught up in the terrific run the Iowa women’s basketball team made. I spent the last few weeks watching and writing about hoops, and there weren’t enough hours in the day (ok, there were, but I was lazy) for me to tackle some action on the diamond. But I’m back, like I never left. Another sprint. Another step. (Macklemore-inspired). It is somewhat starting to feel like spring, although I had tickets for the Minnesota Twins home opener for today that is now postponed until tomorrow. Good ol’ Midwest baseball.
The Iowa Hawkeyes (21-6) traveled to Peoria, Illinois last night and came away with a 9-6 victory over Bradley. Coach Rick Heller’s team has been playing good baseball the first half of the season, but losing two of three home games to Maryland last weekend somewhat puts the Hawkeyes in an early Big Ten hole with a big series upcoming against a good Indiana team.
- The Hawkeyes have five batters hitting over .330 - Brennen Dorighi, Kyle Huckstorf, Sam Petersen, Raider Tello, and Keaton Anthony.
- I am a bit more “old school” with the baseball stats I grew up on, but OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) is a pretty good indication of a hitter’s production. An OPS of 1.000 is the mark of an elite hitter. Iowa has four hitters with an OPS above 1.000. Keaton Anthony’s OBP is 1.103 to lead the Hawkeyes. Anthony is also 2-0 on the mound for the Hawks.
- Keaton Anthony also leads the Hawkeyes in doubles (12) and home runs (6). He’s good at baseballing.
- The Hawkeyes have been aggressive and successful on the base paths. Iowa has stolen 52 bases in 59 attempts (88%) - Conversely, the Hawkeyes have allowed 17-27 (63%) runners to steal a base.
- As a team the Hawkeyes are hitting .303 compared to its opponents (.217)
- The Hawkeyes are led by Brody Brecht on the mound. Brecht is 2-1 with an ERA of 2.67. He has 59 strikeouts in 33 2⁄3 innings. That’s nasty! Brecht was recently named to the midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List for the best player in the country. He joins former Iowa baseball royalty Jake Adams (2017) and Tim Costo (1990) as nominees for this prestigious award. Yeah, giving up football was a solid choice for Brody.
- Zach Voelker has been a bright spot out of the bullpen. Voelker is 3-0 in seven appearances.
- Ty Langenberg is off to a decent start, but more was hoped for/expected out of him. He is 3-2 with an ERA of 5.52. He will be a major factor in how the Hawkeyes do in the B1G the rest of the way.
On Deck: Indiana Hoosiers
The Hawkeyes hit the road and head to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers in a three game set this weekend. The Hoosiers are 20-9 (15-0 at home). They have already played six Big Ten games (5-1) to Iowa’s three (1-2). It’s only Iowa’s second conference series, but it’s an extremely important series. Iowa has had a great start, but the NCAA isn’t a huge fan of northern (Big Ten) teams when it comes to the postseason. The Hawkeyes must place in the top few spots in the conference to be considered. This isn’t fair, but it is what it is.
The Hoosiers are batting .296 (Hawks .303) on the season. Their team ERA is 4.80 (Hawks 4.34). The Hoosiers and Hawkeyes are pretty even defensively. Will the Hawkeyes be able to not only give the Hoosiers their first home loss, but win the series as well? There are many remaining B1G games, but the Hawkeyes don’t want to find themselves in an early hole looking up in the standings. A sweep is too much to hope for, but winning two of three would be huge.
Friday, April 7 5PM. B1G+ Network
Saturday, April 8 11AM. B1G Network
Sunday, April 9 1PM. B1G+ Network
All games are also available on the Hawkeye Radio Network.
As always, Go Hawks!