The Iowa Hawkeyes (39-13/15-8) finished off their regular season by winning two out of three games at Northwestern. The Hawks dominated in two of the games, 15-3 and 10-0, but dropped the second game 6-4. A quick look back and a preview of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament.
Game 1: Iowa 15 - Northwestern 3
The Hawkeyes brought their bats with them to the Windy City. Iowa pounded out 14 hits and drove in 15 runs. Raider Tello (sweet name), Michael Seegers, Brayden Frazier, and Cade Moss all had multi-hit games. The Hawkeyes also drew nine bases on balls.
On the mound Marcus Morgan stayed hot pitching four innings, allowing three hits, and no runs. He struck out five and walked three. If Morgan’s control is sharp, he is extremely tough.
.— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) May 21, 2023
Rank among starters in Big Ten play:
2.67 ERA - 1st
16 Hits Allowed - 1st
10 Runs Allowed - 1st
.150 Batting Average Against - 1st
4 Extra Base Hits Allowed - T1st @Marcus_Morgan20 x #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/1YjBeuRUra
Freshman Cade Obermueller pitched 2.1 innings to pick up the victory. Nick Gottilla and Jack Young did not give up an earned run in their two-plus innings of relief.
Game 2: Northwestern 6 - Iowa 4
In the second game of the series the Hawkeyes managed ten hits but left eight runners on base. Ben Wilmes had two hits (both doubles) and scored two runs. He also stole a base. The Hawkeyes have been aggressive on the base paths this season. The Hawks have stolen 89 bases in 104 attempts (86%). Conversely, Iowa has allowed just 34 steals in 49 attempts (69%). Hellerball is alive and well in Iowa City.
For the Hawkeyes Ty Langenberg got the start. He went four innings and allowed three runs. Langenberg’s season has not been up to expectations to this point, but he will be a valuable arm going forward for the Big Ten Tournament as well as a hopeful NCAA tournament berth. Jared Simpson picked up the loss in two innings of relief. Simpson is 4-2 on the year with an ERA of 5.66. Luke Llewellyn pitched the last two innings. Llewellyn has had a terrific season with a record of 1-0 and an ERA of 2.73. He also has three saves on the year.
Game 3: Iowa 10 - Northwestern 0
Iowa’s Brody Brecht got back on track with six very strong innings. His control was terrific and he was making batters miss; Brecht struck out nine Wildcats. Brecht will be ready to make amends for last year’s B1G tournament outing where he was roughed up early. Relievers Jack Whitlock and Will Christophers pitched three innings of scoreless ball.
Offensively right fielder Brayden Frazier tallied three hits. Michael Seegers had two hits and drove in two. Brennen Dorighi had two hits including his team-leading 13th home run.
The Hawkeyes will travel to Omaha, Nebraska, as the three seed. The tournament is an eight team, double-elimination tourney. Iowa’s first opponent is the Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines (26-26/13-11) and Hawkeyes will face one another Tuesday, May 23 in a 10 a.m. contest. The game can be viewed on the Big Ten Network.
The game looks to have two quality starting pitchers going head-to-head. The Hawkeyes will send Marcus Morgan (4-2, 4.14 ERA) to the mound, while the Wolverines will throw their ace, Connor O’Halloran (8-5, 3.43 ERA).
On Deck - Michigan’s Batters:
The Wolverines as a team slash .262/.363/.415. As a comparison the Hawkeyes are .300/.419/.493. Advantage Hawks. Michigan’s biggest bat is infielder Ted Burton. Burton is batting .303 with 12 home runs. He is slugging .559. Outfielder Jonathan Kim comes into the contest batting .331. The Wolverines are prone to strike out; they average nine per game. Marcus Morgan can make batters miss when he has his good stuff.
On Deck - Michigan’s Pitchers:
Iowa will face the Wolverine’s best pitcher in O’Halloran. The Wolverine’s team ERA is a lofty 5.80. If the Hawkeyes can get to the bullpen, I expect Iowa to win. Mitch Voit is an excellent relief pitcher. He is 3-1 with an ERA of 3.38 and five saves on the year. Hopefully the Hawkeyes take care of business before facing Voit.
In the Hole:
As stated, this tournament is of the double-elimination variety. If the Hawkeyes win the first game, they more than likely will face the Indiana Hoosiers. The Hoosiers are the two seed who will take on seventh-seeded Illinois. Iowa went 1-2 against Indiana this year.
In this tournament setting, pitching is at a premium. It’s imperative to not have to get into your bullpen too early. If the Hawks can get a quality start out of Morgan, that will go a long way to get the Hawks advancing through the bracket. Iowa hopes to make the NCAA regional this year, and a good showing in the B1G Tournament is a great stepping stone for this. As always, it’s great to be a Hawkeye!