After going 3-1 and finishing second in the B1G baseball tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, the Iowa Hawkeyes (42-14) are off to Terre Haute, Indiana, for the NCAA Regionals. The Hawkeyes’ 42 wins are two victories short of a school record. In 1981 Duane Banks’ team went 44-21.
B1G Tournament Recap:
The Hawkeyes beat Michigan twice, 13-3 and 5-0, Indiana once, 9-4, and lost to Maryland 4-0 in the Big Ten Championship game. Rick Heller’s team assured itself of playing in the NCAA Regionals with an outstanding tournament. The Hawks played Hellerball; if you follow Iowa baseball you know that means the team will play smart, confident baseball. Hellerball can be hitting the long ball or manufacturing runs. Hellerball most definitely means you can play a clean baseball game defensively. An example of this is that Iowa’s defense totaled one error for the four game tournament. Conversely, Iowa’s opponents kicked and threw the ball around the diamond for ten errors.
The Hawkeyes hit a solid .271 (35/129) and drew 22 bases on balls. Here was an absolute BOMB by Sam Petersen. Petersen hit his tenth and eleventh home runs on the season in Omaha.
And pitching? Iowa’s team ERA was a stellar 2.91. Iowa’s starting pitchers, Marcus Morgan, Brody Brecht, and Ty Langenberg can be solid to spectacular. Langenberg threw a seven-inning, two hit gem against Michigan. So that, folks, is Hellerball.
Regional in Terre Haute:
The Hawkeyes are the second seed in a four-team regional. Iowa’s first opponent is North Carolina (3rd seed). Indiana State(1st seed) and Wright State (4 seed) round out the region. This is Rick Heller’s third NCAA appearance with the Hawkeyes. The regional follows a double-elimination format.
Game 1: vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
Friday, June 2 at 6pm
ACCN Network/Hawkeye Radio Network
What jumps off the page for North Carolina is that the Tar Heels can hit. Specifically, North Carolina hits the ball out of the park. Carolina has Mac Horvath who has hit 22 big flies on the year. He also is hitting .305. Horvath is a “local” kid from Rochester, Minnesota, via IMG Academy. Tomas Frick is slashing (BA/OBP/SLG) .326/.414/.587 this season. Frick also has twelve home runs.
On the mound the projected starters will be Marcus Morgan for the Hawks and Jake Knapp for the Tar Heels. Knapp is 5-3 with an ERA of 4.79. Knapp has started 15 games, has a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio, and allows a batting average of .251. Morgan is 4-2 with an ERA of 3.88. Morgan has 14 starts, but his control is not what Knapp’s is. Morgan allows a batting average of just .177. The name of the game will be which pitching staff gets the ball over the plate and the defense behind it. In tournament settings, getting quality starts takes a great deal of pressure off pitching staffs. On paper, the Hawkeyes and Tar Heels appear to be very evenly matched.
Terre Haute Regional Schedule:
The Schedule for the Terre Haute Regional at Bob Warn Field is as follows: (times are Eastern)
Friday, June 2nd
Game 1: #1 Indiana State vs #4 Wright State, 6/2 at 1 p.m. ET
Game 2: #3 North Carolina vs #2 Iowa, 6/2 at 7 p.m. ET
Saturday, June 3rd
Game 3: Game 1 Loser vs Game 2 Loser, 6/3 at Noon ET
Game 4: Game 1 Winner vs Game 2 Winner, 6/3 at 6 p.m. ET
Sunday, June 4th
Game 5: Game 3 Winner vs Game 4 Loser, 6/4 at Noon ET
Game 6: Game 4 Winner vs Game 5 Winner, 6/4 at 6 p.m. ET
Monday, June 5th
Game 7: If Necessary, 6/5 at TBD
Other Teams in the Regional:
The one seed (and home team) in the region is Rick Heller’s former school. The Sycamores are 42-15, including 17-3 at home. The Hawkeyes and Sycamores faced off on February 17th with the Hawks winning 6-2. Ty Langenberg was on the mound for Iowa and Matt Jachec pitched for Indiana State. Mike Sears is the biggest bopper in Indiana State’s lineup. He hit .263 this year with 19 home runs. He was 0-4 with four strikeouts in the first contest. Michael Seegers and Kyle Huckstorf each had two hits. As a team Indiana State hits at a .274 clip and their pitching staff is superior to that of the Hawks’. The Sycamores have a team ERA of 3.80.
The final team to round out the Terre Haute regional is Wright State. The Raiders come in with a record of 39-21. The team has a batting average of .278 and a team ERA of 4.85.
** Any time you make the postseason, every team is good and capable of knocking off another team. In basketball Cinderella crashes the dance more often than not, it seems. With a double-elimination tournament, the best of the four teams will consistently come out on top. If the Hawkeyes get the ball over the plate, I feel good about our chances to advance to the Super Regional. After that, let’s head back to Omaha for the College World Series. Something the Hawkeyes have done just one other time (1972). As always, it’s great to be a Hawkeye!