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Iowa and Michigan Split First Two Games; Sunday Rubber Match Open Thread

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Iowa's 15th-ranked baseball team scored 18 runs in the first two games of its series at Ann Arbor this weekend. So did Michigan. Each team has taken a game, and it all gets settled Sunday at noon (CT).

@UIBaseball

My colleague Randy Johnson's Mullet mentioned in the preview for this weekend's Iowa at Michigan baseball series that the Wolverines have one of the best hitting teams in the Big Ten. They certainly showed it early on Friday night, chasing Hawkeye ace Blake Hickman in the third inning, immediately after Iowa had built a 5-1 lead. But Iowa's bullpen locked things down, and the Hawkeye lineup continued to pour on the runs in a 13-7 victory. In game two, Michigan lefty starter Evan Hill lasted only into the fourth inning, and the Michigan bullpen returned the favor, tossing 5 2/3 innings of one-hit ball in an 11-5 Michigan win. The so-far split puts Iowa's record at 32-12 (14-3 B1G), and Michigan's at 28-18 (12-8).

Michigan pitchers have walked eleven Iowa batters in the series. Iowa's hurlers have walked twelve Wolverines...and have given up two home runs...and nine (!) doubles in the series so far. If you told me Friday morning that the games of this series (this goes for any Iowa series) would average eighteen total runs, I would have said look out for the sweep...the bad kind. But in game one, Iowa--like winning/championship teams often do--drummed up an uncharacteristically good performance in a usual weak area (hitting and scoring) to overcome a less-than-stellar performance by a usual strength (pitching). But everything about this season to date says that Iowa cannot sustain that kind of run production.

Indeed, Saturday's game two started as an exciting back-and-forth, with the teams trading a run or two in each of the first seven half-innings of a 5-5 game in the fourth. But Iowa's lineup hit a wall. Back-to-back bases-loaded strikeouts of Dan Potempa and Nick Roscetti by Michigan reliever Mac Lozer in the fourth inning marked the end of any noise Iowa's bats would make. And Iowa's bullpen, absent Ryan Erickson (who tossed 5 2/3 brilliant innings for the game one win), couldn't solve Michigan's lineup. And unless Calvin Mathews can figure things out on the bump today, Iowa may yet again be asking for an over-their-heads performance out of its lineup.

Game Three Matchup, Info, and Open Thread

When: Today, May 3, at 12:00 CT

Where: Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI

Pitching Probables: Calvin Mathews (IOWA), 3-1, 1.98 ERA vs. Brett Adcock (MICH), 6-3, 3.81

It's forecast to be 75F and sunny up here. Yes, I said up here. I will be at the game today, and will post as many detailed updates as I can in the comments. I have a very good recent record of going to Iowa sporting events in the Mitten State, namely, Iowa's dramatic 19-16 football victory at Michigan State before the remainder of the 2012 season was cancelled, and the Hawkeyes' 72-54 basketball win at Crisler this past winter. Here's to keeping it rolling!

No BTN today; it's back to just Gametracker today.  We'll try to update the action in the comments, too.

Usual gamethread rules apply: no polictics, no porn, no religion, no asshattery. GO HAWKS!