Iowa played Missouri State last night and fell to the Bears, 5-3. The good news for Iowa? Bears pitcher Matt Hall, who struck out 11 Hawkeyes and generally controlled the game for eight innings last night, can't pitch against the Hawkeyes tonight. (Not unless he has a cybernetic arm, anyway.)
The bad news for Iowa? We have no idea who's going to pitch for Iowa in this game. Iowa's top three starters -- Tyler Peyton, Blake Hickman, and Calvin Mathews -- have started their first three games in Springfield. Ace reliever Nick Hibbing and Brandon Shulista have also logged several innings. Maybe Connor Grant (1-1, 3.77 ERA in 31 IP) or Nick Gallagher (0-0, 2.18 ERA in 20.2 IP) or Josh Martsching (0-1, 3.44 ERA in 18.1 IP)? They've all made starts previously this year. But odds are it will be a team effort for Iowa on the mound tonight -- everyone who can throw will likely be available. After all, if Iowa can't grab a win tonight, tomorrow doesn't matter -- their season is over.
Whoever Iowa calls upon will need to be able to throw more strikes than Iowa's pitchers did against Missouri State last night and hopefully induce more quick outs. Missouri State dragged out at-bats and drew a slew of walks, which eventually caught up to Iowa in a pair of damaging innings. Avoiding situations like that will be critical for Iowa.
As for Iowa's bats... I mean, let's just hope they can do something. They've been largely stymied by Oregon (twice) and Missouri State so far this weekend, although they were able to piece together just enough hits -- at the right times -- to eke out wins over Oregon. Hope springs eternal that they can do the same again tonight.
Whatever the case: let's go Iowa. This has been a great ride -- let's see if we can't extend it for at least one more day.
The game vs Missouri State gets underway at 7:05 PM CT, with coverage from ESPN3.
We'll update the action in the comments.