Hawkeyes blank Hoosiers
When a team scores 30 runs in one game, the main concern going into the next game is a letdown from the offense.
Fear not, the Hawkeyes still scored their fair share of runs this evening.
The Iowa offense got production from up and down the lineup, while the pitching staff had Indiana searching for answers all evening. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 12-0 to clinch the series and set up a shot at a sweep tomorrow night.
“I thought we put together a really well-played game. Really professional effort by the guys,” said Coach Rick Heller. “(They) showed up focused and locked in. Played confident, played loose, played aggressive.”
It all started with Dylan Nedved on the mound. The redshirt senior was pushed back into a starting role to replace a struggling Connor Schultz and he shut down an Indiana lineup that collected 19 hits on Thursday night. While Nedved walked a couple of guys, he carried a no hitter for 5.1 innings and went 6.0 scoreless innings, including six strikeouts.
“He believes in himself. He’s really confident and he wants the ball,” said Heller on Nedved’s ability to fit into whatever role he is given.
“My attitude is as soon as I get the ball in my hands, I’m going to be the same person,” said Nedved. “Get outs and give my team the best chance to win.”
On the offensive side, the Hawkeyes were facing the Hoosiers ace in Jack Perkins, but they were locked in at the plate. Up and down the lineup players put together good at bats and forced his pitch count to the triple digits far earlier than Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer would have liked.
Iowa picked up where they left off getting hits from Michael Seegers and Peyton Williams to open the game, while Keaton Anthony made it 1-0 with an RBI groundout. Then in the fourth inning, Perkins started to give up runs. A Sam Hojnar two-run double pushed the lead to 4-0, which was later extended to 5-0 on a Michael Seegers RBI single.
“Really disciplined at the plate off of Perkins,” said Heller. “We didn’t chase his slider. We made him work and got some big hits.”
Keaton Anthony blasted a solo home run in the fifth to tack on one more run to the tab of Perkins and he exited the game after 105 pitches and just 4.2 innings. He allowed six runs on nine hits, while walking three and striking out six. Ryan Kraft came in from the bullpen, but Sam Hojnar and Michael Seegers each added on RBI hits to give the Hawkeyes a firm grip on the game.
“We know that there is a lot left, if we want to get where we want to go and getting the W tonight was huge, so that we can get the sweep tomorrow,” said Michael Seegers. “It was huge to try to keep them out of the game early and keep them down.”
Seegers added a two-run single in the seventh, while Sam Petersen blasted a solo home run in the eighth for good measure and the bullpen was able to toss three scoreless innings to give Iowa the 12-0 shutout victory.
Jared Simpson, Luke Llewellyn and Will Christophersen recorded scoreless outings, including a pair of strikeouts in the ninth by Christophersen. It was a good sign to see those arms produce shutdown innings because come tournament time, depth in the bullpen is the biggest asset to a team.
“Throwing strikes and getting the job done,” said Heller on the bullpen. “Happy they had success and that will bode well for us if we get deep in the tournament when those guys need to be out there.”
Michael Seegers led the way with four hits on the night, while Sam Hojnar had three hits. Keaton Anthony and Peyton Williams combined for just two of the Hawkeyes 14 hits and Coach Heller says it’s a good sign to see the rest of the lineup carry the load for a change.
“It wasn’t really the two big boppers. It was the guys above and below them that were getting on base and finding ways to get it done…Really happy with our offensive performance tonight. It is a really good feeling.”
With the win, the Hawkeyes move to 32-17 on the season and 16-7 in Big Ten play, which is good for a three-way tie for second place going into the final day of the regular season. Iowa sits at #62 in the RPI with a chance of reaching the 58-60 range depending on how the rest of the weekend shakes out. It will be Ty Langenberg on the mound for the Hawkeyes tomorrow, as they go for a sweep, however the Hoosiers still have not announced their plans. First pitch is set for 8:02pm and it will be televised on ESPNU.