The postseason is starting for some sports, while others are fighting for their season to continue. Also, track and field set two more school records, with two members being recognized for their strong performance this past week.
It wasn’t the best week for a team fighting for an NCAA Tournament berth. Iowa baseball (20-11, 3-3 B10) extended their win streak to eight games, but they lost the last two games of the Northwestern series before bouncing back with a win over Western Illinois on Tuesday night for their 20th win of the season. It took Iowa until May 1 to reach 20 wins last season.
Helped by bad control from Northwestern pitcher Tommy Bordignon, who threw 21 walks and eight wild pitches in 19 innings prior to his start against Iowa, the Hawkeyes cruised to a 14-2 win. Mason McCoy led the way by going 3-for-5 with a home run, walk and 4 RBIs. Jake Adams, Robert Neustrom and Matt Hoeg each had multiple hits, too, but the biggest storyline is how Iowa scored most of their runs. The Hawkeyes scored seven runs off of walks and one wild pitch, including Northwestern walking in four straight runs in the eighth. Their 14 runs also overshadowed Nick Gallagher’s great start, as he improved to 4-1 on the season – 7 IP, 3 H, 5 K, 2 BB.
Iowa once again hit Northwestern’s starter, Hank Christie, hard, scoring all five runs off of him in their 7-5 loss. Tyler Cropley and Adams each hit a home run, while Chris Whelan also went 2-for-5. Although, the bullpens were the difference. For Iowa, Zach Daniels struggled, giving up 2 earned runs in 2.2 innings. Kyle Shimp pitched 2.1 shutout innings to close the game, but the Hawkeyes couldn’t manufacture runs against Sam Lawrence. He pitched five shutout innings for the Wildcats to close out the game.
It looked like Iowa would take the rubber match when they jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Adams and Cropley both homered again, and McCoy and Ben Norman each had a pair of hits. Iowa led 5-0 heading into the fourth inning, but starter Cole McDonald allowed four straight hits to start the inning before being taken out. Northwestern managed to score four runs off of McDonald and added two more against the bullpen. The Hawkeyes threatened in the ninth with two one-out singles, but ended the game with a fly out and strikeout.
Iowa continued their success at home with a 4-1 win over Western Illinois on Tuesday night. McCoy and Austin Guzzo each had a pair of hits, and Hoeg went 1-for-2 with 2 RBIs. Plus, Iowa’s pitching staff had a bounce back game. Elijah Wood started, throwing three shutout innings, but Drake Robison, who also pitched three shutout innings in relief, got the win to improve to 2-2. Shane Ritter picked up his third save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning.
Highlights and Coach Heller's comments following Tuesday's 4-1 win against Western Illinois in Iowa City: https://t.co/UeAaw8PfRa— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) April 12, 2017
Iowa has an important weekend series at Nebraska starting on Friday, and then will travel to Bradley on April 19.
Since their 16-game losing streak, Iowa softball (12-23, 5-6 B10) has gone 10-7 in their past 17 games. Their success continued this week, as they took four of six games and inched closer to being .500 in conference play.
Iowa started the week with an 8-1 loss to Wisconsin. They only managed two hits, but Angela Schmiederer started her productive week with Iowa's lone RBI. Shayla Starkenburg fell to 3-8 on the year after allowing six earned runs on seven hits and two walks in 4.1 innings.
Iowa's bats came alive in their 4-3 win the next day. Schmiederer recorded two more RBIs, while Allie Wood went 3-for-4 and Cheyenne Pratt and Lea Thompson each recorded two hits. Allison Doocy continued her hot streak on the mound by pitching seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned) and striking out eight.
The Hawkeyes fell 6-5 in the rubber match, but they nearly won the series when Claire Fritsch doubled in a run to give Iowa a 5-4 lead in the ninth. Starkenburg, who came in for relief, allowed the tying run in the ninth and the winning (unearned) run in the 10th. In four innings, she only allowed one earned run on five hits, three walks and struck out two. Wisconsin pitcher Kaitlyn Menz pitched all 10 innings.
On Tuesday, Iowa took down Northern Iowa, 4-2. Schmiederer recorded another RBI, and Mallory Kilian homered and recorded three RBIs. Doocy struck out eight and allowed two earned runs on five hits in six innings. Erin Riding came in for the seventh inning to earn her first save of the season.
The Hawkeyes took both games of their doubleheader with Nebraska on Wednesday night for their first three-game win streak. Schmiederer went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to give Iowa a 2-0 first inning lead. Although, Kaitlyn Mullarkey, who went 2-for-4, was the hero for the Hawkeyes in the first game when she hit a walk-off double that scored Thompson, giving Iowa a 4-3 win. Doocy only allowed one run on seven hits in her complete game effort, moving her to 7-9 on the year.
In the second game, Iowa took advantage of three Nebraska errors to win 5-2. Two errors in the fourth inning led to Iowa scoring three runs, all unearned, to give them a 4-1 lead at the time. Schmiederer and Pratt each recorded multiple hits, while Starkenburg improved to 4-9 with her complete game. She allowed just two earned runs on seven hits, while striking out four.
Iowa hosts Rutgers this weekend and Iowa State on Tuesday.
Iowa men’s gymnastics struggled in the team portion of the Big Ten Championships last weekend, finishing sixth with 402.150 points. Ohio State won another Big Ten title with 418.600 points, but the Hawkeyes sent five individuals to the second day for a chance at individual titles.
Senior Cory Patterson had the best finish among the five Hawkeyes. He placed second on high bar with 14.350 points.
On vault, junior Dylan Ellsworth finished fifth with 14.300 points, and junior Elijah Parsells placed sixth on pommel horse with 13.950 points.
Iowa had two members finish in the top-10 on rings. Junior Mark Springett placed sixth with 14.050 points and senior Andrew Botto, who also placed 10th in all-around on day one, finished seventh with 13.775 points.
Despite the rough Big Ten Championships, Iowa’s season is not over. They will compete in the NCAA National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championships Qualifier in Army West Point on April 21. The top-12 programs in the country, with Iowa being No. 8, are in the qualifier. That includes Oklahoma, Stanford, Ohio State, Illinois, Minnesota, Penn State, Nebraska, California, Air Force, Michigan and Navy. The top-three teams will advance to the NCAA Team Finals on April 22.
This weekend, Angel Metcalf in the all-around and Clair Kaji on beam will represent the women’s gymnastics team in the NCAA Championships in St. Louis.
Thanks to a strong showing last weekend, Iowa rowing moved up a spot in the national rankings for a second straight week. The now No. 12 Iowa rowing team took down Rutgers but fell to No. 4 Ohio State after the Buckeyes had a strong afternoon.
In the morning, Iowa had their closest win of the day when their II Novice Eight crew edged Ohio State by 0.5 seconds with a time of 7:23.3. Their 2v4 (8:01.0), 1v4 (7:57.4), 2v8 (7:09.1) and 1v8 (7:02.2) also all beat Rutgers. After the morning session, Iowa and Ohio State were tied with 44 points.
Although, with more head-to-head matches with Ohio State in the afternoon, the Buckeyes pulled away by out-scoring Iowa 45-24. Iowa beat Ohio State in the II Novice Eight (7:34.8) by 1.3 seconds and 1v4 (7:30.7) by 1.8 seconds in their lone wins of the afternoon. The Hawkeyes stayed close to Ohio State, though, with a 2.3 second loss in the 2v8 (6:43.5) and 1.5 second loss in the 1v8 (6:38.0).
Iowa rowing will be off until April 29 when they travel to Princeton, New Jersey, to take on Princeton, Syracuse and Penn State.
Iowa Track and Field
The track and field team won multiple events and set two school records at the Jim Click Shootout in Arizona.
On the men’s side, freshman Tyler Kirkwood set a new personal best of 14.49 seconds on his way to winning the 110-meter hurdles. Freshman Chris Douglas finished second at 14.52 seconds.
Iowa swept the podium in 200-meters. Sophomore Christian Brissett won the event with a time of 20.75 seconds, and junior O’Shea Wilson and sophomore Mar’yea Harris finished second and third with times of 20.81 and 20.89 seconds, respectively. Wilson also finished third in 100 meters at 10.35 seconds, which is the second best time in the Big Ten this year. Harris won 400-meters, too, at 46.11 seconds.
The 4x100 relay team of Brissett, Wilson, Harris and freshman Emmanuel Ogwo placed second with a time of 39.59 seconds, which is good enough for seventh in school history.
Iowa also swept the podium in 400-meter hurdles with sophomore Noah Larsen winning with a time of 51.87 seconds. Senior Mitch Wolff placed second at 52.24 seconds, and Douglas finished third at 53.33 seconds.
Sophomore Reno Tuufuli won discus with a throw of 60.23 meters, which is also the best throw in the Big Ten this year. Tuufuli made history by becoming the first Iowa outdoor track and field athlete to ever earn two Big Ten Athlete of the Week awards in one season.
On the women’s side, junior Brittany Brown stole the show by winning two events. She set a school and meet record in 200 meters with a time of 22.73 seconds. It’s the best mark in the Big Ten this season and the fifth best time in the nation. She also won 100 meters with the Big Ten’s best time of 11.43 seconds. To no surprise, Brown was also named Big Ten’s Track Athlete of the Week.
Iowa had another school record fall when freshman Laulauga Tausaga broke her own discus record. Her throw of 54.95 meters is the new best mark in school history, as she won the event by more than three feet. Senior Alexis Hernandez also won the 400 meters with a time of 53.27 seconds.
Arguably the coolest story of the track meet came when freshman Jenny Kimbro, sophomore Tria Seawater-Simmons and freshman Allison Wahram all placed in the top-15 of the Heptathlon and top-10 in school history, despite never competing in the event before last weekend. Kimbro finished third in the meet and in school history with her Big Ten leading mark of 5,121 points. She’s also 17th in the nation. Seawater-Simmons has the second best mark in the Big Ten this year after she placed eighth with 4,928 points. It’s also the fifth best score in school history. Wahram scored 4,315 points, which put her 15th at the meet, 10th in school history and fifth in the Big Ten this year.
Iowa will be back in action this weekend at the Mt. Sac Relays in Torrance, California.
Iowa men’s tennis (11-11, 1-6 B10) suffered two tough losses to ranked opponents this season. They started the week with a 6-1 loss to No. 27 Illinois. Junior Josh Silverstein defeated Gui Gomes 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 for Iowa’s only point of the match. The No. 6 player in the country, Aleks Vukic, took down Iowa’s No. 1 singles player, freshman Kareem Allaf, 6-2, 6-2.
They nearly bounced back with an upset win over Northwestern, but fell short, losing 4-3. Silverstein upset No. 40 Konrad Zieba 2-6, 6-1, 6-0, and senior Robin Haden defeated Ben Vandixhorn 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Iowa also earned the doubles point after Silverstein and Allaf defeated No. 42 Zieba and Sam Shropshire 7-5.
After two impressive wins, Silverstein is now ranked No. 109 among singles players in the nation.
Silverstein is on a five match win streak. His last victory was against Northwestern's Konrad Zieba who was ranked No. 50 at the time! pic.twitter.com/KRLOuBl5tg— Iowa Men's Tennis (@IowaMensTennis) April 11, 2017
Men’s tennis will travel throughout Indiana this weekend with a match against Purdue on Friday and a doubleheader against Butler and Indiana on Sunday.
Iowa women’s tennis (15-6, 4-4 B10) also had a tough week, which started with a 7-0 loss to No. 2 Ohio State. The Hawkeyes almost stole the doubles point to start the match when junior Zoe Douglas and sophomore Kristen Thoms defeated No. 39 Gabriella De Santis and Sandy Niehaus 6-3. Although, freshman Elise Van Heuvelen and sophomore Adorabol Huckleby barely lost, 7-6, to No. 22 Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase to give Ohio State the point.
Along with having two nationally ranked doubles teams, Ohio State also had five nationally ranked singles players, including the No. 1 player in Di Lorenzo. Van Heuvelen played her tough, but fell 6-3, 6-4. Iowa was unable to win a set in singles matches.
They dominated Penn State, 6-1, in their next match, though. Douglas took down Devan McCluskey 6-0, 7-5, and Huckleby beat Daska Sapogova 7-5, 6-1 as the only singles players to win in straight sets. Van Heuvelen, junior Anastasia Reimchen and Thoms also won their singles matches in three sets.
Iowa finished the week on a strong note with a 4-3 upset win over No. 50 Wichita State. Van Heuvelen beat Guilia Guidetti 6-3, 6-2, Douglas beat Gabriella Porubin 6-3, 6-1, and Huckleby beat Marta Bellucco 6-4, 6-7 (3-0), 6-3. The Hawkeyes also swept the doubles matches from the Shockers.
Iowa will travel to No. 9 Michigan on Saturday and Michigan State on Sunday.