WHO: Iowa Hawkeyes (7-6) vs Cal State Northridge Matadors (8-9)
Saturday, March 16th – 1:05 PM CT
Sunday, March 17th (Doubleheader) – Game 1: 1:05 PM CT; Game 2: 30 minutes after end of 1st game
WHERE: Duane Banks Field, Iowa City, Iowa
STREAMING: BTN Plus ($)
RADIO: Hawkeye Radio Network (check local listings), Hawkeye All Access ($), TuneIn Radio (free)
The snow has melted, the giant blizzard/rain cyclone that plagued the Midwest for a few days has passed, and the Iowa Hawkeyes are actually going to play games at home before Big Ten play starts next weekend. Hallelujah. Iowa is 72-20 at home since the start of the 2015 season, so yes, there really is no place like home.
Its amazing what a few days can do.— Iowa Baseball Managers (@UIBASEManagers) March 13, 2019
Well see you this weekend for a four-game series against Cal-State Northridge! pic.twitter.com/PlN8ScGjCF
Iowa will be welcoming the Cal State Northridge Matadors (another great name) to town this weekend for a 3-game series. This was originally scheduled to be a 4-game set but Friday’s game was canceled due to weather. The Matadors have started the season 8-9 and are coming off of a weekend series against Washington State in which they dropped two of three games.
The Hawkeyes are looking for a bounce back after a rough Sunday against Evansville. The Hawks scored 18 runs in game one of the series before the bats were shut down in games two and three of the series on Sunday (recap here).
At the Plate
The Matadors are led at the plate by sophomore shortstop Brandon Bohning and DH Jayson Newman. Bohning leads the team in at-bats (76), hits (21), home runs (4), and steals (6). Newman is currently hitting .404 and leads the team in RBIs with 14. CSUN only has 3 batters hitting over .290 and they have 8 guys with double-digit strikeouts through their first 17 games.
Iowa will roll out their usual trio of McDonald, Bauman, and Judkins, and the three will look to build on their recent success. After a rough start to the year, McDonald is 1-0 in his last two starts, throwing 12 innings, and striking out nine.
Outside of the 9th inning in game one against Evansville, there wasn’t much to complain about. Of the eight pitchers that threw for the Hawks last weekend, the only ones to give up more than two runs were Grant Judkins, who gave up three in 5.2 innings, and Jake McLaughlin, who gave up six in the bottom of the 9th inning while Iowa was up 18-1.
CSNU Batting Stats as of 3/15/19
On the Mound
Cal State Northridge pitcher Wesley Moore is off to a phenomenal start in 2019; he's struck out 23 batters in 26 innings and has an era of 2.46. A few weeks ago Moore threw a complete game, 2-hit shutout against Gonzaga. Moore is scheduled to take the mound in game two of the series, matching up against Cam Bauman.
Aside from Moore, who should provide a pretty good challenge, the Matador pitching staff doesn’t look like anything the Hawks won’t be able to handle. The Hawkeyes busted out for 18 runs on 19 hits in the first game of the Evansville series before their bats went silent for the remainder of the weekend, so hopefully, a trip home can help get them going again. One of the major concerns for Iowa coming off of last weekend has to be the number of runners that they left on base. The Hawks left 22 runners stranded during the Sunday doubleheader (yuck).
On the plus side, Tanner Padgett currently ranks 2nd in the Big Ten with a .395 batting average and Izaya Fullard has reached base in every game this year.
CSNU Pitching Stats as of 3/15/19
We will post series updates in the comments, but feel free to join in too.