WHO: Iowa Hawkeyes (11-7) at Indiana Hoosiers (12-8)
- Friday, March 22nd – 6:05 PM CT
- Saturday, March 23rd – 2:05 PM CT
- Sunday, March 24th – 1:05 PM CT
On the heels of a series victory over Cal State Northridge and wins over Simpson College and Chicago State this week, Iowa is rolling into their first conference series of the year on a 4 game win streak. The Hawkeyes seem to have caught the walk-off bug, winning 2 of their last 4 games in their last at-bat. Wednesday’s game vs Chicago State was about as exciting as it gets for a midweek game.
With the Hawks down 1 in the bottom of the 9th, Izaya Fullard led off with a walk and proceeded to steal second and third base. Austin Martin then came up huge, doubling down the left field line to tie the game at 4. Martin would later score the winning run on a Chicago State error. Yes, Chicago State is 5-12, but any win is a good win, especially 2 days before you open up conference play against one of the best teams in your league.
Iowa now travels to Bloomington to take on Indiana, who has a 5-game winning streak of their own. Preseason polls picked the Hoosiers to finish 4th in the Big Ten after going 40-19 last season and making the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. The Hoosiers have scored double-digit runs in four of their last five games, including a 15 run outburst vs an Indiana State team that is currently 16-2.
At the Plate
The Hoosier lineup enjoys long walks on the beach, hitting home runs, and striking out. Indiana has hit 31 home runs and struck out 210 times in their first 20 games. They are led by 2018 First-Team All-Big Ten selections Matt Gorski (LF) and Matt Lloyd (1B/Pitcher). Gorski is hitting .329 with 5 home runs, 5 doubles, and 15 RBIs. Lloyd is right there with him, hitting .300 with 4 home runs and 14 RBIs. Indiana Sophomore Cole Barr has also been impressive at the plate this year, leading the team with 7 home runs, and 16 RBIs (he also leads the team with 28 strikeouts). Indiana has seven hitters with multiple home runs.
The Hawks will once again throw out the trio of McDonald, Baumann, and Judkins, and much like the Oklahoma State series, they will have their hands full. Judkins will look to build on his last start where he pitched 8 innings and gave up zero runs.
On the injury front, it was announced last week that Hawkeye right-hander Ben Probst is done for the year and left-hander Jack Dreyer has been temporarily shut down. Dreyer did not pitch against CSUN or during either of the midweek games, and there is no word yet on the how long he will be out for. Dreyer has a 2.46 era in 7.1 innings pitched; hopefully, he is able to return soon.
On the Mound
So far in 2019, the Indiana pitching staff has been anchored by Senior Pauly Milto, who is 4-1 with a 2.57 era. Milto leads the team in wins (4), innings pitched (35), and strikeouts (32). Tanner Gordon, a transfer in his first year with the Hoosiers, was named as a preseason Big Ten Player to Watch but has struggled to open the season. Gordon is 1-3 with a 4.74 ERA. He has thrown 24.2 innings, given up 13 runs, walked 13 and struck out 27. He seemed to have found something in his last start, allowing only one run in 8 innings, while striking out 10.
Matt Lloyd, who rakes at the plate, is also the closer for the Hoosiers. In 2018 he threw 23.1 innings and only allowed four earned runs while racking up seven saves. Lloyd has only thrown five innings so far this season but he has two saves and an era of 0.00.
Tanner Padgett continues to lead the way for Iowa, hitting .385. Izaya Fullard has at least one hit in 10 of Iowa’s last 12 games, which has helped raise his batting average from .250 to .304.
Buckle up, folks -- Indiana hits the snot out of the ball and their stadium is known to be very hitter-friendly. Don’t be surprised if a home run derby breaks out at some point.
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