Iowa took two out of three games from Ohio State this weekend for their fifth series win in a row and kept themselves in fourth place overall in the conference. They won the first two games, but once again failed to complete the sweep. This is the fourth time this season that Iowa has won the first two games of a Big Ten series, but they have failed to finish off the sweep three out of the four times. While it is great to keep winning series, it’s hard not to think about the opportunities that have been missed. All four of those games were started by Grant Judkins, Iowa’s ace who has had an ERA below 2.00 all year. Winning three games in a weekend is tough, but if Iowa had won just one of those three games they would be tied for second in the conference with a great chance at winning it...ugh. Sitting in fourth, two games back of leader Michigan, means they aren’t out of it, but they need to be damn near perfect going forward if they want to stay within striking distance. Some good news: after the weekend Iowa jumped 17 spots in the RPI and are now up to #61.
GAME 1: IOWA 4, OHIO STATE 2
The Cole McDonald show was on full display in Columbus on Friday night. McDonald dominated the Buckeyes, throwing eight innings, striking out eight, and only giving up two runs.
Iowa got on the board in the third, as Brendan Sher hit his first home run of the year. The solo shot put Iowa up 1-0. In the fifth, Zeb Adreon led off with a double. He would advance to third on a Mitchell Boe single and would score two batters later on a Chris Whelan sacrifice fly.
McDonald only allowed three hits through the first seven innings, but Ohio State got on the board in the 8th after a single and a double. McDonald would get out of the inning with Iowa still leading 2-1. In the top of the ninth Iowa added to their lead on a two run home run from Zeb Adreon, his first of the year.
With a 4-1 lead, McDonald headed back out for the ninth, but was pulled after giving up a leadoff double. Grant Leonard entered and gave up a double which scored a run for Ohio State, bringing the score to 4-2. Leonard settled down after the double and retired the final two batters he faced, getting his tenth save of the year.
GAME 2: IOWA 11, OHIO STATE 4
The Hawkeyes brought out the hit sticks for game 2, racking up 16 hits and 11 runs. Iowa scored an unearned run in the first, but quickly gave the lead away as Ohio State left fielder Brady Cherry launched a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning. Iowa tied it up in the 5th with yet another unearned run, Ohio State made four errors in the game.
In the 6th, Iowa took a 3-2 lead after a lead-off double from Izaya Fullard. Ben Norman drew a walk and Luke Farley singled to load the bases. Elion drew another walk to score Fullard, but Iowa was unable to add any more runs, taking a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the inning. Iowa started to run away with the game in the 7th, scoring four runs on five hits. The inning included an RBI double from Izaya Fullard and singles from Justin Jenkins, Austin Martin, Zeb Adreon, and Brendan Sher.
Iowa would give up a run in the 8th to make the score 7-4, but would add four more runs to their lead in the 9th. The four-run inning included another five hits. Zeb Adreon mashed a two RBI double and Austin Martin added an RBI on a double of his own.
Iowa starter Cam Baumann went five innings and allowed two runs while striking out two. Kyle Shrimp picked up his second win of the season after getting one out in the 6th inning. Trace Hoffman and Adam Ketelsen threw the final three innings for the Hawkeyes and only allowed one run.
GAME 3: OHIO STATE 5, IOWA 1
There is not a lot to say about this one beside the fact that it was ugly, especially on offense. Iowa never got the bats going, finishing with only six hits. The Hawks left eleven runners on base while striking out eight times. Iowa’s lone run was scored in the 7th inning by Justin Jenkins.
Grant Judkins threw six innings for Iowa, allowing three earned runs, walking three, and striking out two. Judkins' ERA now sits at 2.11, the first time all season that it has been above 2.00. Iowa is 1-3 in Judkins' last four starts and has only scored 12 runs in those games, six of which were in one game.
Iowa plays Western Illinois (16-25) at home Tuesday and travels to Chicago on Wednesday for one game with Northwestern (18-22) that won't count towards the Big Ten standings. The Hawkeyes get the weekend off from Big Ten play, and instead welcome in UC Irvine (28-9), a very good team that has bounced in and out of the top 25 all season long.