After an impressive win over Indiana on Wednesday in their first Big Ten Tournament game, Iowa had to wait until Friday to play their second game in the tournament, thanks to inclement weather throwing a wrench into the tournament schedule. Unfortunately, the good mojo had on Wednesday seemed to get washed away by the storm, because Iowa lost twice on Friday, ending their Big Ten Tournament run (and their season) in the process.
They found two very different ways to lose, first getting shelled by Nebraska, 11-1, in a game between teams who won their first game in the tournament. Then they lost a squeaker late in the evening to Minnesota, 3-0 (though it was 1-0 for most of the game). Of course, there was a common denominator to both games as well (other than them being losses): Iowa's offense was MIA all day on Friday. The Hawkeyes played 17 innings all told yesterday, but managed just a single measly run for their efforts. After that second inning run against Nebraska scored by a Mitchell Boe RBI single, Iowa's bats went very quiet.
Iowa had chances -- they stranded seven men on base against Nebraska and 10 against Minnesota. Leaving the bases loaded in the second against Nebraska stung; maybe more runs from Iowa there would have allowed the game to unfold in a different fashion. But all those missed chances really hurt against Minnesota, which was a close game (1-0) until the Gophers were able to tack on two insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Iowa stranded two in the first, one in the second, two in the fourth, one in the fifth, one in the sixth, one in the seventh, and two in the ninth. They put nine runners in scoring position -- but weren't able to score any of them.
The Hawkeyes mustered six hits and drew three walks against Nebraska, led by Izaya Fullard, who went 2/4 on the day. Iowa had seven hits and drew one walk against Minnesota, with Ben Norman picking up three hits on the night. Iowa had no extra-base hits all day.
Iowa's hitting was an issue all day, while the pitching ran hot and cold. Against Nebraska, it was very very cold -- Grant Judkins got the start, but he lasted just 1.1 innings before giving up four earned runs on five hits and two walks. He was replaced by Jason Foster, who gave up another run on two hits and two walks in 1.2 innings. Adam Ketelson also struggled, giving up four runs on four hits and three walks. All told, Iowa pitchers gave up 15 hits and a staggering 10 walks to the Huskers; if you give up that many free passes, bad things will happen. Iowa's pitching was better against Minnesota. Cam Baumann got the start and held the Gophers to one run on three hits (and five walks) in four innings, while Duncan Davitt replaced him and threw three shutout innings, giving up two hits and two walks. Grant Leonard finished the game for Iowa, throwing two innings and giving up two runs on three hits. Leonard had a lengthy scoreless inning streak for Iowa earlier in the season, but he couldn't quite get out of a jam in this one. That said, his runs ended up being for naught when the Iowa offense was unable to do anything.
And so that's how the season ends for Iowa -- getting shut out for just the second time all season. All told, Iowa lost seven of their final nine games of the season, which is a pretty spectacularly poor way to close things out, unfortunately. They had such a good run in March and April, up through the series win over UC Irvine. Then things fell apart for them, ending their hopes at a good finish in the Big Ten standings, an NCAA Tournament bid, and now a run in the Big Ten Tournament. See you next year, Iowa baseball.