The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

McCoy, Hawks head to Bloomington

The Daily Iowan
Iowa first baseman Tyler Peyton slides into third base during the Iowa-Air Force Academy game at Duane Banks field on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. The Hawkeyes defeated the Falcons, 9-7. (The Daily Iowan/John Theulen)

The Hawkeye baseball team is starting to find its groove.

Fresh off a two-game series sweep over the Air Force Academy in which Iowa scored a combined 31 runs, the bats are getting hot, and things are clicking.

“That Air Force team, I think they are second in the nation in batting average,” junior third baseman Mason McCoy said. “That gives us a lot of confidence going into the last month of the season.”

Twelve different Hawkeyes registered an RBI in the Air Force series, with Daniel Aaron Moriel and McCoy both notching six-RBI games in the finale.

The two midweek wins against Air Force moves Iowa to 16-15 this season, and marks the first time the Hawkeyes have been above .500 all year. Iowa has won 14 of its last 18 games.

The team will travel to Bloomington, Indiana this weekend to take on an also-hot Hoosier team that boasts a record of 18-13.

Indiana currently sits in fourth place in the Big Ten with a 4-2 record, and has won seven of its last 10, including its last six.

The Hoosiers will run out a pair of left-handers to the mound on Friday and Saturday. Kyle Hart and Caleb Baragar have a 3.02 and 1.51 ERA, respectively for Indiana and have seven wins between them.

“I was really happy that we saw two left handers to start the game [against Air Force] because we’re going to see a couple lefties at Indiana,” head coach Rick Heller said after his team’s victory over Air Force. “We’ve been swinging the bat much better the last two weeks against left-handers than we were earlier in the season. That’s a really good sign for us.”

Iowa will have its two regular starters on the mound Friday and Saturday, with sophomore C.J. Eldred taking the bump in game one and senior Tyler Peyton in game two.

Eldred will be facing his former team; the Mount Vernon native spent his first year at Indiana, but never threw a pitch for the Hoosiers because of a redshirt season in 2014.

Sophomore Nick Gallagher earned his second-consecutive Sunday start after a solid performance against Illinois April 10 in which he went five innings, allowing only one run on four hits and earning his fourth victory of the year.

The Hoosier hitters have been underwhelming this season, holding a .266 team batting average while averaging 5.6 runs per contest.

Indiana has three regulars hitting over .300 on the season, with Logan Sowers boasting a .328 average.

The Indiana pitching staff has been impressive this year, however, holding the second-best team ERA in the Big Ten Conference at 2.83 and an opponent batting average of .233.

The Hawkeyes and Hoosiers have seen plenty of each other the past two seasons. Iowa swept the regular season matchup in 2015, but Indiana got the best of Iowa in the Big Ten tournament, 10-2.

Another sweep of the Hoosiers would catapult the Hawkeyes past Indiana in the Big Ten standings, but a poor showing could drop them to the bottom half of the conference.

Seemingly every one of the Hawkeyes weekend series the past month has been pivotal in the Big Ten race, and things are no different beginning today.

Two hot teams meet in Bloomington in an attempt to make their way up the Big Ten standings.

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