Iowa baseball set for weekend tilt with Purdue

The Hawkeyes enter this weekend’s series in West Lafayette, Indiana, riding a three-game winning streak.


Megan Conroy

Trenton Wallace prepares to pitch during the game against Bradley on March 26, 2019 at Duane Banks Field. The Hawks took the victory, 4-2.

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

Last weekend, Iowa baseball dropped the first game of a four-contest set against Ohio State and Maryland. The Hawkeyes proceeded to finish the road tilt in Columbus, Ohio, with three-straight victories. Iowa went 1-1 against Ohio State and 2-0 versus Maryland on the weekend.

The late-series hot streak improved Iowa’s overall record to 7-8, which is significant given the Hawkeyes had lost three out of four prior to the second game of last weekend’s series.

Trenton Wallace, who was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week March 24 after hurling seven shutout innings against Nebraska March 19, struggled in Hawkeyes’ series-opener against the Buckeyes March 26.

Wallace tossed just three innings, giving up three runs.

After that loss, Wallace said he has his teammates met up to discuss the squad’s struggles — determining that no singular individual was solely responsible for the Hawkeyes’ woes.

“Just to be able to focus on the stuff we can control as a team, I think, has really put the mindset of instead of pressing too much to try to have fun and whatever the scoreboard says at the end of the day is what happens as long as we gave our best effort,” Wallace said.

Watching game two of the series from the dugout, Wallace said that Iowa’s bench had a lot of energy and that he and his teammates felt confident.

“The main focus is to continue what we started this past weekend,” Hawkeye head coach Rick Heller said. “And that is just play the game, play hard, worry about the name on the front of the jersey, and not really focus too much on the one on the back or the one on the opponent.”

RELATED: Iowa baseball team runs away from Maryland with eight-run sixth inning, wins its third game of the weekend

Wallace is the Hawkeyes’ probable pitcher for this Friday’s game against 3-11 Purdue, and Heller is confident that the Rock Island, Illinois, the native will bounce back after his poor previous outing — calling Wallace’s most recent showing “a blip on the radar.”

Even with last week’s bad performance, Wallace’s ERA is still 2.14 — good for third-best in the Big Ten.

“The goal for me this week is just to establish the strike zone early,” Wallace said. “And make hitters kind of have the idea that they’re going to have to put the ball in play to beat us and that we’re not going to beat ourselves this week.”

Drew Irvine is the probable starter for this Saturday’s game. This season, Irvine has posted a 5.29 ERA, giving up two earned runs in six innings of work in his most recent outing.

Sunday’s probable starter is Cam Baumann, and he has a 4.15 ERA. In his last start, he threw a career-best seven innings, surrendering one run and three hits.

While its pitching struggled, Iowa’s bats popped last weekend. Outfielder Ben Norman and first baseman Peyton Williams hit two home runs each. In the past 10 games, Norman has batted .395, amassing five home runs and 13 RBIs.

Friday’s game starts at 3 p.m., Saturday’s game is slated for 1 p.m., and the series finale Sunday is set for noon. All games will be streamed on BTN+.

Iowa’s next opportunity to play in front of its home crowd will come April 9-11 against Minnesota.