Wallace leads Iowa baseball to 6-1 victory over Northwestern

The Rock Island, Illinois, native notched eight strikeouts in six shutout innings on the mound.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa starting pitcher Trenton Wallace throws a pitch in the rain during a baseball game between Iowa and Illinois on Friday, May 14, 2021 at Duane Banks Field. The senior made his final start at Duane Banks Field, pitching six innings and allowing one run to cross the plate. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 4-2.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

EVANSTON, Ill. — Throughout the 2021 season, pitcher Trenton Wallace has served as Iowa baseball’s ace.

On Friday afternoon, Wallace pitched the first leg of a three-game series against Northwestern. In six innings of work in Iowa’s 6-1 win over the Wildcats in Evanston, Wallace gave up three hits, notched eight strikeouts, surrendered no runs, and picked up his sixth individual victory on the mound.

Wallace has struck out 97 batters this season. The University of Iowa record for strikeouts in a season is currently held by Jim Magrane, who threw 110 strikeouts in 1999.

Prior to Friday’s contest, Northwestern was hitting .267 as a team — good for fifth in the Big Ten Conference.

“I think we just attacked them early, and I think that made the difference right away,” Wallace said postgame. “I mean you got to pressure hitters to put the ball in play at times, and I think that was the biggest thing for our defense behind me as well as they made great plays.”

Hawkeye head coach Rick Heller said Wallace’s shutout performance was particularly impressive considering the windy conditions the Hawkeyes faced at Rocky and Bernice Miller Park Friday afternoon.

“He took control,” Heller said. “He was in control of himself, and he controlled the strike zone and controlled the count, and that’s what you’ve got to do, stay down on his own.”

Wallace was pulled from Friday’s contest after he walked the first batter he faced in the seventh inning. The Rock Island, Illinois, native was replaced by senior Trace Hoffman, who lost Iowa’s shutout bid in the eighth inning after he surrendered a home run.

On Friday, much of Iowa’s offense came from senior catcher Austin Martin. The Altoona, Iowa, native hit a two-run home run to left field on an 0-2 count in the top of the fifth inning.

“[I] Just kind of sticked to my two-strike approach and I got the pitch that I’m able to handle there, and that’s basically it,” Martin said. “Put the ball in the air and it went.”

In the seventh frame, Hawkeye first baseman Izaya Fullard hit a solo home run to left center field to give Iowa a 4-0 advantage.

Eighth-inning RBIs from center fielder Ben Norman and designated hitter Peyton Williams rounded out Iowa’s day on offense.

Before their six-run burst Friday, the Hawkeyes hadn’t scored six runs or more in a single game since May 2. In its last two games against Illinois, Iowa scored just two combined runs.

“I thought we had good at-bats most of the time and did enough,” Heller said. “We just stayed on them.”

The now-23-16 Hawkeyes are trying to work their way into an NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament berth.

The NCAA Tournament field is made up of 64 teams, and at times during the 2021 season, Iowa has been projected to be in that field by the likes of Baseball America.

The Hawkeyes’ current NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) ranking is 75.

Iowa will return to Rocky and Bernice Miller Park Saturday at 1 p.m. for its second matchup with Northwestern. Action between the Hawkeyes and Wildcats will stream live on BTN+.

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