Michigan ends Iowa baseball’s five-game run at Big Ten Tournament

The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes, 13-1, in seven innings on Sunday.


Megan Conroy

Coach Rick Heller takes the field during the game against Bradley on March 26, 2019 at Duane Banks Field. The Hawks took the victory, 4-2.

Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

The Iowa baseball team was eliminated from the 2022 Big Ten Tournament on Sunday. The Hawkeyes fell to the Michigan Wolverines, 13-1, in seven innings.

Sunday’s loss ended Iowa’s five-game run in the double-elimination tourney. 

“Today was disappointing, it didn’t go as planned,” Iowa head coach Rick Heller said via release. “Anytime you’re in a situation like this, if you’re going to have a chance, you have to eliminate the free bases. It was a free base fest from the start, and it didn’t work out.  Unfortunately, if it had worked out, it was a great day to pitch with the wind howling in and it was a tough day to hit.  When we did throw strikes, we had success.”

On Thursday, Iowa lost its first game at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska, to Penn State, 5-2. 

The Hawkeyes then rattled off three consecutive victories against the Purdue Boilermakers, the Nittany Lions, and the Michigan Wolverines on Friday and Saturday.

Because the Big Ten Tournament features a double-elimination bracket, Iowa needed to pick up two semifinal victories against Michigan to advance to the league championship game. So, the Hawkeyes’ 7-3 win over the Wolverines on Friday wasn’t good enough to punch a ticket to the Big Ten Tournament’s finale.

Iowa’s bullpen was depleted ahead of its deciding bout against Michigan Sunday. True freshman Brody Brecht made his first college start versus the Wolverines.

Brecht threw just 17 pitches before Heller pulled him out of the game. The right-hander from Ankeny, Iowa, faced four batters and gave up one hit and two walks.

Counting Brecht, seven hurlers took the mound for Iowa on Sunday. The Hawkeyes’ bullpen surrendered eight hits and 13 runs against the Wolverines.

Michigan scored nine of its 13 runs in the seventh frame.

A sticky situation

Michigan pitcher Willie Weiss was ejected from Sunday’s semifinal game. 

Umpires stopped the game during the top of the fifth inning to investigate Weiss’ glove. Officials found a foreign substance during their search of Weiss.

Big Ten Conference staff subsequently confiscated Weiss’ glove. Umpires threw him out of the game soon after. The Big Ten handed Weiss a four-game suspension Sunday afternoon.

Weiss tossed just five pitches before his ejection, forcing junior Cameron Weston to the mound with no prior warmup. In the final three innings of Sunday’s contest, Weston surrendered just two hits and one walk.

Big picture

Before the Big Ten Tournament began, Iowa was not projected to make the 2022 NCAA Championships. Baseball America listed the Hawkeyes in the “Next Four Out” section of its 64-team NCAA Tournament model on May 26.

Iowa is currently ranked No. 55 in the Rating Percentage Index (RPI).

Up next

The Hawkeyes will learn their postseason fate on Monday at 11 a.m., when the NCAA hosts its annual College World Series selection show.

Should Iowa qualify for an NCAA Regional, it would likely play its next game on June 3.

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