Iowa baseball sweeps Western Michigan, off to best start in program history

The Hawkeyes outscored the Broncos a combined 43-17 in the three-game series and moved to 19-3 on the season.


Matt Sindt

Iowa right-handed pitcher Brody Brecht throws the ball during a baseball game between Iowa and West Michigan at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City on Friday, March 24, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Broncos, 9-3.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa baseball team swept Western Michigan in a three-game series on Friday and Saturday at Duane Banks Field.

The possibility of snow on Sunday moved the Sunday affair up a day and set the table for a Saturday doubleheader.

Through the Hawkeyes’first 22 games, their 19-3 mark is the best in program history.

Friday night

Iowa defeated Western Michigan, 9-3, in game one of the series against the Broncos. 

Sophomore Brody Brecht gave the Hawkeyes 5 ⅔  innings on the rubber — striking out 10 batters and allowing one hit. 

“Brody Brecht gave us a great start,” Iowa head coach Rick Heller said in a release Friday. “He just continues to improve each time out.”

Junior Cade Moss started the Hawkeye bats off with an RBI double in the second inning that brought in junior Sam Hojar. 

In that same frame, after sophomore Ben Wilmes walked and junior Michael Seegers reached on a fielders-choice that advanced Moss to third, a pair of singles by junior Kyle Huckstorf and graduate student Brennen Dorighi gave Iowa an early three-run lead

“Loved our at-bats up and down the lineup, pretty much the entire game,” Heller said in a release. “ … I thought we had some great takes on fringe pitches, and got his pitch count up. On a day that wasn’t a great day to hit, we hit a lot of balls hard.”

Saturday game No. 1

Iowa cruised by  Western Michigan, 13-8, in game one of the doubleheader on Saturday. 

The Hawkeyes found themselves in a back-and-forth game that they led, 7-5, through the first four innings, but a four-run fifth broke Iowa away from the Broncos.

A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases for Iowa, and after Moss walked to bring in a run, Seegers smashed a bases-clearing double to extend the lead. 

Long Beach State transfer Zach Voelker gave the Hawkeyes a boost out of the bullpen after relieving senior Jared Simpson. The righty went 4 ⅓ innings against the Bronco lineup, giving up three runs and striking out two.

Junior Luke Llewellyn came in after Voelker and threw two scoreless innings, striking out three batters in the process.

Saturday game No. 2

Iowa completed the series sweep over Western Michigan in the second game of the doubleheader in a dominating 21-6 victory. 

In their highest-scoring game of the season, the Hawkeyes had six batters with multiple hits, including five from redshirt sophomore Raider Tello, who hit two doubles and tallied five RBIs.

“If we all play our best, I personally believe that 15 to 20 runs a game is not particularly out of the question,” Tello said. “If everyone is clicking and everyone is taking good at-bats, we can play like this over and over and over.”

Junior Ty Langenberg got the start for the Hawkeyes. In what was one of his better starts of the season, the hard-throwing right-hander went five innings while giving up two runs and striking out 10 batters. 

“Overall, it was really good,” Heller said of Langenberg’s outing. “A good three-pitch mix, now he has the slider figured out. It’s a good sign.”

Brecht focuses on baseball

On Friday evening, Brecht — also a wide receiver on the football team — announced he would focus full-time on baseball.

RELATED: Iowa two-sport athlete Brody Brecht chooses to pursue baseball full-time

Heller and the rest of the Iowa baseball team are in full support of the flame-throwing righty.

“Just supportive of Brody in whatever he wanted to do whether it was football or he didn’t play football,” Heller said. “You read what he said. He loves football. We knew that when we recruited him and we are supportive of that. I think the injuries in football prevented him from giving this a legitimate go.”

Brecht has been Iowa’s best-starting pitcher this season. The Ankeny, Iowa, native has posted a 2.20 ERA in six starts for the Hawkeyes–striking out 46 batters in 28 ⅔ innings. 

Up next

Iowa travels to Normal, Illinois, to compete in their first road midweek game of the season against the Illinois State Redbirds on Tuesday night at 5 p.m.