Iowa baseball pitcher Marcus Morgan’s confidence peaking at the right time

The Iowa City native has become more comfortable on the mound after he received an opportunity as a starter this season.


Madyson Gomez

Iowa pitcher Marcus Morgan throws a pitch to home during a baseball game at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City on Saturday April 22, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Corn Huskers, 8-0.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa baseball starting pitching staff had multiple holes entering the 2023 season.

Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Adam Mazur and Saturday starter Dylan Nedved both left for the MLB Draft, leaving junior Ty Langenberg as the only experienced starting pitcher on the staff, so head coach Rick Heller was looking for new arms.

And sophomore Marcus Morgan was someone that Heller targeted to replace his depleted weekend rotation.

“Well, we were hoping so,” Heller said. “That was the plan: to get Marcus to a point where he could go out there and start for us.”

Morgan joined the Hawkeye baseball team for his freshman season in 2022. He struggled to find his footing in his first year with the Hawkeyes, only pitching 15 ⅓ innings and posting a 7.38 ERA.

But with the new opportunity in a starting role, Morgan has drastically improved as he has gotten more innings on the mound — building his confidence and comfort in the process.

“I am comfortable starting,” Morgan said. “I’ve always been a starter. It is something I have a great routine with and something that has been working for me for the most part this year. Just going out and trying to give a solid start week in and week out.”

Morgan now holds the Saturday starting position for the Hawkeyes, posting a 5.26 ERA and striking out 44 batters in 39 ⅓  innings pitched.

“Just getting out on the mound more on a consistent basis,” Morgan said on his growth from last year to now. “I think the big turning point was this fall. Just being able to work and shape different pitches. Just getting really comfortable with my arsenal.”

In two recent starts, Morgan has given the Hawkeyes some of the best outings in his career, posting a 3.16 ERA and tossing five and six-inning shutout performances against Indiana and Nebraska on April 8 and April 22, respectively.

“I’ve just been really comfortable with all of my pitches the last four weeks,” Morgan said. “It has been good, and I just want to try to be as consistent as possible. Sticking to my process. Sticking to my routine.”

Morgan did struggle in his last start against Penn State on April 29, throwing just 1 ⅓ innings with four earned runs and five walks.

But Heller said Morgan’s confidence and work ethic helped him push through the tough start and has been a key factor in his success as a starter for the Hawkeyes.

“Going out there with that confidence that he can pound the strike zone, and if he does, he’s going to get anybody out,” Heller said. “Marcus has as good of stuff as anybody out there. He’s worked hard. I really believe that the work he put in at the weight room and getting stronger has a big reason for [his success].”

With only 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Hawkeyes will be leaning on their starting pitching — including Langenberg, Morgan, and Friday starter Brody Brecht — to carry them through to the postseason.

“I really just want to continue to throw well going into this last stretch of the year,” Morgan said. “This is when you want to be throwing well. Hopefully I can keep building and throw my best when it matters.”