Opinion | The 2022-23 Iowa baseball season shouldn’t be forgotten

The Hawkeyes finished the season with a loss in the Terre Haute Regional final, but the season was still historical.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa head coach Rick Heller talks to shortstop Michael Seegers during a baseball game between Iowa and Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Duane Banks Field on Wednesday, April 12, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Panthers, 12-1.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The 2022-23 Iowa baseball season officially ended following a loss in the Terre Haute Regional final on June 4.

While it wasn’t the ending head coach Rick Heller wanted to see for his team, this year’s success can’t be forgotten. 

The Hawkeyes tied the 1981 squad’s single-season win record at 44-16. The Iowa pitching staff set the single-season record with 630 strikeouts, while Hawkeye hitters broke the single-season record with 326 walks and 105 hit-by-pitches.

Much of the success on the mound came from the Hawkeyes’ weekend rotation. Junior Ty Langenberg and sophomores Marcus Morgan and Brody Brecht had a combined 3.87 ERA  over 220 innings. 

First-year pitching coach Sean McGrath also led Iowa to the lowest team ERA in the Big Ten at 4.19. 

“We fought until the end,” Heller said in a release. “That really shows the character of this team.”

The Hawkeyes started the season at a historical pace. 

Iowa went 19-3 in non-conference games, which was the best start in program history. In that stretch, the Hawkeyes racked up wins against future 2023 NCAA Tournament teams in Indiana State, Sam Houston State, LSU, and Texas Tech. 

In Big Ten conference play, Iowa did not get off to as hot of a start and dropped its first two series against Maryland and Indiana. But following the series loss to the Hoosiers, the Hawkeyes rattled off five consecutive series wins, including sweeps over Michigan State and Nebraska. 

After going 39-13 in the regular season and 15-8 in conference play, Iowa earned a three-seed in the Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, at Charles Schwab Field.

The Hawkeyes defeated Michigan and Indiana to advance to their fifth Big Ten Tournament championship game in program history and the third under Heller’s watch. 

Iowa dropped the title game to the regular season conference champion Maryland Terrapins, 4-0, but had proven enough to earn a regional bid. 

The Hawkeyes earned the No. 2 seed in the Terre Haute Regional, which included No. 1 seed and host Indiana State, No. 3 seed North Carolina, and No. 4 seed Wright State.

This was the Hawkeyes’ first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2017, the sixth in program history, and the third under Heller. 

Iowa took down North Carolina in the first round of the regional, 5-4, and moved on to face a familiar opponent in Indiana State. 

The Hawkeyes held a 4-2 advantage over the Sycamores but fell, 7-4, after a five-run burst from Indiana State in the bottom of the eighth inning. 

Going into the final day of the double-elimination tournament, the Hawkeyes needed to win three games to move onto the super regional.

Iowa beat North Carolina, 6-5, in a win-or-go-home contest in 13 innings to advance to its second regional final appearance in program history and then fell to Indiana State, 11-8, to end the season. 

Despite the disappointing finish, the Hawkeyes will return most of their lineup next season, and I expect them to make a similar, if not better, run in the postseason.

“We have a ton of guys back off of this team,” Heller said in a release. “We have a chance to be pretty special next year.”