The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Three takeaways from Iowa baseball’s series loss to Ohio State

The losses dropped the Hawkeyes to 18-15 overall and 6-6 in Big Ten play.
Ethan McLaughlin/The Daily Iowan
Iowa pitcher, Brody Brecht winds up a pitch as Western Illinois baserunners lead off during a baseball game between Iowa and Western Illinois at Duane Banks Field on Friday, March 15, 2024. The Hawkeyes would win 11-1 in the eighth inning.

The Iowa baseball team dropped its second straight Big Ten weekend series, this time on the road against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The first two games were tightly contested affairs, with each team winning a game. The Buckeyes rolled to an 11-1 victory in the rubber match on Sunday to clinch the series.

Here are three takeaways from the series defeat:

Bats go cold 

Iowa entered the series second in the Big Ten in batting average but couldn’t get anything going against Ohio State.

The Hawkeyes put up five runs in game one, but the Buckeyes countered with eight of their own to win the contest. The tough loss seemed to halt the red-hot Iowa bats for the rest of the weekend.

Game two was an epic pitchers duel. Neither offense was productive, but Gable Mitchell and Andy Nelson came through in the clutch to guide the Hawkeyes to victory despite poor hitting from the rest of the squad.

The wheels fell off in the series finale. Iowa mustered only one run and five hits, with the lone run coming in the first inning. Ohio State seized control after that and won via run rule in eight innings.

The Hawkeyes certainly had some trouble at the plate this weekend, but that shouldn’t give head coach Rick Heller a reason to panic. A midweek contest against Bradley presents a golden opportunity for his squad to awaken the bats.

Disappointing start for Brecht 

Before the season, many national analysts were projecting third-year starting pitcher Brody Brecht as a first round pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. Along with a 3.74 ERA last season, he terrified opposing hitters with his 100 mph fastball.

But Brecht’s ERA has jumped to 4.62 this season.

He lasted only 3 1/3  innings against the Buckeyes, surrendering three hits and three runs. He also allowed four walks. Brecht’s main focus entering the season was his command, making this a disappointing setback. He also allowed five runs in his last outing against Michigan on April 6.

Iowa’s pitching staff has been doomed with inconsistencies all season long, and it desperately needs Brecht to regain his old form in a hurry, otherwise things might get ugly.

Danger zone 

The series loss drops Iowa to 18-15 overall and 6-6 in Big Ten play, far below its lofty preseason expectations.

While there is still a ton of baseball to be played, the Hawkeyes can’t afford to lose many more Big Ten sets. Unlike the basketball season where everyone makes the conference tournament, only the top eight teams qualify for baseball’s Big Ten Tournament.

As it stands right now, Iowa would qualify for Omaha, but the Hawkeyes only lead Maryland and Penn State by a single game in the standings as the season approaches its final month.

A pivotal series awaits next weekend, as Iowa returns home to the friendly confines of Duane Banks Field against 10th place Rutgers, who is desperate to salvage its season and climb up the leaderboard. A series win would loom large for the Hawkeye postseason hopes, but a series loss would place them dangerously close to the cut line.

Up next 

Iowa returns home to Duane Banks Field on Wednesday for a midweek matchup against the Bradley Braves, who are 10-22 on the season. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. CT.

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About the Contributor
Brad Schultz
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.