Set up round two. And let’s hope there won’t be round three.
The Iowa Hawkeyes (41-13, 15-8 Big Ten) can advance to the championship game of the 2023 Big Ten Baseball Tournament with another victory over the Michigan Wolverines (28-27, 11-13 Big Ten) from 9 a.m. CT.
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If another game is needed, it will be played at 5:00 PM CT to determine who will advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game from the Hawkeyes and Wolverines portion of the group.
Iowa opened its tournament stay of Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb., with a 13-3 run-rule victory over Michigan. Brayden Frazier and Sam Petersen of the Hawkeyes provided the offensive highlights in that game.
Frazier knocked Iowa’s ninth grand slam of the season and first of his career past the left field fence. It was the first grand slam in Charles Schwab Field’s Big Ten Tournament history and the first in tournament play dating back to 2017.
Jack Whitlock took the win for Iowa, pitching two innings with one-run relief to pick up his seventh win of the season. He got into a high pressure situation and performed well. Whitlock managed to get out of a basesloaded disturbance by striking out the side in the fifth inning, leading to Frazier and Petersen’s heroics.
Then against Indiana, Iowa came back late. The Hawkeyes scored four runs in the seventh to erase a three-run deficit, then four more in the ninth. It earned a 9-4 victory over the Hoosiers and a chance to return to the finals of the Big Ten Tournament for the fifth time in the program’s history.
Meanwhile, after dropping the opener against Iowa, Michigan has re-established itself in the group. The Wolverines used a five-run third inning to propel themselves past Illinois 6-3 in their first elimination game. Then Michigan dispatched Indiana, 13-6.
The Wolverines scored three runs in the third, three more in the fourth, three in the sixth and three in the eighth to go along with a lone run in the fifth to accelerate the runaway victory.
It makes for an exciting rematch this morning. This is where Hawkeye fans can tune in to the game. Plus plenty of game notes to get you ready for a Hawkeye baseball morning against the Wolverines.
Hawkeye Radio Network: John Leo, John Evans
Could Iowa and head coach Rick Heller be on the 2017 path? It was in the 2017 season when the Hawkeyes clinched their first Big Ten Tournament title after winning four games in four days. Iowa defeated Northwestern in the championship game 13-4. That league crown was the first for the program since capturing the regular season title in 1990.
- This is the fifth time in the program’s history that Iowa has reached the 40-win mark. The 41 wins are the most tied in Rick Heller’s tenure at Iowa and are the second most wins in program history.
- Iowa has won 17 of the last 21.
- Iowa beat its opponents 461-237, averaging 8.53 runs per game. The Hawkeyes have averaged nine runs in their last 10 games.
- The pitching staff has a 4.11 ERA good for first in the Big Ten and 12th in the nation, Iowa’s defense leads the conference and ranks 14th in the nation with a .980 fielding percentage, and the Hawkeyes have a batting average of .301. If the season ended today, Iowa’s batting average would be the highest since 2008 (.316).
- The Hawkeyes have won nine grand slams this year.
- Iowa is 4-7 against Michigan all-time in the Big Ten Tournament.
- Iowa makes its eighth consecutive Big Ten Tournament appearance and 16th in program history.
- The Hawkeyes are 22-28 all-time in tournament history, including winning their first-ever Big Ten Tournament title in 2017. Iowa has competed in championship games four times (1983, 2010, 2016, 2017).
- Iowa has won at least one game in seven of the last eight Big Ten tournaments and is 13-8 over the past six tournaments.
- Head coach Rick Heller is 15-12 in the conference tournament.
Iowa has met Michigan just once this season, winning in run-rule fashion to open this 2023 Big Ten Baseball Tournament 13-3. Brayden Frazier and Sam Petersen were the offensive catalysts. Frazier lifted a grand slam to left field, and then Petersen decided he would send a three-run shot that way as well.
The leg for the Hawkeyes’ sprint through the Big Ten Tournament so far might not have turned out this way were it not for Jack Whitlock’s big moment in the top of the fifth against Michigan. After coming in with two Wolverines aboard, Whitlock walked the first batter he faced. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Georgia sophomore swung to the side afterward.
Trailing three runs late, Iowa mustered some magic in the late game to send second-seeded Indiana into the losers bracket. Kyle Huckstorf was the hero for the Hawkeyes, clearing the bases with a three RBI double to left field that turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 Hawkeyes lead and put Iowa ahead to stay. For the record, Iowa went ahead and scored four more runs in the ninth with another three-run Petersen bop.
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