Date: 12th - 14th
Time: March 12th (Fri.) @ 3:00 p.m, March 13th (Sat.) @ 9:00 a.m, March 14th (Sun) @ 10:00 a.m & 2:00 p.m.
Location: US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Record(s): Ohio State - (3-1) Iowa - (1-3)
Head Coach(s): Greg Beals & Rick Heller
Radio: Husker Sports Network
The Huskers are back this weekend after going 3-1 in their first week in Round Rock last weekend against Purdue. After dropping game 1 on a walk off, the Huskers flipped a switch and scored 26 runs in 36 innings, good enough for a conference leading .322 OBP. Freshman Max Anderson burst onto the scene with a homer, a double, five RBI’s, and two walks in his first appearance and the Huskers hope he can continue his success moving forward. He goes into this series hitting .533. Captain Joe Acker collected four RBI’s with a double and a homer as well. The pitching was the story though however, keeping them in the games and getting big outs when they needed, capped off with Shay Shanaman’s six inning one hit gem. This week they head to Minneapolis to face some tougher competition in Ohio State and Iowa for two games a piece at US Bank Stadium.
March 12: vs. Ohio State 3pm cst
March 14: vs. Ohio State 10am cst
The Buckeyes join the Huskers atop the Big Ten standings after also going 3-1 in their first weekend against a very good Illinois team. Essentially, this team is an exact opposite of the Cornhuskers as the Buckeyes offer what is arguably the deepest and most talented pitching staff in all of the Big Ten.
From a talent stand point, guys like Seth Lonsway and Garrett Burnhan definitely have the live arms you look for in starting pitchers. Lonsway lead the nation in strikeouts per nine last year by retiring 42 hitters in as little as 18 innings. Burnhenn has four legit pitches he can go to at any count to keep hitters off balanced. Starting pitching however struggled mightily during their opening weekend, with a 9.39 ERA. The bullpen luckily saved them and only gave up four runs all weekend, three of which came from the same guy. Their main weapon of choice will be junior TJ Brock, who’s big fastball sits around 98 mph.
Offensively the Buckeyes have a little more of a question mark from last year, however it didn’t seem to be much of an issue for them against Illinois. Similar to Nebraska, their big stars mashed all weekend as well as a nice college debut from one of their freshman. Freshman outfielder Kade Kurner hit a .471 clip on the weekend with five RBI’s and 12 total bases. Team captain first baseman Connor Pohl mashed as well, collecting ten total bases with three RBI’s and a monster homer.
If Ohio State is able to figure out their starting pitching and pairs it up with their lights out bullpen they will have a very reliable pitching staff to serve against Iowa and the Huskers. If the offense continues as well to perform on the higher end of the spectrum and rides that along the pitching staff’s momentum they could be a tough team to beat.
March 13: vs. Ohio State 91m cst
March 14: vs. Ohio State 2pm cst
The Hawkeyes no doubt are disappointed in their opening weekend performance as they struggled on both sides of the ball. The talent is there, Iowa has one of their deepest lineups they’ve ever had, so what went wrong? Iowa hit a measly .197 on the weekend and pitched to a 6.09 ERA. On paper, this should be a team people don’t want to play against, and it is highly likely this weekend is very different.
The pitching is lead by guys like Ace Trenton Wallace and Grant Leonard out of the bullpen. Wallace peaks in the low 90’s but will go at you with any of his legit four pitches. Wallace also plays the outfield for the Hawks and will be one of their more reliable middle of the order hitters so expect to see Wallace all over the field this weekend. On paper this staff should perform better than the 6.09 ERA the week prior. It is tough to find any bright spots pitching wise the last week so expect this to change.
Offensively the Hawkeyes are lead by center fielder Ben Norman, Catcher Austin Martin, and third baseman Matthew Sosa. Sosa hit pretty well last week compared to his teammates, going 6 for 12 with three doubles and five RBI’s. Martin is one of the best catchers in college baseball, and he showed that by hitting .357 last week.
If some of the pitching begins to fall into place and some of the hitters have bounce back weekends, the Iowa Hawkeyes should be in pretty good shape moving forward. Expect to see some better baseball played by the Hawkeyes this weekend as these three teams face off.