The Iowa Hawkeyes (42-13, 15-8 Big Ten) are one win away from capturing the program’s second all-time Big Ten Baseball Tournament crown.
In order to do so, Iowa will have to topple No. 1 seed Maryland. The Terrapins (40-19, 17-7 Big Ten) arrive in the championship game after an opening win over Michigan State and then back-to-back triumphs over Nebraska.
The Terps took care of Sparty, 3-2. Then, Maryland walked off the Huskers 2-1 in extra innings courtesy of a homer from Nick Lorusso to head into the Big Ten’s semifinals. As fate would have it, they met Nebraska once more.
Behind a fantastic start from Jason Savacool, the top-seeded Terps barreled into the title game. Savacool threw six shutout innings and a three-run second inning propelled Maryland to an eventual 4-2 win.
Iowa moved within one win of the title game after staging an epic rally against Indiana, winning 9-4 when it was all said and done. The Hawkeyes came alive to erase a three-run deficit with four runs in the seventh and four more in the ninth inning to send the Hoosiers to the loser’s bracket.
The final piece to the championship round was a Ty Langenberg gem in the second tournament game for the Hawkeyes against Michigan. The righty tossed seven shutout innings en route to Iowa’s 5-0 blanking of the Wolverines.
Now, the stage is set for Iowa to join the 2017 squad as the second Hawkeye baseball outfit to win the Big Ten Tournament championship. It’s a massive day for Iowa baseball. Here’s how and where fans can dial into all of the action.
Plus, several key game notes for both.
Hawkeye Radio Network: John Leo, John Evans
All-time meeting: This will be the 19th all-time meeting
All-time series mark: Iowa leads, 10-8
If history is any indication, the Hawkeyes have it on their side. The two teams have met twice in their Big Ten Tournament histories. Iowa owns a perfect 2-0 mark, beating Maryland 11-0 in Omaha in 2016 and 9-8 in 2017 in Bloomington, Ind.
Though Iowa leads the all-time series, it was Maryland that took two out of three games and the 2023 series earlier this season. The Terps handed Iowa losses in each of its first two Big Ten contests this season, beating Iowa on consecutive nights.
Maryland opened that series with a 10-9 Friday win before a 7-4 Saturday victory. Iowa did salvage the final game in the series by a 12-8 count. That means the Hawkeyes are looking to even the season series in the Big Ten Tournament’s championship game.
In the season series, Cade Moss was 5-for-11 (.455) with a pair of doubles and an RBI and Brennen Dorighi was 4-for-11 (.364) with an RBI. Look for these two on Sunday.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) May 27, 2023
Maryland wasn’t one of the league’s best teams in terms of ERA throughout the season. Meanwhile, the Terps boasted the best batting average during the regular season.
All of a sudden, left is right and up is down. Maryland has been terrific on the bump during this tournament, so what gives on Sunday against an Iowa team that ranks second in Big Ten batting average in its own right?
Iowa has been sensational all season long on the mound and the Hawkeyes led the Big Ten with an ERA of 4.11 entering Saturday against Michigan. Langenberg gave Iowa the quality start it was looking for and then some against the Wolverines.
Now, whoever gets the ball for Iowa in the title bout will have their hands full against Maryland and the Big Ten’s best offense. On the season, Maryland has plated 551 runs and has hit 121 home runs.
While the Hawkeyes don’t hit the long ball with anywhere near the same proficiency as Maryland, that doesn’t mean Iowa can’t plate runs in a hurry. The Hawkeyes do it in a different way, but they rank second in the Big Ten in runs scored, plating 466 on the season thus far.
Iowa enters the B1G championship game with 125 doubles and 15 triples on the season. Iowa has hit 66 homers, which ranks fifth in the conference.
- The Hawkeyes are 42-13 and 15-8 in Big Ten play. This is the fifth time in program history that Iowa has reached the 40 win mark. 42 wins is the most in Rick Heller’s tenure at Iowa and second most in program history.
- Iowa has won 19 of its last 23.
- Iowa has outscored its opponents 466-237, they are averaging 8.47 runs per game.
- The pitching staff has a 4.11 ERA good for first in the Big Ten and 12th in the country, the Iowa defense leads the conference and ranks 14th in the nation with a .980 fielding percentage, and the Hawkeyes have a .301 batting average. If the season ended today, Iowa’s batting average would be its highest since 2008 (.316).
- Iowa is making its eighth straight Big Ten Tournament appearance and the 16th in program history.
- The Hawkeyes are 23-28 all-time in tournament history, including winning its first ever Big Ten Tournament title in 2017. Iowa has made championship game appearances five times (1983, 2010, 2016, 2017, 2023).
- Iowa has won at least one game in seven of the last eight Big Ten Tournaments and is 14-8 over the past six tournaments.
- Head coach Rick Heller is 16-12 in the conference tournament.
Follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshOnREF