Baseball Weekend Preview: Iowa
The Nebraska baseball team (17-23, 5-7 Big Ten) is returning to Big Ten play against Iowa (24-13, 8-4 Big Ten) this weekend after a couple of non-conference midweek games against K-State and Omaha. The Huskers won both of those games on Tuesday and Wednesday, beating the Wildcats of KSU 8-6 and the Mavericks of UNO 14-3. Wednesday's game forced a run-rule on Omaha, ending the game after NU led by 11 runs after just seven innings.
Prior to the midweek, the Big Red were in Bloomington, Indiana for a three-game series against the Hoosiers where Nebraska lost two of the three. IU won the first two games 8-7 and 8-1 respectively, but the Huskers bounced back on Sunday beating the Hoosiers 18-7. Although NU scored more runs than Indiana over the weekend, IU took the series 2-1.
For the Hawkeyes, they are coming off a midweek game on Tuesday where they took down Western Illinois 11-1, also winning by a 10-run rule after seven innings. Before that game, Iowa was tasked with facing the eighth-ranked Scarlet Knights from Rutgers, and they were up to that task. The Hawkeyes won the first two games of the series 4-1 and 12-2 respectively, before falling on Sunday 10-4. The Sunday loss was the most runs they had given up since March 26, when Central Michigan beat Iowa 10-1.
Friday, 3:35 p.m.: RHP Shay Schanaman (2-6, 4.34 ERA) vs. RHP Adam Mazur (4-2, 2.76 ERA)
Saturday, 2:02 p.m.: LHP Emmett Olson (1-3, 2.45 ERA) vs. RHP Connor Shultz (2-0, 1.97 ERA)
Sunday, 12:05 p.m.: TBD vs. RHP Ty Langenberg (4-1, 3.89 ERA)
What to watch for
The offense is heating up
The Big Red have scored 41 runs in just the last three games. In those games, Nebraska has won all three, with a scoring differential of +25. This Husker team has picked up three straight wins for the first time since the beginning of the month when NU swept Ohio State.
In those past three games, sophomore infielder Max Anderson has gone 8-15, driving in six runs. Sophomore Brice Matthews has also swung a hot bat, going 5-10, with two home runs.
Chick to get on base
Since moving to the top of the order, Cam Chick has been an on-base machine. Since the move, he is averaging a .548 on-base percentage, and has hit .329 from the batter's box. The senior has five doubles, two triples and five home runs since the change, and Nebraska is finding more success as a team.
NU has turned double plays 29 times this season, putting them at third in the Big Ten through 38 games this season. The Big Red defense has turned at least 40 double plays in every season since 2012, including 2016 and 2017 where Nebraska turned 60 double plays in back-to-back seasons.
Know your opponent
***Iowa sits in fourth in the Big Ten standings at 8-4 in conference play. The leaders, Rutgers, are 12-3 in Big Ten play.
***The Hawkeye pitching staff is sitting at a combined 3.49 ERA, allowing 157 runs and 129 of those earned in 37 games.
***Iowa is hitting .277 as a team, with 30 home runs through those 37 games.
***Peyton Williams, the Hawkeye first baseman, is averaging .374 from the plate, driving in 31 runs.