Iowa arrived in Omaha this week with an opportunity to play itself into the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes squandered it.
Ohio State shut down them down, 2-0, Thursday morning at TD Ameritrade Park. They became the first team eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament. Furthermore, losing to the Buckeyes and Michigan a day earlier more than likely ended their season.
Iowa (33-20) entered Thursday’s action 67th in the RPI. That put it seventh among league teams.
The Hawkeyes bats went silent in Omaha. They managed just 5 hits in 59 plate appearances and one run in 19 innings. Perhaps they were pressing knowing they needed at least a few wins to get into the NCAA Tournament.
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After Nick Allgeyer threw seven strong innings in Wednesday’s 2-1, 10-inning loss to Michigan, Cole McDonald gave Iowa a chance in his start against the Buckeyes. The junior right-hander yielded just one earned run in 4 1/3 innings, striking out four. Nick Nelsen, Grant Judkins and Grant Leonard shut out Ohio State over the final 4 2/3.
The Iowa offense couldn’t support another solid showing on the mound, however. It left seven players on base, went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and 0-15 with guys on base. It finished with four hits in 29 at-bats.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes (35-21) banged out 10 hits against the defending Big Ten Tournament champions. Despite being just 4 of 17 runners on base and 2 for 7 with them in scoring position, they did enough.
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Chris Whelan, Tyler Cropley, Austin Guzzo and Mitchell Boe each recorded a hit for Iowa. First-team all-conference performer Robert Neustrom experienced a tough tournament, going hitless with a walk in seven plate appearances.