Ohio State Eliminates Punchless Hawkeyes from Big Ten Tournament

May 24, 2018

Written by Rob Howe

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.

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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.

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