After a win on Friday, the Hawkeys dropped back-to-back competitions to Fighting Illini on Saturday and Sunday.
After a 14-1 loss to Illinois on Saturday, Iowa returned baseball to Duane Banks Field in Iowa City for its league final against Fighting Illini Sunday.
The Hawkeyes claimed the first game of the series, 5-4, Friday night, so Sunday’s game ultimately determined the winner of the tilt.
For the second straight game, Iowa’s bats were cold against Fighting Illini. The Hawkeyes recorded just five hits and two runs in the 6-2 loss Sunday.
On Saturday, the Hawkeyes played just three hits and one race.
“Ideally, if you do it for as long as I have, you want two or three boys to be hot all the time, instead of having seven or eight or nine on, because when it gets cold, it’s usually not very good, “said Hawkeye head coach. Rick Heller said Sunday.
The Hawkeyes’ offense has stopped at an inappropriate time for Heller, as his squad is putting pressure on the mail season.
Iowa participated in this weekend’s series against Illinois ranked No. 55 in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). After their 2-1 series loss to the under-.500 Fighting Illini, the Hawkeyes fell to No. 75 in the RPI.
The NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament field consists of 64 teams. Prior to the recent mistakes against Fighting Illini, the Hawkeyes were estimated to make the tournament via a big bid from Baseball America.
“I think you always worry a little,” Heller said. “This is what our staff has been trying to do in recent days, and does not focus on anything other than what we normally talk about. Internally, [the players] know what’s going on. They read. No matter how old you are, it is a challenge with the mental game not to let yourself start pressing. I think it’s human nature. ”
“I felt a little pressured in the sixth, seventh round [Sunday] because it did not happen, “said Heller. “That was the main theme of the game. Baseball, and especially hitting, is the worst thing you can do to try harder. We just need to see the ball, hit the ball at this point. We’ll be back to some good things this week, and hopefully we’ll get out of it. ”
As Iowa prepares for the final two series of the season – both of which are on the way – against Northwestern and Michigan State, Heller has no plans to change the team’s routine to get the Hawkeyes up and running.
“We just want to do our normal routine,” Heller said. “There are some things we can do for each other to try to work on some things after we have had the chance to see all the bats and all the cassette … [Illinois] just hit us, and we got cold for the first time in about six, seven weeks. The guys who had carried us did not have a great weekend. ”
With the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament Selection Show just over two weeks away, the Hawkeyes will try to put this weekend’s series against Illinois behind them and focus on the remaining six games.
“I think we regroup and keep practicing every day and come back and look forward to getting better this week,” said Hawkeye junior Trenton Wallace. “I mean, we definitely have some things we can clean up in the next two weeks and just take care of the business on the weekends and change nothing. We just have to keep competing the way we can.”