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Spartan Baseball Series Preview: Iowa

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Michigan State is back and ready to battle the Hawkeyes

Michigan State baseball returns to action later on today at McLane Stadium where they will be hosting Iowa in a three game series.

The Spartans took a break from their mid week game due to final exams. Can you say school’s out for summer! Thank goodness! I personally didn’t think I would last another second in class.

Back to business, Michigan State is slated to begin at 3:05 p.m. If you happen to be in the area swing by the see your Spartans — there aren’t very many games left in the season.


The Basics

The Numbers

  • Record: 27-16 (9-6 B1G, 5-10 Away)
  • Best Win: vs South Florida (RPI: 30), W 4-2
  • Worst Loss: vs Western Illinois (RPI: 267), L 5-7

Last Five Games

  • 5/2 — Western Illinois, L 5-7
  • 4/29 — Penn State, W 9-1
  • 4/28 — Penn State, W 8-2
  • 4/28 — Penn State, W 4-2
  • 4/25 — Milwaukee, W 4-3

The Hawkeyes have slid in the past month — during their last ten games they have earned a 5-5 record while remaining a top five team in the conference. Iowa is tied for third in the B1G along with Michigan, Minnesota, and Purdue.

Their worst loss is supposedly Western Illinois solely based on RPI alone. I would argue differently. The Hawkeyes are 5-10 when playing on the road — four of those losses were given to them by Northwestern and Rutgers. Both squads are at the bottom of the conference with a combined record of 34-51.

This bodes well for the Spartans who are still below .500 in the conference (7-8) and desperately trying to crawl their way back up in the standings.

Hawkeyes To Know

Junior Hawkeye Nick Gallagher was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week earlier this week. The honor is the first of his career.

The Iowa native put on a clinic in the series opener against Penn State. He allowed three hits, and two runs over eight innings of work. Gallagher’s pitching led his team to a 4-2 victory. Nick also finished the game with 10 strikeouts, eight of them coming in the first three innings.

The win was Nick’s second straight and sixth in 2017. Bringing his record to 6-1, with a 2.42 ERA along with 57 strikeouts in just 63.3 IP.

Other Hawkeye pitchers look like this in 2017:

Iowa is fifth in the conference for team batting average (.284) and sixth in the B1G for team ERA (4.14).

Their other top offense accolades include slugging pct (2nd), on-base pct (4th), runs scored (4th), hits (3rd), RBI (3rd), doubles (2nd), and home runs (4th).

The Hawkeye’s are off the charts offensively during the 2017 season and do not seem to be slowing down any time soon.

Let’s take a closer look at their offense from an individual standpoint:

How The Spartans Match Up

Michigan State leads the all-time series against Iowa, 79-63-1, including a 54-21 record in East Lansing. Which is actually perfect considering the Hawkeyes are less than stellar when on the road this year — only attributing five wins to their 27 total.

Ultimately, it doesn’t get any easier for the Spartans from here on out. Even if Iowa struggles on the road MSU still has their work cut out for them.

As I’ve said in the past this team has become average quickly — at this point average might even be stretching the truth a bit. It’s no secret the Spartans haven’t played well against top competition across the board and Iowa is a top five B1G team easy.

Prediction

I am sticking with my gut on this one. If Iowa didn’t struggle so badly on the road I’d pick them in a heart beat. But because of Michigan State’s recent confidence and the momentum MSU has swung it’s way I am picking the Spartans to win this series.

MSU wins series 2-1