Iowa baseball: Trenton Wallace named Big Ten pitcher of the year, joins Ben Norman on all-conference first team
The dominance Trenton Wallace showed on Friday nights left countless Big Ten hitters befuddled and confused. Sunday, Iowa's weekend ace was properly recognized for his 2021 season.
Wallace was named Big Ten pitcher of the year, becoming the first Hawkeyes hurler to do so. An incredible fact considering the anchor arms that've come through Iowa recently, most notably Nick Gallagher, Nick Allgeyer and Cole McDonald. But Wallace has them all beat on this award.
Joining Wallace on the first-team all-Big Ten team was center fielder Ben Norman, who delivered his most productive year in one final Iowa act. Infielder Izaya Fullard earned third-team honors as well.
Wallace and Norman were two of Iowa's most seasoned pieces this season, and their experience showed. From the mound or atop the lineup, these two had huge roles in the Hawkeyes' mid-season surge.
Wallace went 7-1 with a 2.34 ERA and 106 strikeouts over 73 innings. Iowa ended the regular season with nine consecutive Friday victories, reliably showcasing its best product when the redshirt junior southpaw was on the hill. Wallace's strikeout total ranked second in school history behind Jim Magrane’s 110 punch outs in 1999.
"When Trenton goes out there and pounds the strike zone, he’s going to give you a chance," Iowa coach Rick Heller said earlier this month. "The guys know that. That’s the feeling all of us have."
Norman made the most of his return for a super senior season. Entering Sunday, the Des Moines native leads Iowa in batting average (.311), runs (35), home runs (10), RBIs (51), hits (51) and steals (12), while ranking second in doubles (14) and triples (3). Norman's RBI total leads the conference.
Norman hit safely in 33 games with 15 multi-hit and 15 multi-RBI contests. The only regular left from Iowa's 2017 NCAA Tournament team tied the school record for games played in Sunday's series finale at Michigan State (220). That game will also be Norman's 119th consecutive start.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.