Brody Brecht delivers solid Iowa baseball debut in Hawkeyes' 11-1 win over Ball State
Rick Heller and the Hawkeyes are still figuring out how to best use electric freshman pitcher Brody Brecht. More than anything, the answer to that question will be dictated by how Brecht turns hype into productive outings.
Saturday was a solid start.
Brecht tossed four hitless innings of relief in Iowa's 11-1 win over Ball State at the Swig & Swine Classic in Charleston, South Carolina. The two-way athlete showcased his dynamic fastball, battled a bit of control issues but ultimately exited his collegiate debut with plenty of that buzz still flowing.
Despite the lopsided score, Brecht actually entered the game in a somewhat high-leverage situation. Iowa (2-0) owned a modest 3-1 advantage when Brecht came in for starter Connor Schultz, who also delivered a solid Hawkeyes debut with nine strikeouts and just two hits surrendered over four innings.
Brecht walked two of the first three Cardinals he faced, but sandwiched a strikeout in between and eventually ended the fifth with another punch out to avoid any damage. Ball State (1-1) didn't touch Brecht in the sixth or the seventh. He faced the minimum over both frames with three total strikeouts.
Brecht ran into some mild trouble in the eighth, walking the leadoff man and moving him to second on a balk. But the prized Iowa arm punched out the next two and ended the frame by covering first on a grounder to first baseman Peyton Williams.
Brecht finished the day with seven strikeouts and three walks over the four innings. Overall, Ball State only had one hit after the first inning.
For the second straight day, Iowa's offense matched its dominant pitching with multiple big frames. The Hawkeyes plated three in the second, three in the fifth and four in the eighth. Right fielder Keaton Anthony was the lead contributor, blasting two homers and two doubles as part of a 4-for-4 day with four runs scored and five RBIs. Seven of the nine Hawkeyes in the starting lineup recorded hits.
All in all, another solid day for Heller's bunch. Iowa, with another big-time freshman on the mound in Iowa City West product Marcus Morgan, will go for the sweep at 9 a.m. Sunday against Bucknell.
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.