Brody Brecht, Iowa baseball knock off No. 1 LSU in blowout fashion
Given how small Iowa baseball’s margin for error has been recently when trying to make the NCAA Tournament, the Hawkeyes had a chance Saturday to add serious substance to their postseason resume.
That’s not an absurd February discussion for Big Ten teams that routinely land on the wrong side of the regional bubble thanks to a lack of quality wins. So when the No. 1 team in the nation is in the other dugout, teams like Iowa can’t miss.
This time around, the Hawkeyes connected solidly.
Brody Brecht avoided early trouble despite an erratic but effective outing, and Iowa shook off its offensive struggles from Friday night en route to a resounding 12-4 win over top-ranked Louisiana State at the Karbach Classic in Round Rock, Texas. Not only did Iowa (4-1) rebound emphatically from Friday’s 6-0 loss to Sam Houston State, the Hawkeyes did so against the clear-cut title favorite this season.
All eyes were on Brecht this weekend after he tossed five perfect innings last Saturday in a dominant win over Quinnipiac. Even in February when hitters aren’t usually at their best, Saturday offered a challenge Brecht had never encountered before.
He delivered a vintage Brecht pitching line: 3 1/3 innings, one hit, two runs, eight walks, six strikeouts and two wild pitches. Fewer than half of the 90 pitches he threw were strikes.
While the areas of concern are still clear, credit Brecht for avoiding trouble while lighting up social media with absurd fastballs and wicked sliders. In the first inning alone, Brecht loaded the bases with nobody out on two walks — then struck out three straight to keep LSU off the board. The Tigers finished with only four hits despite leaving 14 runners on base.
Most impressive was Iowa’s ability to tag Riley Cooper and the LSU bullpen. The Hawkeyes had seven runs over the first four innings, punctuated by a Keaton Anthony opposite-field homer in the first, then tacked on five more to cement the blowout.
Overall, Iowa’s top five hitters in the order — shortstop Michael Seegers, third baseman Raider Tello, Anthony, first baseman Brennen Dorighi and center field Kyle Huckstorf — all had multi-hit performances. That group of five, plus left fielder Sam Petersen, are all hitting over .300 five games into the season. Adding an LSU trouncing to those impressive figures should only aid Iowa’s confidence.
The Hawkeyes can make it a winning weekend Sunday against Kansas State, with right-hander Marcus Morgan on the mound for his second start. Either way, Iowa will leave Texas with a signature win that could pop on the resume should Rick Heller’s squad take care of business in the weeks and months ahead.
Dargan Southard is a sports trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.