By Nick Rohlman
The Iowa baseball team will travel to the Houston Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament on June 2. The Hawkeyes received an automatic bid after defeating Northwestern, 13-4, on May 28 to win their first-ever Big Ten Tournament title.
Anticipation built as other teams were selected for regional locations ahead of the Hawkeyes.
“I think a lot of us were hoping for someplace on the coast where we could fly, and we got that,” junior pitcher Nick Gallagher said. “It’s a great location. We were there two years ago and played Houston Baptist. We had a lot of fun, and we’re excited.”
The NCAA Tournament bid is the Hawkeyes’ second appearance in three years and fifth overall. Senior pitcher Josh Martsching, who was on the team during its last tournament appearance two years ago, is confident the Hawkeyes can improve on that performance.
“We were pretty successful winning two games,” he said. “But I don’t think we’re going to settle for two. We want to move on to the [super regionals] this time.”
After winning the Big Ten Tournament to finish at 38-20, the Hawkeyes were ranked No. 28 nationally. Players and many analysts expected the Hawkeyes to earn a No. 3 seed in their regional; instead, the Hawkeyes were seeded No. 4. Despite the lower seed, junior first baseman Jake Adams, who is tied for the national lead in home runs, was confident the Hawkeyes could advance.
“We thought we were going to be a three seed, so it was a little surprising that we got the four. We got a pretty good draw, though,” Adams said. “I think everybody’s excited to go to Houston. We got a pretty good group of teams up there, so I think we can get it done.”
The Hawkeyes will open regional action as the visiting team against host Houston on June 2 at 7 p.m. CDT.