Iowa baseball falls short of 2022 NCAA Tournament bid

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After losing its opener in the Big Ten Tournament against Penn State, 5-2, Iowa pieced together three wins over Purdue, Penn State and Michigan to get within one game of the Big Ten Tournament championship game.

Following their tournament-opening loss, the Hawkeyes collected a 5-4 win over Purdue on Friday, an 11-3 triumph over Penn State on Saturday and a 7-3 win over Michigan on Saturday. That had Iowa one win away from meeting up with Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament championship game. In the process, Iowa became the first team to win two games on the same day during the tournament.

Alas, the Hawkeyes seemingly just ran out of pitching. The second game against Michigan was Iowa’s fifth game in four days. Freshman Brody Brecht got the start, but retired just one Wolverine batter and surrendered a pair of earned runs before being replaced by redshirt senior Dylan Nedved.

Nedved temporarily steadied the Big Ten Tournament semifinal contest against Michigan, tossing three innings and allowing a pair of unearned runs. The Hawkeyes did get one run back in the bottom of the fourth inning after Izaya Fullard walked and Kyle Huckstorf delivered an RBI single.

That was it, though, and Michigan opened the floodgates in the top of the seventh. The Wolverines scored nine runs on three hits, while sending 13 batters to the plate. Tito Flores had a two-run double, Ted Burton had a three-run double and Clark Elliott and a three-run triple in the inning.

Ultimately, it meant both the end of Iowa’s Big Ten Tournament run and its season after the NCAA Tournament field was unveiled without the Hawkeyes in it. Iowa ends its season 36-19 overall and with a 17-7 mark in Big Ten regular season play.

Not quite enough

Final RPI ranking

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

According to the NCAA’s RPI rankings, Iowa finished with an RPI of No. 57. Obviously, that number was part of what kept the Hawkeyes out of the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan wins the Big Ten Tournament

After ousting Iowa, Michigan went on to win the Big Ten Tournament championship, 10-4, over Rutgers to earn the league’s automatic bid into the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

Michigan heads to the Louisville Regional and will open play against Oregon. Host Louisville and Southeast Missouri State will also take part in the regional.

Rutgers loses out on an NCAA Tournament bid

AP Photo/Rich Schultz

Similar to Iowa, a 17-7 Big Ten regular season mark did Rutgers baseball no favors. The Scarlet Knights were not chosen as an at-large selection despite finishing with a 45-14 overall record and reaching the Big Ten Tournament championship game.

It’s really a bitter pill to swallow, and the NCAA Tournament selection committee didn’t get this one right. Rutgers advances to but loses in the Big Ten Tournament championship, finishes with 45 wins and an RPI of 42, but they get left out? Valuing RPI over results in a Power Five league’s regular season and postseason just feels off here. The Scarlet Knights got a raw deal.

Maryland set to host

AP Photo/Ben McKeown

The only other Big Ten team to make the field is the No. 15 overall seed Maryland. The Terrapins will host the College Park Regional alongside Wake Forest, Connecticut and LIU.

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