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Mojo back for Iowa after Kansas sweep

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | APRIL 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Hawkeyes needed that one.

After struggling against an offensively superior Indiana squad last weekend, the Black and Gold erupted for 29 hits and 17 runs in two games against the Kansas Jayhawks Tuesday and Wednesday, taking both games of a back-to-back series at Banks Field. 

The wins got the Hawks back on track after dropping five of their last six games.

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“We’ve been going through one of those slumps where it seems like everything we hit wasn’t dropping, but today they found the holes,” head coach Rick Heller said.  “That’s baseball, though.”

After dropping two of three to Michigan at the end of March, the Hawks went into a home series against top-ranked Indiana with high hopes.

With the Hoosiers being the odds-on favorite to win the Big Ten this season, head coach Rick Heller was anxious to see how his upstart Iowa squad stacked up against a legitimate College-World-Series contender such as the Hoosiers.

And while the Black and Gold weren’t terrible, Indiana showed to everyone in attendance at Banks Field that their No. 24 ranking was no joke, sweeping the Hawkeyes and outscoring the Hawks 25-9 over three games.

“The sweep kind of brought us down a little bit, but we didn’t always play that bad, either,” junior Eric Toole said. “Props to them for coming in and taking it; they’re a great hitting team,”

And while the Hoosiers were dialed in at the plate, the Hawkeyes were equally as snake bitten.

“It seemed like every time we made contact against Indiana it was right at one of their guys,” Heller said.   “We hit a couple line drives right at their second basemen and hit a couple real deep, but just really had trouble finding the gaps.”

Thankfully, a glitch in the schedule gave Iowa an immediate shot at redemption.

The day after dropping the final game of the Indiana series 5-3, the Black and Gold had to turn around and play two straight at home against Kansas.

Any frustration the Hawkeyes were carrying into the series disappeared with the first pitch against the Jayhawks, as the Hawkeyes pumped Kansas for 20 plus hits and 15 runs.

They took both games of the series.

“We know what kind of team we have here,” Toole said.  “We know we can come out here and get wins against quality teams like Kansas, and that’s huge for us.”

Now, it appears the Hawks are back on track and have their mojo working once again.

And the timing could not be more perfect.

Now, Heller and his squad head into Evanston with a full head of steam for a three-game series with lowly Northwestern, which has just one win in Big Ten play this season.

And while eight games in nine days is in no way a normal schedule, the Hawkeyes have their confidence to fall back on.

“This has been one of those situations where coach talks about taking it day-to-day,” junior Jake Mangler said.  “Being able to wipe away those losses and approach each game at a time has been a big key for us.”


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