Several Hawkeyes miss the Ohio State series, Iowa Gambling Authorities launch investigation

On3 imageby:Kyle Huesmann05/08/23


The Iowa Baseball team is coming off a series win against the Ohio State Buckeyes, but the big news coming from the weekend isn’t about who played in the series. It’s about who did not play in the series. As starting lineups were handed out on Friday evening before the series opener, news started to grow about one glaring omission. Starting DH Keaton Anthony missed the entire series and the Iowa Athletic Department released the following statement after the Hawkeyes 16-9 win on Friday.

“Due to a potential NCAA violation, we withheld some student-athletes from competition. We will have no additional comments as this is an ongoing investigation.”

– UI Athletic Department

It is unknown exactly how many players were witheld from the series this past weekend, but DH Keaton Anthony, RHP Jacob Henderson, C Ben Tallman and C Gehrig Christensen were notably not present.

Darren Rovell of the Action Network reported this morning that the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has launched an investigation into the Iowa Baseball team after several players were suspended for the Ohio State series.

“The commission takes the integrity of gaming in the state seriously and is continuing to monitor the situation and will provide any additional information when able,” said Brian Ohorilko, the director of gaming for the state’s commission in the article by Rovell.

Gambling has quickly become a hot topic in college baseball after Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon was fired after he was linked to suspicious wagering activity surrounding the Crimson Tide’s game against LSU back on April 28. Just before the game, Alabama ace Luke Holtman was stratched from his start and replaced with reliever Hagan Banks. A bettor at the BetMGM Sportsbook at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, OH placed two large bets on LSU just hours before the game took place.

While the two situations come within a week of each other, there is currently no evidence showing the Iowa student-athletes were betting on their own games.

Prior to the Ohio State series, Keaton Anthony had started all 43 games for the Hawkeyes. He leads the team in a number of categories, including batting average (.389), on-base percentage (.505), hits (61), doubles (22) and hit by pitches (15). Anthony is currently in a tie for fourth in the country in doubles.

Jacob Henderson has appeared in 18 games out of the bullpen for the Hawkeyes with a 6.91 ERA over 14.1 innings. He has struck out 19 and walked nine this season, while holding opponents to a .231 batting average.

Ben Tallman and Gehrig Christensen have combined for 14 starts behind starting catcher Cade Moss. Tallman is batting .174, with four hits and a home run in 23 at-bats. Christensen is batting .214, with three hits in 14 at-bats. Most of their time on the field has come during midweek games.

Potential long-term impact

There is currently no timetable for the return of the players that were withheld from the series against Ohio State. With just seven games remaining for an Iowa team that is fighting to make the NCAA Tournament, any missed games is a concern.

While the Hawkeyes were able to score 31 runs over the first two games of the series and seemingly had no issue racking up 40 hits in three games without the bat of Keaton Anthony, it is hard to imagine that continuing without him. Anytime you take a guy out of the lineup that is reaching base 2.33 times per game, there will be a lasting impact.

Brayden Frazier and Will Mulflur took over the DH role this past weekend. They were 4/12 (.333), with a home run coming from Mulflur on Saturday.

Jacob Henderson is third on the team in bullpen appearances and would have likely come in in Sunday’s series finale had he been available. Another underlying concern is the catching depth. Cade Moss has started 21 of the last 22 weekend series games and has 32 starts overall. If he were to get injured, the Hawkeyes would be forced to turn to true freshman Reese Moore for his first career game, or sophomore Ben Wilmes, who worked at the catcher position over the offseason.

The Hawkeyes take the field on Friday for their series opener at home against Michigan State. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:05pm on BTN+.

HawkeyeReport will update this story, as more information is available.

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