Feb. 12, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Three members of the University of Iowa baseball team -- senior Dan Sheppard and sophomores Sasha Kuebel and Jake Yacinich -- appeared on the 2013 Big Ten Baseball Players to Watch list, the conference announced on Tuesday.
Sheppard (6-foot-0, 190 pounds) played in 32 games in 2012, finishing with a .234 batting average and 10 RBIs. The Downers Grove, Ill., native started 25 games for the Hawkeyes, 22 at catcher, two in left field, and one as the designated hitter. Sheppard, who has battled injuries in each of the last two seasons, is now fully healthy and expected to be a mainstay behind the plate for Iowa in 2013.
Kuebel (6-1, 200) earned Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America, second team All-Big Ten and unanimous All-Big Ten freshman team honors in 2012. The St. Louis, Mo., native made 13 starts, finishing with a 6-0 record and a 2.67 ERA, the seventh best ERA in the Big Ten and tops among league freshman. Kuebel tossed 87.2 innings, notching 36 strikeouts while allowing only 15 walks. He will begin 2013 as the Hawkeyes' No. 1 starter.
Yacinich (6-2, 180) appeared in 46 games in 2012, the most of all Hawkeye freshmen and the third most on the team. The shortstop batted .292 with 47 hits in 161 at-bats and had eight doubles, 24 RBIs and 24 runs scored. The Des Moines, Iowa, native went 9-of-9 in stolen bases and ranked first in the Big Ten and 22nd nationally with 14 sacrifice bunts. Yacinich finished his freshman season with a .388 average with runners on base and a .426 average with runners in scoring position. He will lead an Iowa infield in 2013 that includes three sophomores and a freshman.
Click HERE to view the complete 2013 Big Ten Baseball Players to Watch list.
Iowa opens its season this weekend with a three-game series at Austin Peay. The Hawkeyes and Governors will play at Raymond C. Hand Park in Clarksville, Tenn., on Friday at 3 p.m., followed by 1 p.m. meetings on Saturday and Sunday. All times are Central.