Feb. 20, 2014
|Iowa (2-1) at Snowbird Baseball Classic|
|Dates||Feb. 21-23, 2014|
|Location||Port Charlotte, Fla. | North Charlotte Regional Park|
|Statistics||MVSU | St. Bonaventure | Ball State | Omaha | IOWA|
|Game 1 - Iowa vs. Mississippi Valley State|
|Date | Time||Friday, Feb. 21 | 1:30 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: So., RHP, Calvin Mathews (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs.
MVSU: Sr., RHP, Jonathan Parker (0-1, 12.46 ERA)
|Game 2 - Iowa vs. St. Bonaventure|
|Date | Time||Sat., Feb. 22 | 1:30 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: Jr., LHP, Andrew Hedrick (1-0, 3.60 ERA) vs.
SBU: Jr., RHP, Joel Rosencrance (4-4, 4.09 ERA (2013)
|Game 2 - Iowa vs. Ball State|
|Date | Time||Sat., Feb. 22 | 4:30 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: Jr., LHP, Sasha Kuebel (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs.
BSU: Sr., RHP, T.J. Weir (0-0, 6.75 ERA)
|Game 4 - Iowa vs. Nebraska-Omaha|
|Date | Time||Sunday, Feb. 23 | 8 a.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: So., RHP, Tyler Peyton (0-0, 5.43 ERA) vs.
UNO: Jr., RHP, Tyler Hamer (7-0, 2.54 ERA) (2013 JUCO)
The University of Iowa baseball team heads to the Sunshine State for four games at the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Hawkeyes will open play against Mississippi Valley State on Friday at 1:30 p.m. (CT) before playing a doubleheader against St. Bonaventure (1:30 p.m.) and Ball State (4:30 p.m.) on Saturday. Iowa closes out the weekend with an 8 a.m. matchup against Nebraska Omaha. All four games will be held at the North Charlotte Regional Park.
ON THE WEB
Fans can follow every game with live stats (GameTracker) on hawkeyesports.com. Click on the "GT" link found on both the front page and the baseball schedule page. Live game updates are also available on Twitter: @UIBaseball. Audio of Saturday's game against Ball State will be available at ballstatesports.com.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE
Mississippi Valley State brings an 0-4 record into the Snowbird Classic after being swept by Dallas Baptist during the opening weekend and falling, 3-2, to Morehead State on Wednesday.
The Delta Devils have been outscored 55-7 in four games and are hitting .133 as a team. Arrington Smith is leading MVSU with a .308 batting average with two doubles -- the team's only extra base hits.
MVSU has a 12.00 team ERA, allowing 44 earned runs in 33 innings. Friday's probably starter -- RHP Jonathan Parker -- is 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA. He went 4 1/3 innings against Dallas Baptist, surrendering nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits. He had six strikeouts to three walks in the contest.
SCOUTING ST. BONAVENTURE
Saturday's game against Iowa will be the Bonnies' 2014 season opener. St. Bonaventure went 20-28 last season and finished 9-15 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bonnies return 14 letterwinners, two positional starters and seven pitchers from the 2013 season.
The squad was picked to finish 12th in the 12-team Atlantic 10 Conference in 2014.
Right-hander Joel Rosencrance is the probable starter against the Hawkeyes. The 6-foot-5 junior went 4-4 with a 4.09 ERA last season. Rosencrance is a preseason second-team all-conference selection by College Sports Madness.
SCOUTING BALL STATE
Ball State brings a 3-1 record into the weekend after winning 3-of-4 games last weekend at a tournament at South Carolina-Upstate. The Cardinals downed USC-Upstate (7-4), Morehead State (7-5) and Wofford (6-4 (10) before falling, 4-3, to Dayton in the finale.
Ball State is hitting .286 as a team with Sean Kennedy leading the way with a .563 average, while infielder Brandon Estep has a pair of home runs.
The Cardinals have a 3.75 team ERA with 34 strikeouts to 19 walks. RHP Zach Plesac is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two relief appearances. RHP T.J. Weir is the probable starter against the Hawkeyes. He wasn't involved in the decision against Wofford after allowing four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The Cardinals are led by former Michigan head coach Mike Maloney.
SCOUTING NEBRASKA OMAHA
The Mavs will open the season at the Snowbird Classic after having their four-game series in Knoxville, Tenn., cancelled last weekend.
UNO was picked as the preseason favorite in The Summit League in 2014. The Mavs return four all-conference selections from a season ago.
Omaha posted a 27-22 overall record and a 20-6 conference mark in 2013. The Mavs won the regular season title in their second year as a member of the league and second year as a Division I school.
DMACC transfer Tyler Hamer is the team's probable starter against Iowa. The 6-foot-5 right-hander went 7-0 with a 2.54 ERA last season en route to first-team all-region honors.
The games against Mississippi Valley State, St. Bonaventure and Ball State will be the first meetings in the all-time series.
Iowa is 6-4 all-time against Nebraska-Omaha. The two teams split four meetings during the 2013 season.
After hitting two home runs the entire 2013 season, Iowa connected on three long balls in taking 2-of-3 games during its opening weekend at Austin Peay. The Hawkeyes hit one home run in each of the three games, accomplishing the feat for the first time since the 2011 season when they hit home runs in four-straight games (vs. Coe, three games at Illinois). Iowa is tied atop the Big Ten with three long balls.
RUNS, RUNS & MORE RUNS
The Hawkeyes scored a Big Ten-leading 30 runs during the opening three games of the 2014 season, including 11 and 15 in consecutive games. It is the first time scoring 10 or more runs in two-straight games since April 20 and April 23, 2011, putting 14 and 13 runs on the board in victories over Western Illinois and Michigan. The 30 runs in the first three games are the most since the 2010 season when the team plated 33 runs against Illinois State (19), Austin Peay (8) and Rutgers (6). Iowa scored 10 runs in the second inning alone of the second game of the Feb. 15 doubleheader. The Hawkeyes last had a double-digit inning on April 3, 2011, in a 19-7 victory over Michigan State.
Nine different Hawkeyes swiped at least one base during the opening weekend of the 2014 season. Iowa's 12 steals are leading the Big Ten. Junior Jake Yacinich is 3-for-3 on the base paths, while junior Eric Toole stole a pair of bases.
HICKMAN BREAKS OUT
Sophomore Blake Hickman surpassed his freshman year RBI total in three games at Austin Peay. The Chicago native hit .364 with seven RBIs and five runs. Two of his five hits were home runs, including a grand slam in the season-opener. The long balls were the first of Hickman's career.
SITTIN' EM' DOWN
The Hawkeyes averaged 11 strikeouts per game during the opening weekend of the season, giving the team a Big Ten-best 33 Ks. Sophomore Calvin Mathews struck out a career-best eight batters in his first start as Iowa's ace, and junior Nick Hibbing sat down six of the 12 batters he faced en route to his first save of 2014.
Junior Andrew Hedrick picked up his first victory of the season and fourth win of his career after tossing five innings in relief of Calvin Mathews. He allowed two runs on five hits with three strikeouts.
Iowa drew 23 walks over the first three games, a figure that leads the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes also have a conference-best .400 on-base percentage.
Junior Jake Yacinich posted a team-best .455 (5-of-11) batting average at Austin Peay -- a mark that is fifth-best in the Big Ten. Yacinich also has a league-best .625 on-base percentage.
Sophomore Blake Hickman is tied for the Big Ten lead in home runs (2) and RBIs (7), while ranking second in slugging percentage (1.000).
Senior Taylor Zeutenhorst connected on a three-run home run in game two of the series at Austin Peay. It is the second long ball of his career and first since 2012. The outfielder hit .273 with five runs and five RBIs on the weekend.
Junior Dan Potempa went 2-for-2 with two doubles and three RBIs in his first game as a Hawkeye. He started 2-of-3 games in the series.
Hickman also made his pitching debut Feb. 16, tossing one hitless inning in relief. He had one walk and one strikeout in the frame.
HELLER APPROACHING 700
First-year head coach Rick Heller is approaching a career milestone as he is eight victories shy of reaching 700 in his 26-plus year coaching career. Heller ranks 39th among winningest active head coaches in the NCAA.
3 B1G PLAYERS TO WATCH
Juniors -- Eric Toole, Sasha Kuebel and Jake Yacinich -- have been named to the Big Ten Watch List. Toole paced the Hawkeyes with a .337 batting average, 59 hits and 32 runs scored in 2013. He also tied for fifth in the Big Ten with 22 steals. Yacinich batted .286 and tied for the team lead with 24 RBIs, and Kuebel won a pair of games and posted a 5.13 ERA.
TOOLE EARNS PRESEASON HONOR
Junior Eric Toole was named a preseason first-team all-conference selection by College Sports Madness. Toole was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2013 after leading the Hawkeyes in batting average (.337), runs (32), hits (59), total bases (67 and steals (22).
HICKMAN NAMED TO PG's TOP-100 LIST
Sophomore Blake Hickman has been named to Perfect Game's top-100 list for the sophomore class. The catcher/right-handed pitcher is ranked No. 51 in the nation. He is 1-of-3 Big Ten players in the top-51 and six in the top-100.
RETURNEES - BY THE NUMBERS
Iowa's offense returns nearly intact from the 2013 season with 98 percent of the runs (1,652-of-1,684), 95 percent of the steals (57-of-60), 88 percent of the triples (7-of-8), 84 percent of the hits (374-of-443) and 81 percent of the RBIs (155-of-199) and doubles (43-of-53) returning. On the mound, the Hawkeyes return hurlers who accounted for 11 of the 22 wins and tossed 256 2/3 of the 447 innings.
A NEW ERA
The Rick Heller era began in July, 2013, when Heller was tabbed as the 20th coach in Iowa baseball history. The Eldon, Iowa, native has been head coach at three institutions -- Indiana State (2009-13), Northern Iowa (1999-2009) and Upper Iowa (1987-99) -- leading all three schools to NCAA postseason play. Heller added Scott Brickman and Marty Sutherland to his staff as assistant coaches. Brickman, the pitching coach, spent the past four seasons as head coach at NCAA Division II Belmont Abbey University, while Sutherland, the hitting coach/recruiting coordinator, was an assistant high school coach and hitting/fielding instructor. The three were together on the coaching staff at Northern Iowa in 2008 and 2009. Heller also brought back a pair of UI baseball alums in Jim Magrane and Matt Wooldrick. Magrane will serve as the volunteer assistant coach, while Wooldrik will be the director of baseball operations.
Of the 34-man roster, 22 are upperclassmen. The Hawkeyes roster features two true freshmen, 10 sophomores, 18 juniors, one redshirt junior and three seniors.
The Hawkeyes have 17 native Iowans -- the most of any state. Illinois is second with 12.
Iowa brought in 13 newcomers to the 2014 squad, 11 of which are transfers.
Iowa boasts six sets of high school teammates on the 2014 roster: Jake Yacinich and Jake Reinhardt -- Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines, Iowa; Matt Allen and Tyler Radtke -- Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill.; Brandon Shulista and Nick Day -- Solon High School in Solon, Iowa; Josh Martsching and Calvin Mathews -- Davis County High School in Bloomfield, Iowa; Ryan Rumpf and Sean Moore -- Iowa City West High School in Iowa City, Iowa; John Barrett and Jacob Sharp -- Rock Island Alleman High School in the Quad Cities.
Four current Hawkeyes -- Will Kenny, Tyler Peyton, Dan Potempa and Brandon Shulista -- played the 2013 season at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
The Hawkeyes return 20 letterwinners, eight starters, and eight pitchers from the 2013 squad.
DRAFTED PLAYERS ON THE 2014 ROSTER
Four current Hawkeyes have been drafted by in Major League Baseball's First-Year Play Draft. Nick Hibbing (2011, Pirates, 42nd round, 1,262 pick), Blake Hickman (2012, Cubs, 20th round, 614 pick), Sasha Kuebel (2011, A's, 31st round, 946 pick), Taylor Zeutenhorst (Phillies, 41st round, 1,251 pick).
IOWA SIGNS FIVE FOR 2015
UI head coach Rick Heller signed five players -- Nick Allgeyer (6-3, 185, OF/LHP, St. Louis, Mo./Vianney High School), Joel Booker (6-2, 180, OF, Columbus, N.C./Indian Hills CC), Kyle "Fenway" Parks (6-1, 195, IF, Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River Community High School), Luke Vandermaten (6-foot-1, 155, RHP, Fort Dodge, Iowa/Iowa Central CC) and Kyle Wade (6-2, 195, RHP, Chino Hills, Calif./Chino Hills High School) -- to National Letters of Intent to continue their education and playing careers for the Hawkeyes in 2015. Parks is a top-500 player by Perfect Game.
B1G TOURNEY CHANGES
The 2014 Big Ten Tournament will be held at TD Ameritrade Park on May 21-25 in Omaha. The field is expanding in 2014 from six to eight teams for the first time in its history.
IOWA BASEBALL ACADEMY
The Iowa Baseball Academy provides year-round training programs, camps and instruction to youth ages 5-18. The academy will operate at Duane Banks Field and the Iowa athletic indoor facilities. The Iowa Baseball Academy strives to provide exceptional training programs to enhance player skills while teaching valuable lessons that strengthen the player's lives. Year-round training programs provide an opportunity for players to build and develop baseball skills, while giving the Iowa baseball program a vehicle to add value to community programs and grow interest in the Hawkeyes. For details about Iowa Baseball Academy, visit www.IowaBaseballAcademy.com.
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes on Facebook by going to facebook.com/iowabaseball. Fans can also follow on Twitter @UIBaseball.
The Hawkeyes will return to Florida to take part in the Stetson Invitational on Feb. 28-March 2. Iowa will face the host Hatters, Maine and Furman during the three days of competition.