Game Notes -- at Hoover Classic (Feb. 24-26)

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Dates: Feb. 24-26, 2017
Location: Hoover, Ala. (Hoover Metropolitan Stadium)
Game Notes: IOWA | Alabama State | Morehead State
Statistics: IOWA | Alabama State | Morehead State
Radio/Streaming: Hawkeye All-Access
Live Stats: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
Video Streaming: N/A
Game 1 | Feb. 24 | 12 p.m. (CT) | vs. Alabama State
Pitching Matchup:  Iowa: Jr., RHP Nick Gallagher (0-0, 1.29 ERA)
ASU: Sr., RHP Tyler Howe (0-1, 7.94 ERA)
Game 2 | Feb. 25 | 4 p.m. (CT) | vs. Alabama State
Pitching Matchup: Iowa: TBA
ASU: Sr., RHP Brandon Caples (0-1, 3.86 ERA)
Game 3 | Feb. 26 | 12 p.m. (CT) | vs. Morehead State
Pitching Matchup: Iowa: Sr., RHP Drake Robison (0-0, 2.25 ERA)
MSU: Sr., RHP Luke Humphreys (1-0, 1.69 ERA)

The University of Iowa baseball team heads to Hoover, Alabama, for the Hoover Classic from Feb. 24-26.  The Hawkeyes face Alabama State on Friday at noon (CT) and Saturday at 4 p.m. at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium — the home of the SEC Tournament.  Iowa rounds out the weekend with a Sunday finale against Morehead State at noon.

•  Iowa’s live audio stream of the three games will be available on Hawkeye All-Access with Zach Mackey on the call.  Steve Duncan will serve as the color analyst. 
• All games will be carried on select stations around the state via the Hawkeye Radio Network.  All three games this week will be on WDBQ in Dubuque; Sunday’s game will also be on KKFD in Fairfield.
• Live statistics will be available at and fans can follow the action via Twitter/UIBaseball.

• The Hawkeyes hits three home runs during the season-opening series at South Florida.  Iowa didn’t hit its third home run until game eight of the 2016 season.
• The three home runs were the most in a single game since connecting on four (wind-aided) home runs last season against Northern Illinois.
• Jake Adams’ and Kyle Crowl’s first hits as Hawkeyes were home runs; it was Mason McCoy’s third career home run.
• McCoy’s career-best 15-game hitting streak came to a close in the series finale at South Florida.  He hit .364 during the three-game series.
• Sophomore Robert Neustrom is a preseason All-Big Ten selection by Perfect Game.  The outfielder is the Hawkeyes’ top returning hitter, batting .307 as a true freshman.
• The Hawkeyes are picked to finish in a tie for sixth place in the Big Ten in a vote of the league’s 11 head coaches. Iowa is also tabbed to finish eighth in the conference by Perfect Game and ninth by

• Alabama State won its first game of the 2017 season on Feb. 22, defeating UAB, 7-2, in Montgomery.  The Hornets went 0-3 during the season-opening weekend, dropping games to No. 6 Louisville (0-7), Ball State (2-3), and No. 22 Maryland (7-9).
• The Hornets are hitting .259 as a team with five players hitting .300 or above. Hunter Phillips leads the team with a .385 average, while Hunter Allen has a team-best four RBIs.
• Senior RHP Tyler Howe (0-1, 7.94 ERA) will make the start for Alabama State on Friday, while senior RHP Brandon Caples (0-1, 3.86 ERA) will start Saturday.
• The Hornets are the preseason favorite to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) East Division title in 2017. Alabama State won 38 games last season en route to its first-ever SWAC championship, went 24-0 in conference play, and played in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.
• Eight Hornets were named to the All-SWAC Preseason first-team, including 2016 SWAC Player of the Year Carlos Ocasio and 2016 SWAC Freshman of the Year Eriq White.

• The Eagles bring a 3-2 overall record into the Hoover Classic.  Morehead State went 2-2 last weekend, splitting games against Jacksonville and Jackson State.  On Feb. 21, the Eagles went to Starkville and used a 10-run ninth inning to hand Mississippi State a 13-8 midweek loss.
• It was the third time in the last four season Morehead State has defeated an SEC opponent.
• Morehead State is hitting .250 as a team and averaging 5.2 runs per game. The Eagles have four players hitting at least .300 with Niko Hulsizer leading the team with a .421 average. Reid Leonard has a team-best five RBIs.
• The Eagles were picked to finish fifth in the preseason Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) poll. Reid Leonard and Will Schneider were preseason all-conference selections.

• This weekend’s games against Alabama State and Morehead State will be the first meetings in program history.

UI head coach Rick Heller is in his 30th season as a college head coach and he needs just seven victories to join the 800-win club.  Heller is the winningest coach in his first three seasons in program history.

Iowa won its home opener in front of a crowd of 1,312, defeating Loras College, 8-1, on Feb. 22 at Duane Banks Field. Six Hawkeye pitchers three-hit the Duhawks, and Iowa had eight hits in the contest.  It is believed to be the earliest home opener in program history.

Sophomore Robert Neustrom has tallied multi-hit games in three of Iowa’s first four contests to open the 2017 season. The Sioux City, Iowa, native hit a team-best .455 in the three-game series at South Florida, finishing with five hits in 11 at-bats before going 2-for-4 with an RBI in the home opener against Loras College.  
• Neustrom had 12 multi-hit games the entire 2016 season — a season where he hit .307 as a true freshman.

Junior C.J. Eldred’s status for Saturday’s game against Alabama State is questionable because of arm discomfort with his ulner nerve.  Eldred is 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA this season.

Senior Drake Robison will make his first weekend start Sunday against Morehead State.  The right-hander was strong in relief at South Florida, allowing one run on two hits over four innings. He had five strikeouts to one walk and got out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam in his first inning of relief.

NICK-C.J. – 1-2
Iowa’s 1-2 starting pitching punch was stellar in the season-opening weekend at South Florida.  Juniors Nick Gallagher and C.J. Eldred combined to allow two runs on eight hits over 13 innings in a pair of no-decisions.  The duo combined for eight strikeouts while issuing a single walk.

Freshman Kyle Crowl’s first collegiate hit was a memorable one as it proved to be a game-winning two-run eighth inning home run in Iowa’s 4-2 victory over South Florida.  

Position battles are on-going at third base and centerfield early in the season.  Freshman Justin Jenkins and Ben Norman split time in center field over the first four games, while junior Matt Hoeg and freshman Kyle Crowl have shared time at third base.

There is offensive opportunity as the Hawkeyes return less than 50 percent of their production in every major category in 2017.  Iowa returns 41.5 percent of RBIs (117-282), 41.7 percent of triples (5-12), 39.5 percent of runs (126-319), 34.8 percent of hits (188-541), 30.8 percent of home runs (8-26), and 24.2 percent of steals (24-99).

Senior Mason McCoy, junior Nick Gallagher, and sophomore Robert Neustrom have been named to the Big Ten preseason honors list. McCoy and Neustrom are returning starters, Gallagher is taking over as Iowa’s Friday night starting pitcher.

• Iowa’s pitching will be the strength of the 2017 roster with 10 pitchers returning from a staff that posted a  3.54 ERA — the second-best in program history — and broke the single-season strikeouts record (382) last season.  The Hawkeyes have set the program ERA record in each of the past two seasons under pitching coach Scott Brickman.
• The Hawkeyes have 76.7 percent of their wins (23-30), 90.9 percent of saves (10-11), 68.8 percent of innings (341 of 495 1/3), and 70.7 percent of strikeouts (341-495) back for 2017.

The Hawkeyes will insert a power-hitting threat in the middle of the lineup in junior Jake Adams.  The South Dakota native will take over first base duties after hitting 25 home runs last year during an All-America season at DMACC.  As a team, Iowa hit 26 home runs in 2016.
• In two junior-college seasons, Adams hit 42 career home runs — a DMACC record.  He was among the nation’s leaders in home runs, slugging percentage and total bases.

Senior Mason McCoy will slide to his left and take over as Iowa’s starting shortstop in 2017.  McCoy started all 56 games as a junior, primarily at third base.  He hit .291 with 37 runs and 34 RBIs, and was a member of the Big Ten All-Tournament team.  
• McCoy was an Northwest League All-Star selection in both 2015 and 2016, playing for the La Crosse Loggers.
• Iowa has had an all-conference selection at shortstop in each of Rick Heller’s first three seasons.  (Jake Yacinich, first-team, 2014; Nick Roscetti, third-team, 2015, first-team, 2016).

• is 8-3 with a 2.38 ERA in 24 career appearances, including 10 starts.
• notched a quality start in his first career Friday night start, allowing one run on five hits over seven innings.  He fanned four while issuing one walk.
• tied for second in the Big Ten with eight victories as a sophomore, which were the sixth-most in a single-season in program history.
• was named to the 2016 Big Ten All-Tournament team after allowing one hit over six innings and fanning a career-high nine in a victory over Maryland.

• is 3-8 with a 3.32 ERA in 17 career appearances (15 starts).
• notched a quality start in a no-decision, allowing one run on three hits at South Florida (2/18).
• logged a team-high 94 1/3 innings as a sophomore — the 10th-most in a single season in school history.
• had a team-best seven quality starts with two complete games in 2016.
• is the son of former Hawkeye first round MLB Draft pick and Major Leaguer Cal Eldred. 

Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes on Facebook/iowabaseball, Twitter: @UIBaseball, and Instagram/UIBaseball in addition to coverage on

Season tickets for the 2017 Iowa home schedule are on sale now through the UI Athletics Ticket Office online at or at 800-IA-HAWKS. Reserved and general admission adult tickets are $75, while general admission youth tickets are $40. Fans can also purchase a “30-block” season ticket, priced at $99, where tickets can be used at any game or combination of games throughout the season. Iowa will play 24 home games in 2017.