By JAMES ALLAN
HOUSTON, Texas — Thursday was practice day for the University of Iowa baseball team at Schroeder Park — the site of the 2017 Houston Regional.
The Hawkeyes went through a 75-minute workout at the University of Houston’s on-campus stadium preparing for Friday’s NCAA Regional opener against the host Cougars. The game will be televised on ESPNU beginning at 7:04 p.m. (CT).
“Today was practice day, a time to get better and get our work in,” said sophomore Chris Whelan. “We’re excited for tomorrow.”
The Hawkeyes will face off against top-seeded and 15th-ranked Houston in the day’s nightcap. Second-seeded Baylor and third-seeded Texas A&M meet at 2:04 p.m.
“This is a loaded (regional) and I know a lot of people don’t foresee us doing much in this regional,” said Whelan. “Not too many people know what Iowa baseball is about and that can work to our advantage. We can shock some people in this tournament.”
UI head coach Rick Heller knows the field is loaded, but that’s a given at this time of the season.
“It’s a tough draw and a tough regional, but they’re all tough at this point,” said Heller. “You try to focus on taking care of your own business and not the name on the uniform we play.”