|Date:||Feb. 16-18, 2018|
|Location:||Kissimmee, Fla. | Osceola Heritage Park Stadium|
|Game Notes:||IOWA | Toledo | Oakland | Old Dominion|
|Statistics||IOWA | Toledo | Oakland | Old Dominion|
|Radio/Streaming:||Hawkeye Radio Network | Hawkeye All-Access ($)|
|Live Stats:||Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3|
|Television/Video Streaming:||www.d9events.com ($)|
|Game 1 | Feb. 16 | 5:30 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup:||Iowa: LHP Nick Allgeyer|
|Toledo: LHP Michael Jacob|
|Game 2 | Feb. 17 | 2 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup:||Iowa: RHP Cole McDonald|
|Oakland: LHP P.J. Piesko OR RHP Nick Parr|
|Game 3 | Feb. 18 | 10 a.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup:||Iowa: RHP Brady Schanuel|
|Old Dominion: RHP Michael Blanchard|
The University of Iowa baseball team opens the 2018 regular season at the Diamond 9 Sunshine State Classic in Kissimmee, Florida. The Hawkeyes face Toledo at 5:30 p.m. (CT) on Friday, Oakland at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and Old Dominion at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Iowa’s first two games will be played at Osceola Heritage Park Stadium, while Sunday’s game will be held at Field 2 at Osceola Heritage Park.
• All three games will be streamed at d9events.com. It is a paid subscription service.
• All Iowa games will also be available via the Hawkeye Radio Network with Zach Mackey on the call. The games can be heard on Hawkeye All-Access and on stations across the state, including WMT-AM 600 in Cedar Rapids, WDBQ-FM 107.5 in Dubuque, KXIC-AM 800 in Iowa City, KJAN-AM/FM 1220 and 101.1 in Atlantic, KDEC-FM 100.5 in Decorah, and KKFD-FM 95.9 in Fairfield.
• Live statistics are available on hawkeyesports.com and fans can follow along via social media at www.twitter.com/UIBaseball.
• Iowa is ranked 44th in the College Sports Madness preseason rankings. The Hawkeyes are also receiving votes in the USBWA preseason rankings.
• Junior outfielder Robert Neustrom has been named the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year by both Perfect Game and Baseball America. Neustrom and junior Brady Schanuel were named to PG’s preseason all-conference team.
• The Hawkeyes were picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten by Perfect Game, fifth by D1Baseball.com, and sixth in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches poll.
• Iowa has won 140 games over the past four seasons under head coach Rick Heller — the best four-year stretch in school history. The Hawkeyes have advanced to NCAA Regional play in two of the last three seasons.
• For the first time in the Heller era, Iowa will not have at least one of its weekend starting pitchers returning. Redshirt junior Nick Allgeyer is expected to start the season opener.
• Iowa’s pitching staff has set school strikeout records in each of the past two seasons. The Hawkeyes struck out 470 batters in 61 games, averaging 7.7 strikeouts per game, last season.
• The Hawkeyes return two All-Big Ten selections — Neustrom and Tyler Cropley — and Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-Americans Kyle Shimp and Ben Norman.
• Iowa will play 13 games against five 2017 NCAA Regional teams this season (vs. Indiana, vs. Michigan, vs. Oklahoma State, at Nebraska, and vs. Missouri State).
• The Hawkeyes will play 27 games at Duane Banks Field during the 2018 season. Iowa went 19-4 at Banks Field last season, improving the team’s record to 52-14 at home since the start of the 2015 season.
• Iowa will have new starters at third base (Lorenzo Elion), first base (Matt Hoeg/Grant Judkins), and left field (TBA).
• Senior Tyler Cropley and juniors Robert Neustrom and Zach Daniels were named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors List.
• Sophomore Kyle Crowl will be the first underclassman starting the season at shortstop since Jake Yacinich in 2013.
• Junior Robert Neustrom will be making the 100th start of his career in the season-opener against Toledo. Neustrom has started 63 straight games.
• Toledo was selected to finish eighth in the Mid-American Conference by D1Baseball.com.
• The Rockets finished 17-41 last season and went 9-15 in the MAC. Toledo’s offense was its catalyst in 2017, as the team scored the most runs, doubles, triples, home runs, and posted the highest slugging percentage since 2010.
• Toledo will start closer turned starter LHP Michael Jacob on Friday. Jacob went 1-1 with a 4.10 ERA over 26 1/3 innings last season as the Rockets’ closer.
• The Golden Grizzlies were picked to finish fifth in the 2018 Horizon League Baseball Preseason Poll in a vote of the league’s head coaches. Oakland went 17-40 overall last year and went 11-19 in league play.
• Oakland returns two All-Horizon League honorees — second-team selection Emerson Misch and All-Freshman team honoree Tyler Trovinger.
• The Grizzlies will start LHP P.J. Piesko or RHP Nick Parr. Piesko was 1-4 with a 10.61 ERA last season in 18 appearances, while Parr was 4-3 with a 12.60 ERA in 15 appearances, including five starts.
ABOUT OLD DOMINION
• The Monarchs were selected to finish fourth out of 12 teams in the Conference USA Preseason Coaches Poll. ODU was picked behind Southern Miss, Rice, and Florida Atlantic.
• Old Dominion sophomores Vinnie Pasquantion and Kyle Battle were named to the Preseason All-C-USA team. Pasquantion hit .321 with five home runs, 17 doubles, and 38 RBIs to earn Freshman All-America honors. Battle hit .341 with 36 RBIs and was also a Freshman All-American.
• The Monarchs will start 6-foot-7, sophomore RHP Michael Blanchard on Sunday. Blanchard went 1-3 with a 5.81 ERA in 20 appearances (six starts) last season.
• Iowa is 2-1 all-time against Toledo all-time. The Hawkeyes last faced the Rockets in 2005 — a 13-9 victory in Jacksonville, Florida.
• It will be the first-ever meeting against Oakland and Old Dominion.
• Redshirt junior Nick Allgeyer will be making his second career start (first Friday start) on Friday against Toledo. The southpaw’s only other start came against Penn State on May 21 in the regular-season finale of the 2016 season. He went 2 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits.
• Junior Cole McDonald will be making his 20th career start. McDonald was part of the weekend rotation for the first nine weekends last season, where he went 2-4 with a 6.96 ERA. McDonald shined at the World Games, going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances. He threw a 97 pitch, nine-inning no-hitter against the Czech Republic, fanning seven while walking three. It was Iowa’s first nine-inning no-hitter since 1965.
• Junior-college transfer RHP Brady Schanuel was a two-time All-American at Parkland College in Champaign. He won 20 games in two seasons and had 261 strikeouts in 164 innings.
30 X 4
Iowa posted its fourth straight 30-win season in 2017. The program hasn’t enjoyed a better stretch since posting seven consecutive 30 win campaigns from 1979-85.
• Iowa won 39 games last season — the fifth-most in a single season in program history. The Hawkeyes won 41 games in 2015, the second-most wins in program history.
It’s tough to envision the Iowa lineup without All-America first baseman Jake Adams (.335, 29 HR, 55 R, 14 2B, 72 RBIs) and All-Big Ten shortstop Mason McCoy (.328, 83 H, 18 2B, 5 HR, 55 R, 34 RBIs), but offensively, the Hawkeyes have a lot returning in 2018.
• Iowa has six starters, including its designated hitter, back from an offense that ranked in the top three in the Big Ten in nine categories.
• The Hawkeyes have 70.9 percent (421 of 594) of their hits, 69.9 percent (79 of 113) of their doubles, 67.6 (234 of 346) of their RBIs, 66.4 percent (250 of 376) of their runs, and 50.1 percent (36 of 71) of their home runs back in 2018. Iowa also has 80 percent of its stolen bases back (52 of 65).
• On the mound, Iowa has seven pitchers returning, but it will be a new-look staff under first-year pitching coach Desi Druschel. The Hawkeyes bring back 43.6 percent (17 of 39) of their wins, 40 percent (6 of 15) of their saves, 39.8 percent (187 of 470) of their strikeouts, and 36.8 percent (200 of 543 2/3) of their innings pitched.
• Of Iowa’s 33-man roster, 10 are freshman, eight are sophomores, 11 are juniors, and four are seniors.
• Iowa has 20 Iowa natives on the roster — the most of any state. Eight Hawkeyes hail from Illinois, two from Missouri, and one from Indiana, South Dakota, and Canada.
• The Hawkeyes have two sets of junior college teammates on the 2018 roster. Tyler Cropley and Matt Hoeg were teammates for two seasons at Iowa Western Community College, while Chris Whelan and Brady Schanuel were teammates in 2016 at Parkland Community College.
• Iowa has two sets of high school teammates; Zach Daniels and Matt Berst (Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School) and Connor Lindaman and Trenton Wallace (Davenport Assumption High School).
Iowa’s team captains for the 2018 season are senior Tyler Cropley, redshirt junior Nick Allgeyer, junior Robert Neustrom, and redshirt sophomore Kyle Shimp.
SILVER MEDALISTS IN TAIWAN
Iowa made history when it represented the United States at the 2017 World University Games in Taiwan. Competing as the USA Team, Iowa claimed the silver medal, becoming the first American team to medal in Universiade history. Iowa went 5-2 during the two-week stretch before falling to Japan in the gold medal game.
DEFENDING B1G TOURNEY CHAMPS
• Iowa went 4-1 during a four-day stretch to claim the program’s first Big Ten Tournament title in school history in 2017. It was the second straight year the team advanced to the title game.
• The Hawkeyes won three games over higher seeded teams — fourth-seeded Maryland, top-seeded Nebraska, and third-seeded Minnesota — to reach the title game. Iowa defeated eighth-seeded Northwestern, 13-4, to claim the title.
• Returning All-Big Ten selection Robert Neustrom ranked third in the Big Ten in hits (79) last season. It’s the top returning total in the league.
• Iowa finished the 2017 season ranked in the top three in the Big Ten in nine offensive categories. Iowa led the league in slugging percentage (.449), hits (594), RBIs (346), and total bases (938), while being second in runs (376), doubles (113), and home runs (71), and third in batting average (.284) and on-base percentage (.377).
• Iowa finished 19-4 at home during the 2017 season, running its record to 52-14 at Banks Field since the start of the 2015 season. The 19 wins were the most by the team since winning 1989 (19-2).
• Iowa has 10 walk-off victories at Duane Banks Field since the start of 2015.
DEFENSE DOES IT
• Iowa finished in a tie for second nationally with 67 double plays — an Iowa school record — in 2017 and the team ranked 24th with a .978 team fielding percentage.
IOWA SET SINGLE-SEASON K RECORD
The Iowa pitching staff set the single-season strikeout record for a second straight season in 2017. Iowa finished with 470 strikeouts in 61 games, averaging 7.7 punch outs per contest. The squad shattered the previous record of 382 strikeouts set in 2016.
The Hawkeyes have been built on pitching and defense under UI head coach Rick Heller.
• Iowa has ranked in the top 24 nationally in the nation in team fielding percentage in each of the past three seasons. The Hawkeyes have been in the top four in the Big Ten throughout Heller’s tenure.
• Iowa has posted team ERA records in 2015 and 2016 (2.95 in 2015, 3.56 in 2016), ranking in the top four in the conference in both seasons. The Hawkeyes set school strikeout records in 2016 and 2017.
COACHING STAFF CHANGES
• Marty Sutherland was promoted to associate head coach in the offseason. He also serves as recruiting coordinator.
• Desi Drushchel was promoted to an assistant coach after serving as the director of baseball operations for three seasons.
• Nic Ungs joins the coaching staff as the director of baseball operations. Ungs played for Rick Heller at Northern Iowa and played professional baseball for 11 seasons.
• UI head coach Rick Heller is one of nine coaches all-time to lead three different NCAA Division I teams to regional play.
• Heller recorded his 800th career win against Lehigh on March 12 at the Snowbird Classic in Florida.
• The Hawkeyes have won 30 or more games in each of Heller’s four seasons as the helm of the program. It’s a first for the team since winning 30 or more in seven straight seasons from 1979-85.
• Heller has led the Hawkeyes to two NCAA Regional appearances in three seasons; the program had three regional appearances in its history prior to his arrival.
• Heller is fourth in school history in career wins with 140 in his four seasons at Iowa, including the second (41) and fifth-most (39) in school history.
• Heller led Iowa to its first Big Ten Tournament title in 2017 — the first conference title since 1990 — and he guided the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten Tournament title game in consecutive seasons. Iowa has advanced to the league tournament in four straight years for the first time in program history.
• Heller has coached at least one first-team All-Big Ten selection each season, and has 15 Major League Baseball Draft picks in four seasons — the most in a four-year stretch in school history.
• Iowa had a school-record six All-Big Ten selections in 2015 and five in 2017. The Hawkeyes have had 18 All-Big Ten honorees in four seasons under Heller.
• Iowa has posted winning streaks of nine games (in 2015) and eight games (in 2017) — the longest streaks for the program since 2012.
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes on Facebook/iowabaseball, Twitter: @UIBaseball, and Instagram/UIBaseball in addition to coverage on hawkeyesports.com.
SEASON TICKETS ON SALE
Season tickets for the 2018 Iowa home schedule are on sale now through the UI Athletics Ticket Office online at hawkeyesports.com 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 27 home games in 2018.