|Date:||Feb. 14-16, 2020|
|Location:||Port Charlotte, Fla. | North Charlotte Regional Park #9 | CoolToday Park|
|Game Notes:||IOWA | Kent State | Saint Joseph’s | Pittsburgh|
|2019 Statistics||IOWA | Kent State | Saint Joseph’s | Pittsburgh|
|Radio/Streaming:||Hawkeye Radio Network | Hawkeye All-Access ($)|
|Live Stats:||Game 1 | Game 2| Game 3|
|Game 1 | Feb. 14 | 3 p.m. (CT)||2019 Stats|
|Pitching Matchup:||Iowa: LHP Jack Dreyer (1-0, 2.45 ERA, 2 GS)|
|KSU: RHP Luke Albright (4-1, 2.81 ERA, 14 APP, 2 GS)|
|Game 2 | Feb. 15 | 2 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup:||Iowa: RHP Grant Judkins (4-7, 2.72 ERA, 15 GS)|
|SJU: RHP Hayden Seig (1-4, 6.20 ERA, 19 APP, 3 GS)|
|Game 3 | Feb. 16 | 10 a.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup:||Iowa: RHP Duncan Davitt (2-1, 5.22 ERA, 4 GS, 17 APP)|
|PITT: RHP Matt Gilbertson (10-1, 2.39 ERA – JUCO)|
• The University of Iowa baseball team begins the regular season at the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida.
• The Hawkeyes face Kent State on Friday at 3 p.m. (CT), Saint Joseph’s on Saturday at 2 p.m., and Pittsburgh on Sunday at 10 a.m. Saturday’s game will be played at CoolToday Park, the new Spring Training home of the Atlanta Braves. Friday and Sunday’s games will be played at North Charlotte Regional Park #9.
• All Iowa games will be available via the Hawkeye Radio Network with Morgan Hawk on the call. The games can be heard on Hawkeye All-Access, the TuneIn radio app (search Iowa Hawkeyes and it is on Iowa baseball channel), and stations across the state. This week’s radio schedule is:
Friday: KKFD 95.9 FM in Fairfield, WDBQ FM107.5 in Dubuque
Saturday: KKFD 95.9 FM in Fairfield, WDBQ FM107.5 in Dubuque
Sunday: KKFD 95.9 FM in Fairfield
• All three games will also be available to watch on FloLive, a subscription-based streaming service.
• Live stats are available on hawkeyesports.com and fans can follow along on Twitter @UIBaseball.
• The Hawkeyes are coming off a 31-24 campaign in 2019, with 10 wins over ranked opponents and a streak of six straight series wins. It was head coach Rick Heller’s sixth straight 30-win season, which is Iowa’s longest stretch since 1979-85.
• Heller enters the 2020 season six wins shy of 900 career victories. He has posted 605 wins at the Division I level, including 204 at Iowa, with another 289 coming at Division II Upper Iowa. Heller is one of four coaches at the University of Iowa with at least 200 wins.
• The Hawkeyes are picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten Conference by Perfect Game and Baseball America and seventh by D1Baseball.
• Seniors Grant Judkins, Grant Leonard, and Austin Martin were named to the Big Ten’s Presesaon Honors List. Those three Hawkeyes along with senior Justin Jenkins were voted team captains in January.
• Redshirt senior Grant Leonard is seven saves from breaking Iowa’s career saves record set by Kurt Belger (1993-97). Fourteen of Leonard’s 16 career saves came last season to set a single season Iowa record.
• Iowa returns its top two hitters — junior Izaya Fullard (.307) and Austin Martin (.294) — who led Iowa in batting average. Martin led Iowa in multi-hit games (18), while starting all but six games at catcher. Fullard posted a 12-game hitting streak and 23-game on base streak last season to lead the Hawkeyes.
• The Hawkeyes will play 23 home contests at Duane Banks Field with its home opener set for March 3 against Grand View. Iowa is 91-27 at home since the start of the 2015 season.
• Iowa has advanced to the postseason in each of Heller’s six seasons, which includes two NCAA Regional appearances (2015, 2017).
• Highlighted by series wins over No. 19 Oklahoma State, No. 23 Illinois, No. 30 Nebraska, and No. 18 UC Irvine, the Hawkeyes finished last season with a 31-24 overall record to mark Iowa’s and head coach Rick Heller’s sixth straight 30-win season. Iowa’s six straight seasons of 30 or more wins is the longest stretch since posting seven straight 30-win seasons from 1979-85.
• Finishing sixth in the Big Ten at 12-12, Iowa qualified for the Big Ten Tournament for a record sixth straight season. Iowa upset top-seeded Indiana in the first round, before bowing out of the conference tournament with losses to Nebraska and Minnesota.
• Iowa’s six straight series wins from March 29 to May 4 were the most consecutively since 2015.
IOWA BY THE NUMBERS
• Iowa returns five starters, its designated hitter, 2/3 of its starting rotation, 11 total pitchers, and 22 letterwinners in 2020.
• Offensively, the Hawkeyes return 71.7 percent (180-251) of their RBIs, 69.5 percent (347-499) of their hits, 69 percent (20-29) of their home runs, 68.8 percent (64-93) of their doubles, 64.4 percent (38-59) of their stolen bases, and 63.7 percent (179-281) of their runs.
• Iowa returns its top returning hitter Izaya Fullard (.307 avg., 61 hits) and its top RBI producer (34), doubles hitter (12), and stolen base (14) threat in Ben Norman.
• The Hawkeyes have 94.4 percent (18-19) of the team’s saves, 67.9 percent (329 1/3-484 2/3) of innings pitched, 67.7 percent (21-31) of wins, and 67.4 percent (304-451) of strikeouts returning.
AROUND THE HORN
• The Iowa infield lost shortstop Tanner Wetrich and Mitchell Boe to graduation. Junior college transfer Dylan Nedved and sophomore infielder Brendan Sher are competing for the starting shortstop position..
• Junior Izaya Fullard, who spent most of last season at first base, will be Iowa’s starting second baseman.
• Senior Lorenzo Elion and junior Matthew Sosa are in competition to start at third base.
• Left-handed hitting freshman Peyton Williams and redshirt junior Tanner Padgett, who missed most of last season with a hamstring injury, are expected to platoon at first base. Padgett hit .310 (26-for-84) in 23 starts at DH last season, while Williams was tabbed as the No. 10 impact freshman in the Big Ten by D1Baseball.
PATROLLING THE OUTFIELD
• Seniors Justin Jenkins and Ben Norman will anchor the Iowa outfield in left and center field. Senior Zeb Adreon and junior Trenton Wallace are expected to see time in right field.
• Jenkins, Norman, and Adreon combined to start 241 games the last three seasons. Norman was the only Hawkeye to start all 55 games last season.
• Iowa’s starting rotation, that lost Friday-night starter Cole McDonald (6-3, 3.54 ERA) to the MLB Draft, will feature LHP Jack Dreyer, RHP Grant Judkins, and RHP Duncan Davitt for opening weekend.
• Dreyer, a redshirt sophomore from Johnston, Iowa, who missed all but two starts of 2019 with a shoulder injury, will man the No. 1 spot. In his first start of last season, he punched out 10 batters in 5 1/3 innings in Iowa’s 10-1 win over Pittsburgh. Dreyer posted a 3.69 ERA over 14 appearances in four starts as a freshman. The left-hander was rated the 28th-best MLB prospect in the Big Ten by Perfect Game, the 16th-best MLB prospect in the Big Ten by D1Baseball, and the 10th-best MLB prospect in the Big Ten by Baseball America.
• Judkins will be Iowa’s Saturday starter after serving as the Hawkeyes’ Sunday starter a year ago. From Pella, Iowa, Judkins owned the Big Ten’s seventh-best ERA (2.72) in 15 starts last season with 65 strikeouts, while limiting hitters to a .220 batting average. The right-hander was ranked as the 43rd-best MLB prospect in the Big Ten for the 2020 MLB Draft by D1Baseball.
• Davitt, a sophomore from Indianola, Iowa, claimed Iowa’s No. 3 spot in the rotation after posting a 5.22 ERA in 27 appearances and four midweek starts.
• LHP Cam Baumann, who made 14 starts in Dreyer’s absence, but missed practice time due to mono, RHP Drew Irvine, RHP Hunter Lee, and LHP Trenton Wallace, are the next starters in line.
THE GRANT LEONARD FILE
• After going a perfect 14-for-14 in save chances with a 3.37 ERA in 34 2/3 innings as a junior, redshirt senior Grant Leonard has racked up three preseason accolades: second-team preseason All-America by the NCBWA, third-team preseason All-America by Collegiate Baseball, and he is one of 70 players in the country selected to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List. Leonard is rated as the 20th-best relief pitcher in the nation by D1Baseball.
• Leonard’s 14 saves last season were a single season record. His 16 career saves are the fifth most in school history and seven shy of the school record.
IOWA CAREER SAVES
1. Kurt Belger (1993-97) 22
2. Tim Gudex (2004-06) 20
3. Reed Pawelk (2000-03) 18
4. Nick Hibbing (2012-15) 17
5. Grant Leonard (2017-pres.) 16
A LOOK AT THE ‘PEN
• Following Leonard, senior Trace Hoffman was Iowa’s go-to guy out of the bullpen in 2019. He led Iowa with 29 appearances to tie for the seventh-most in the Big Ten. The Cascade, Iowa, native tallied 26 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings.
• Junior college transer Dylan Nedved, who will see most of his time at as an infielder, is expected to be a key piece in the Hawkeye bullpen. At Hutchison CC, he went 5-2 with a 3.98 ERA in 18 appearances (11 starts), while adding 83 strikeouts over 63 1/1 innings.
• Redshirt sophomore Ben Probst returns after missing a majority of the 2019 season with Tommy John surgery. Probst is Iowa’s power arm out of the bullpen.
SCOUTING KENT STATE
• From the Mid-American Conference, Kent State finished 30-24 overall and 14-8 in league play for a third-place finish in the MAC. Last season marked the 21st consecutive season Kent State has won at least 30 games, and it was only the second season in head coach Jeff Duncan’s tenure the Golden Flashes did not win a MAC regular season or tournament title.
• Offensively, Kent State returns four hitters who hit over .300, inlcuding redshirt junior Ben Carew, who hit .406 with 89 hits, 24 stolen bases, and a .474 on-base percentage, to earn third-team All-America and first-team All-America honors.
• Iowa will face sophomore RHP Luke Albright, who sported a 2.81 ERA in 14 appearances (two starts) last season. He held hitters to a .178 batting average against.
SCOUTING SAINT JOSEPH’S
• Saint Joseph’s went 21-28 last season and 13-11 in the Atlantic-10 Conference.
• The Hawks averaged 5.9 runs per game, while allowing 6.4 runs per game. The Saint Joseph’s offense slashed .270/.365/.379 with 78 doubles and 30 home runs. The Hawks return two .300 hitters in junior outfielder Brendan Hueth and senior catcher James McConnon. Hueth stole 24 bases in 27 attempts last season.
• Senior RHP Hayden Seig, who went 1-4 with a 6.20 ERA in 19 appearances (three starts), will get the ball against Iowa. As a team, the Hawks owned a 5.34 ERA in 431 1/3 innings with 372 strikeouts.
• Led by first-year head coach Mike Bell, the Pittsburgh went 21-34 (8-22) last season.
• The Pitt lineup will be led by senior outfielder Nico Popa, who hit .353 and scored 46 runs, and sophomore Ron Washington, Jr., who hit .306. The Panther offense slashed .269/.384/.415 last season with 102 doubles and 40 home runs.
• On the mound, Pitt owned a 5.14 team ERA over 451 2/3 innings, with 460 strikeouts. Junior college transfer and RHP Matt Gilbertson is the probable starter against Iowa. In 71.2 innings at Southern Nevada Junior College, he went 10-1 with a 2.39 ERA.
• Iowa has never faced Kent State, is 1-0 all-time against Saint Joseph’s, and 2-1 all-time against Pitt, including a 10-1 over the Panthers last season.
• Iowa will play 23 home contests at Duane Banks Field with its home opener scheduled for March 3 against Grand View.
• Iowa will travel the first five weekends of the regular season, playing tournaments in Florida (Snowbird Classic), California (Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament), Minneapolis (CambriaCollegeClassic), Florida (Snowbird Classic 2), and a three-game series at Cal-State Northridge.
• The Hawkeyes will play eight games against 2019 NCAA Tournament teams, including two games against Super Regional teams and three games against the defending NCAA runner-up (Michigan).
• Iowa will play three NCAA Tournament qualifiers at the CambriaCollegeClassic at U.S. Bank Field in Minneapolis from Feb. 28-March 1 against preseason top-25 teams Duke, North Carolina, and NC State.
• Iowa will play midweek games against teams from the Big 12 (Kansas), SEC (Missouri), and Missouri Valley (Bradley) conferences, while also facing defending Horizon League champion UIC.
30 WINS X 6
Since head coach Rick Heller’s first season in 2014, the Hawkeyes have reached the 30-win plateau six straight season. It is the program’s longest stretch since posting seven straight 30-win seasons from 1979-85.
2015: 41-18 (2nd-most wins all-time)
2017: 39-22 (5th-most wins all-time)
COACHING STAFF CHANGES
• Second-year assistant coach Robin Lund will serve as Iowa’s pitching coach after working with hitters and outfielders during his first season.
• Former Hawkeye catcher and University of Iowa graduate Jimmy Frankos will serve as the Hawkeyes’ hitting coach in a volunteer assistant coaching role, replacing Tom Gorzelanny, who was last year’s volunteer assistant.
• Gorzelanny, who is in his second year with the Iowa baseball program, will move in a director of player development role.
• Iowa’s 37-man roster features 10 seniors, eight juniors, seven sophomores, and 12 freshmen.
• The Hawkeye roster is made up of student-athletes from nine different states: Iowa (24), Illinois (5), Kansas (2), Arizona (1), California (1), Indiana (1), Minnesota (1), Nevada (1), and Wisconsin (1).
• Iowa has two sets of junior college teammates. Zeb Adreon, Austin Martin, and Trace Hoffman were teammates at Southeastern Community College, while Izaya Fullard, Hunter Lee, and Adam Ketelsen were teammates at Kirwkood Community College. Junior Lorenzo Elion also played with Lee and Ketelsen at Kirkwood in 2017.
• The Hawkeyes also have four sets of teammates who played together in high school: Brendan Sher and Duncan Davitt (Indianola); Izaya Fullard and Connor McCaffery (Iowa City West); Trenton Wallace and Ben Beutel (Davenport Assumption); Andrew Nord, Jackson Vines, Peyton Williams, and Jack Dreyer (Johnston).
DON’T COUNT ‘EM OUT
• The Hawkeyes posted 16 come-from-behind victories last season, including four in walk-off fashion.
• The Hawkeyes have overcome deficits to win 49 games since the start of the 2017 season and posted 13 walk-offs. Twenty-four of those victories have come with Iowa trailing or being tied entering or through seven innings. Sixteen have come in the final at-bat.
• The Hawkeyes are 91-27 at home since the start of the 2015 season.
• Iowa won 19 games last season, the third-most in a single-season in school history, trailing only the 22 wins in 1977 and 20 wins in 2018.
• Iowa has 16 walk-off victories at Duane Banks Field since the start of 2015.
• 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. Heller won his 200th game at Iowa on May 1 in a victory over Western Illinois.
• The Hawkeyes have won 30 or more games in each of
Heller’s six 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; the program had three regional appearances in its history prior to his arrival.
• Heller is fourth in school history in career wins with 204 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 six straight years for the first time in program history.
• Heller has coached at least one first-team All-Big Ten
selection in five of his first six seasons, and has 21 Major League Baseball Draft picks in six seasons — the most in a six-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 23 All-Big Ten honorees in six 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 2020 season 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 23 home games in 2020.