• Winning seven of their last eight games, including a two-game, midweek sweep over Kansas, the University of Iowa baseball team’s 2020 season came to a halting end because of the Corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic. With the NCAA and Big Ten cancelling all spring competition, the Hawkeyes finished the 2020 shortened season at 10-5. The 15-game start was Iowa’s best since 2015.
• Iowa’s 10-5 record was tied atop the Big Ten standings with Maryland and Penn State. The Hawkeyes led the conference in batting average (.295) and fielding percentage (.980), ranked second in batting average against (.217), and fourth in ERA (3.39). Iowa’s .980 fielding percentage ranked 25th in the NCAA.
• The Hawkeyes went 3-1 against top-25 opponents. Iowa owned the best RPI (38) in the Big Ten.
• Iowa went 3-0 at Duane Banks Field this season, outscoring opponents, 26-3, improving its home record to 95-27 since the start of the 2015 season. This year marks the fewest games played at home since the opening of Duane Banks Field in 1974.
• Head coach Rick Heller won his 900th career game in Iowa’s 15-2 midweek victory over Grand View on March 3. Heller has posted 611 wins at the Division I level, including 214 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.
HEAR FROM COACH HELLER
“It was awful when I had to tell the team it was over. We’re not the only ones going through it, we will get through it and hopefully something positive comes out of it.”
“You see the amount of effort and hard work these guys have put into this and the coaching staffs and everyone else. It’s 24-7, seven days a week to get ready for the season. Then it’s gone. To not be able to play is the worst thing for anyone that loves to play. The sacrifices that were made, the amount of effort it takes to be a student-athlete…I think about the commitment and sacrifice and then not being able to see it through, it hurts.”
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
• In Iowa’s last eight games, the Hawkeyes were starting to soar, going 7-1 and out-scoring the opposition, 74-20, in that span, with their only hiccup coming in a 6-4 loss to Army.
• In the eight-game stretch, Iowa’s offense posted a .327 batting average with a .429 on-base percentage, scoring 9.3 runs per game. The Hawkeyes recorded 10+ hits in six of their final eight games.
• Iowa’s pitching staff allowed only 16 earned runs in 71 innings for a 2.08 ERA. The Hawkeyes struck out 81 batters to only 24 walks over the last eight games, limiting hitters to a .213 average.
• Defensively, Iowa registered a .993 fielding percentage, recording only two errors (both against Army) in 295 chances over the last eight games. Iowa tallied a five-game streak without an error.
JUNIOR IZAYA FULLARD…
• led Iowa and the Big Ten in RBIs (21), ranking 25th in the nation and 18th in the country in RBIs per game (1.40). He was on track to shatter his RBI total (31) in 52 games as a sophomore. Fullard owned a five-game streak of multi-RBI games, driving in 16 runs in Iowa’s last seven games.
• hit a team-best .400 (24-of-60) in 15 games with a team-leading seven multi-hit games, including a streak of six straight games. He hit safely in 11 of 15 games and his .400 batting average tied for fifth in the Big Ten.
• led Iowa and ranked second in the conference with 19 runs scored. His 1.27 runs per game ranked 29th in the country.
WHERE DO THEY RANK IN THE BIG TEN?
• The Hawkeyes led the conference in RBIs (98), ranked second in runs scored (108), third in on-base percentage (.391) and hits, (148) and fifth in slugging percentage (.408).
• Fullard tied for fourth in hits (24), tied for sixth in total bases (35), and ranked ninth in slugging percentage (.583).
• Senior Zeb Adreon led the team in on-base percentage (.462), which tied for the ninth best.
• Senior Ben Norman’s 18 runs scored tied for the third most, and his five steals tied for the eighth most. Iowa’s 15 steals tied for the fifth most. Norman also drew a team-best 11 walks — the 11th-most in the Big Ten.
• Freshman Peyton Williams tallied 16 RBIs, which were the most by a Big Ten freshman and tied for fifth most.
• Redshirt sophomore Jack Dreyer’s .171 batting average against ranked fifth best.
• Dreyer (11th, 21.2) and senior Grant Judkins (t15th, 21.0) ranked top-15 in innings pitched.
• Closer and redshirt senior Grant Leonard ranked second in saves (4) and tied for third in appearances (7).
• The Hawkeyes won all three of their midweek games and are 35-7 in such games since 2016.
• After Fullard, Zeb Adreon (.333), Peyton Williams (.298), Ben Norman (.295), and Austin Martin (.277) led Iowa in batting average.
• Williams finished the season on a team-best 11-game hitting streak. Adreon and Dylan Nedved had reached base safely in their last 11 games.
• Four Hawkeyes hit at least one home run. Fullard and Williams tied for the team lead with two.
• Williams and Fullard also tied for the team lead with multi-RBI games (6).
• Senior Matthew Sosa was second on the team in multi-hit games (5), and he batted .316 (12-of-38) in 11 starts at third base.
Iowa outscored opponents…
• 108-58 in 15 games this season.
• 18-1 in the ninth inning, and 53-33 in the final three innings (plus extras).
• 8-0 when leading after six innings.
• 8-1 when scoring first.
• 8-0 when committing zero errors.
WEEKEND ROTATION NOTES
• Iowa’s weekend starting rotation of LHP Jack Dreyer, RHP Grant Judkins, and RHP Duncan Davitt, went 4-2 in 12 starts with a 3.53 ERA and a .203 batting average against. The trio struck out 60 batters in 58 2/3 innings, issuing only 23 walks.
• As Iowa’s Friday night starter, Dreyer (2-1, 3.32 ERA) limited hitters to a .171 batting average, which was the fifth-best in the Big Ten. He pitched a seven-inning complete game shutout against Western Michigan, allowing only three hits and fanning seven.
• Judkins (2-0, 3.00 ERA) posted 4.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio (24 Ks, 5 BBs) over 21 innings. He held hitters to .208 batting average and recorded two quality starts — both against ranked opponents. The Pella, Iowa, native, allowed two or fewer runs in three of four starts and recorded at least five strikeouts in every start. He took home his second Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor of his career on Feb. 25 after throwing six-shutout innings in Iowa’s win over No. 18 Arizona.
• Davitt (0-1, 4.50 ERA) was Iowa’s Sunday starter. He made four starts, with his best against San Diego, allowing one run on three hits over four innings.
THE GRANT LEONARD FILE
• Redshirt senior Grant Leonard (1-1, 5.68 ERA) followed up his record-breaking junior year with a solid senior campaign. In seven appearances, he recorded four saves in five chances — the second most in the Big Ten and 17th most nationally.
• Leonard’s four saves this season brought his career total to 20, which is tied for the second most in Hawkeye history with Tim Gudex (2004-06). Kurt Belger (1993-97) holds the program record with 22 career saves.
• Leonard racked up three preseason accolades: second-team preseason All-America by the NCBWA, third-team preseason All-America by Collegiate Baseball, and was one of 70 players in the country selected to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List.
• Junior Trenton Wallace and Dylan Nedved made an impact on the mound and in the batter’s box.
• Wallace, a left-handed pitcher and outfielder, from Rock Island, Illinois, made five appearances out of the bullpen, posting a 1.59 ERA, and started four games at DH and two in left field, batting .529 (9-of-17) with one home run, three doubles, and five RBIs. He struck out 18 batters and issued only two walks in 11 1/3 innings of work, allowing only seven hits with just two going for extra bases.
• Nedved, a junior college transfer from Shawnee, Kansas, started 10 games in the field (five at shortstop, three at third bases, and two at DH), hitting .308 (12-of-39) with 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored. The right-hander also came out of the bullpen in high leverage situations. He went 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in five appearances, spanning 6 2/3 innings. He recorded seven strikeouts, while limiting opposing batters to a .100 average.
COMEBACK KIDS AT THE CCC
• At the CambriaCollegeClassic, the Hawkeyes squared off against three ACC teams, going 2-1 with wins over No. 20 North Carolina and No. 14 Duke.
• The Hawkeyes had to rally in all three contests, allowing a run in the first inning to all three opponents, but scored 14 of its 18 runs in the seventh inning beyond.
• Iowa’s wins over North Carolina and Duke were the first time the Hawkeyes successfully overcame deficits this season in six tries.
• Against North Carolina, Iowa scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, before senior Austin Martin hit a walk-off home run to beat the Tar Heels, 5-4, on the final swing of the game. It was Martin’s first home run of the season.
• The Hawkeyes trailed 2-0 after the first inning, 4-2 through five, and 5-3 through 7 1/2 innings. In the seventh, Izaya Fullard hit a go-ahead, three-run home run, giving the Hawkeyes a 6-5 lead. Iowa would go onto win 7-5 for its second straight comeback victory.
• Senior Zeb Adreon, who hit .500 (5-of-10) with two RBIs during the tournament, was named to the CambriaCollegeClassic All-Tournament team.
MORE HAWKEYE HIGHLIGHTS
• In Iowa’s season-opening 3-1 win against Kent State (Feb. 14), Jack Dreyer struck out eight hitters in five innings to earn the win in his first start since last year’s season-ending injury.
• Ben Norman went 4-for-4 and was on base five times on his birthday in Iowa’s 7-2 win over Saint Joseph’s (Feb. 15). Norman’s four hits tied a career high and he also scored twice and stole two bases.
• Behind six scoreless innings of two-hit ball by Grant Judkins and Peyton Williams’ first career home run, Iowa secured its first win over a ranked opponent, downing No. 18 Arizona (Feb. 22), 4-1, in game two of the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament.
• Dreyer threw a seven-inning complete game shutout in Iowa’s 10-0 run-rule victory over Western Michigan (March 6). It was Iowa’s first seven-inning complete game since Steve Turnbull in 2008 (against Minnesota) and Iowa’s first complete game shutout since Tyler Peyton in 2016 against Penn State. (Peyton’s was a nine-inning shutout). Five different Hawkeyes recorded multi-hit games in the win.
• The Hawkeyes exploded for a 12-run ninth inning against Georgetown (March 7) en route to an emphatic 22-2 victory, to extend Iowa’s winning streak to five games. Fullard led all Hawkeyes, going 4-for-6 with five RBIs and four runs scored, which all set or tied career highs.
• Iowa’s season ended with a two-game midweek sweep over Kansas, where the Hawkeyes outscored the Jayhawks 11-1, allowing only 10 hits in 18 innings.
• Nine Iowa newcomers made their Hawkeye debuts this season.
• Junior college transfer Ben Beutel made five appearances out of the bullpen. He escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the sixth inning of Iowa’s come-from-behind win over No. 14 Duke (March 1).
• Redshirt freshman Brayden Frazier made his Hawkeye debut as a pinch hitter against Saint Joseph’s (Feb. 15). He made his first career start at San Diego, recording his first career hit and RBI.
• Redshirt sophomore Jack Guzek made all of his appearances out of the bullpen without giving up a run in 3 1/2 innings.
• Freshman infielder Sam Link made his Iowa debut as a pinch-hitter at San Diego (Feb. 23), singling for his first career hit. In his first career start at DH against No. 8 NC State (Feb. 28), he recorded his first two RBIs of his career.
• Freshman catcher Tyler Snep pinch hit against Grand View (March 3) for his Iowa debut. In his first career start against Kansas (March 10), he went 1-for-4 to record his first career hit.
• Freshman Paul Vossen started his first career game at DH against No. 20 North Carolina (Feb. 29).
DON’T COUNT ‘EM OUT
• Iowa posted two comeback wins of the season in consecutive days at the CambriaCollegeClassic.
• The Hawkeyes posted 16 come-from-behind victories last season, including four in walk-off fashion.
• The Hawkeyes have overcome deficits to win 51 games since the start of the 2017 season and posted 14 walk-offs. Twenty-six of those victories have come with Iowa trailing or being tied entering or through seven innings. Seventeen have come in the final at-bat.
• Seniors Justin Jenkins, Grant Judkins, Grant Leonard, and Austin Martin were voted team captains prior to the season.
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 served 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 served 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, moved in a director of player development role.
• Iowa’s 36-man roster featured 10 seniors, seven juniors, seven sophomores, and 12 freshmen.
• The Hawkeye roster was made up of student-athletes from nine different states: Iowa (24), Illinois (5), Kansas (1), Arizona (1), California (1), Indiana (1), Minnesota (1), Nevada (1), and Wisconsin (1).
• Iowa had 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 had 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).
• The Hawkeyes are 95-27 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.
• Head coach Rick Heller recorded his 900th career win against Grand View in a 15-2 victory on March 3, 2020, at Duane Banks Field
• 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
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