IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa baseball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten Preseason Poll, it was announced Thursday by the league office.
Michigan was selected as the preseason favorite in a vote of the league’s 13 head coaches, followed by Indiana and Ohio State in third. Maryland and Illinois rounded out the top six.
Three Hawkeyes – seniors Austin Martin and Ben Norman and junior Trenton Wallace – were named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors List. It is the second straight year Martin has been named to the list. All three players are team captains in 2021.
Martin, a catcher from Altoona, Iowa, hit .277 with three RBIs and nine runs scored in 2020. The backstop hit safely in 10 games with three multi-hit contests. Martin, who was named to the Buster Posey Watch List for a second straight season in 2020, hit a walk-off, 10th-inning home run in a 5-4 victory over No. 20 North Carolina last season.
Norman, an outfielder from Des Moines, Iowa, has started 75 consecutive games dating back to the 2018 season. Last season, Norman hit .295 with 18 runs and six RBIS and he hit safely in 12 of Iowa’s 15 games with three multi-hit contests. Norman tied for third in the Big Ten in runs (18), tied for eighth in steals (5) and tied for 10th in walks (11).
Wallace, an outfielder/left-handed pitcher from Rock Island, Illinois, was on the verge of a breakout season as a two-way player in 2020. Wallace went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in five appearances on the mound with 18 strikeouts to two walks over 11 1/3 innings. Offensively, Wallace hit .529 with one home run, three doubles, five RBIs and one run scored. Wallace will be a rotation pitcher and a starting outfielder this season.
The Hawkeyes open the season Saturday, beginning a four-game series against No. 18/21 Michigan. The series will be held at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas.