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Iowa baseball projected fifth in conference by coaches

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 16, 2011 7:20 AM

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Big Ten baseball coaches picked Iowa to finish fifth in the conference this season and three Hawkeyes were named to a league Players to Watch list, according to a release.

2010 Big Ten champion Minnesota is the conference favorite as voted on by league baseball coaches, followed by Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State, Iowa, and Ohio State.

Coaches also selected three players from their own squads for the watch list. Iowa coach Jack Dahm chose senior third baseman Zach McCool, junior ace Jarred Hippen, and senior closer Kevin Lee.

McCool was named third team All-Big Ten in 2010 after hitting .344 with 15 extra-base hits and 36 RBI. The diminutive third baseman — listed at 5-7 — posted the team’s third-best on-base percentage (.411) and stole 12 bases.

Hippen was named to the league’s All-Tournament team in 2010 and has led the team in strikeouts the past two years. The Friday starter was 6-4 with 71 punchouts and a team-best 3.71 ERA last season.

Lee set a school record last year with 13 saves, and was a perfect 13-for-13 in save opportunities. The senior, who was also named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year watch list, picked up 14 strikeouts in 20.1 innings of work.

Iowa finished tied for third in the Big Ten last year, and advanced to the Tournament finals before falling to eventual champion Minnesota. The top six teams at the end of the season advance to the Big Ten Tournament, in Columbus, Ohio.

— by Seth Roberts


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