Iowa baseball set to take field at home for first time this season


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The last time Iowa played a game at Banks Field was nearly 10 months ago — a 7-6 win over then No. 16 Purdue.

The wait for the first home series of the season has been a long and arduous one for the Hawkeyes. But the squad will finally get the chance to compete at home Saturday through April 1 against another highly ranked team — No. 19 Indiana.

“Our guys can’t wait to play at home,” head coach Jack Dahm said. “We’ve already had a bunch of games canceled, and we’ve had to travel places. The wear and tear has been tough. The best thing is that our players haven’t made one excuse.”

The first time Iowa had to cancel plans for a series was the weekend of March 1-3. The Black and Gold were scheduled to play four games in Lawrence, Kan., but had to cancel because of snow and instead played their games at Little Rock, Ark.

The club’s first scheduled home series against Nebraska-Omaha was slated for March 15-18, but the series was moved to Wichita, Kan., because of snow. The next scheduled home game was March 20 against Coe College. Field conditions caused the game to be canceled.

Iowa was next scheduled to play against Creighton at home on Monday, but Mother Nature wouldn’t allow it, and the game was postponed and moved to April 23. The field wasn’t even ready for Iowa’s matchup against Indiana originally scheduled for today. The series was pushed back a day to give the field just enough time to be ready.

“It’s a proven fact that home teams win about 60 percent of the games,” Dahm said. “We’ve got a tough home schedule with a lot of good teams coming in. But teams always seem to play better at home.”

The Hoosiers will certainly be one of the toughest opponents Iowa faces this season. They are 19-3 overall and riding a 12-game winning streak in which they’ve outscored opponents 97-25. Indiana is hitting .313 as a team and has six players batting at that mark or higher. Their top hitter, Kyle Schwarber, is hitting .416 with five home runs and 6 RBIs.

Iowa will switch the rotation up slightly against those hot-swinging Hoosiers. Senior Matt Dermody, who usually throws in the second game of a series, will be the team’s ace pitcher on Saturday. Senior Andrew Hanse will take the mound on March 31, and sophomore Nick Hibbing will close out the series on April 1.

“Our goal every week is to sweep our opponent or at least win the series,” Dermody said. “Indiana is a very impressive team, so I think we have a lot of competition ahead of us.”

Iowa struggled in its first foray into Big Ten play last weekend — it managed to take only one of three games from Northwestern. The club could only push 4 runs across the plate in those three games in what was a mostly lackluster performance.

Hawkeyes first baseman Blake Hickman said the team wants things to be different this weekend, especially against such a strong opponent.

“We just want to compete on every pitch,” he said. “Last weekend, we didn’t play as well as we wanted to. We know Indiana’s a good team, but we’ll compete on every pitch and win if we can.”

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