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The Box Score: Inside Hawkeye baseball statistics

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | FEBRUARY 25, 2014 5:00 AM

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At 6-1, the Iowa baseball team is off to its hottest start since 1985, when the Black and Gold started 8-1 and went on to win 40 games.

A team that struggled in just about every department last season has found new life under first-year head coach Rick Heller, who has guided the Hawks to the top of the Big Ten standings, and while it’s still early in the season, many are proclaiming this to be the year that Iowa finally makes an impact in the standings.

So what’s changed since last season? A quick look at the numbers reveals just about everything.

Success at the plate — 57 runs scored (1st in Big Ten)

Perhaps the biggest reason for the Hawkeyes’ success so far has been their confidence at the plate. The Hawkeyes, a team that finished 10th out of 11 teams last season in runs scored, lead the conference with 57 runs in just seven games. That’s an amazing 13 runs more than the second-place team, Nebraska.

Given their absurd run totals, it’s no surprise that the Hawks also lead the Big Ten in many individual batting categories as well.

A team batting average of .295 puts Iowa third in the conference, as does its total of 64 hits. Contrast that with the 2013 squad, which finished seventh in team batting with a middling .263 average, as well as 10th in hits with 443.

The numbers only get crazier with runners in scoring position. A .461 team slugging percentage again puts the Hawkeyes in second place, only .001 behind Nebraska, and their seven-game total of 16 stolen bases leads the Big Ten.

From top to bottom, Iowa is in the top three for nearly every major offensive category in the Big Ten. But the craziest stat out of all of this? Home runs. Iowa, which finished dead last in home runs last season (2), has tripled that number in the first two weeks of the season.

Team Pitching — Opposing team batting average .249 (2nd in Big Ten)

As dominant as the Hawkeyes have been at shelling opposing pitchers, their own rotation has been extremely effective at shutting opposing batters down.

Though the team ERA of 4.25 ties them with Michigan State for sixth in the conference, it ranks second in the Big Ten in opposing team batting average at .249. Compare that with last year, when the Hawks had the second worst opposing team batting average at .292.

Starters such as junior Andrew Hedrick and sophomore Tyler Peyton have carried the bulk of the workload, leading the Hawks to a conference high 61 strikeouts as a team.

However, they have also received solid efforts from their relievers and closers, as evidenced by their conference-high 3 saves.

Tight Defense: Team fielding percentage .960 (7th in Big Ten conference)

Sometimes a category that tends to get overlooked by the statistics community, team defense has been a major reason, along with run support, that Iowa’s pitching has been so dominant.

While their team fielding percentage of .960 puts them only seventh in the conference, the Hawks are tied for fifth in putouts with 159 and are also tied for first in stolen bases against, giving up only 1.

By contrast, the Hawkeyes of 2013 finished seventh in putouts, edging out No. 8 Michigan State by fewer than 10.


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