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How to view baseball season

BY DI STAFF | MAY 07, 2014 5:00 AM

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Buy or sell: If Iowa qualifies for the Big Ten Tournament, it can make a deep run

Sheyko: Buy. Iowa has perhaps the most consistent and explosive offense in the Big Ten. When tournament time comes around, Iowa’s ability to win games with its offense will be crucial.

The real key will be the pitching. If Iowa can consistently put together solid outings on the mound, it will be a prime sleeper pick in the Big Ten Tournament.

Rodriguez: Sell. The Iowa baseball team making a Cinderella run deep into the Big Ten Tournament would be a fairy-tale ending to an uplifting season for the Hawks. However, I just don’t see it happening.

If the Hawks make the tournament, they will most likely slide in as a seven or eight seed, and while that is an accomplishment in and of itself, that means a first-round matchup against a powerhouse teams such as Indiana or Nebraska.

The Hoosiers swept Iowa at home in April, and while the Hawks took two of three from Nebraska, I’d still bet on an experienced Huskers squad come postseason time.

Buy or sell: Iowa’s season thus far should be considered a success

Sheyko: Sell. When you compare this year with last season, it has absolutely been a success. But this team is too good to compare with last year’s squad. Ask head coach Rick Heller or any players, and they’ll tell you how high their expectations for this season were.

With that and that Iowa has lost six games by 2 or fewer runs, one shouldn’t consider this season a success. It hasn’t been a failure, not by a mile, but just not a complete success. A strong finish to the season and a run in the Big Ten Tournament could change that.

Rodriguez: Buy. Heller was brought in in mid-July and was given only limited time to get to know his team and recruit before preseason play started.

Despite this, Heller has the Hawks playing some of their best baseball in years and has laid the groundwork for the success of the team in years to come.

At 26-17, Iowa has surpassed its victory total of 22 from last year, with seven games still left to play.
And while there is still a lot of baseball left, the progression is clear.  The Black and Gold have made a dramatic turnaround statistically as well, going from worst to first in a slew of offensive categories in the Big Ten.

Buy or sell: Rick Heller’s squad can pull off a win against his former team, Upper Iowa

Sheyko: Buy. Upper Iowa’s current record is 11-29. Simply put, Iowa is the better team by a long shot.

Iowa has lost midweek nonconference games to less skillful teams before — on April 15, it lost to Western Illinois, whose record at the time was 10-19. But Iowa seems to have reached some form of consistency, and the skill gap seems too vast to ignore.

Rodriguez: Buy. I’ll buy this one as well.  Although Iowa struggled in its last midweek contest against Western Illinois, the Black and Gold have been relatively solid in midweek play, splitting a home-and home midweek series with Bradley, as well as taking two in a row from Kansas in early April.

Wednesday’s matchup with Upper Iowa will serve as a tune-up for the Hawks, who will play host to a tough Illinois squad this weekend.

You can bet that Iowa’s hitters will be looking to take every opportunity to regain their confidence after a dropping two of three against Ohio State last weekend.


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