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Roscetti ready to step in at shortstop

BY IAN MURPHY | FEBRUARY 04, 2015 5:00 AM

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For three years, Jake Yacinich anchored the Hawkeye infield at shortstop.

In his last season with the program, Yacinich hit for a .365 average, the highest among starters, and had 76 hits, the most on the team. He was picked by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the eighth round of the 2014 MLB draft.

Enter Nick Roscetti, the new Hawkeye shortstop. The junior was a utility player last season and started 16 games and played in 33 for the Hawkeyes.

With expectations high for the new season under second-year head coach Rick Heller, Roscetti believes he can step right into Yacinich’s shoes.

“Yac was a huge player last year,” Roscetti said. “He’s teaching me a lot; he’s been at practice a little bit.”

That practice time included making sure the new shortstop would be ready both mentally and physically.

Roscetti, who has played shortstop for his entire career, believes he is ready to fill in with the spot available. He’s earned the confidence of his coach as well.

“Defensively, we’re not going to miss a whole lot,” Rick Heller said, emphasizing the junior’s performance in the fall. “Nick is really fast, he’s tall … his arm is a little bit stronger than Jake’s.”

But defense won’t be the only place the Hawkeyes are expecting an impact from Roscetti.

Heller said the coaching staff challenged the 6-3, 175-pound infielder to put on weight and make swing adjustments over the summer. He also noted the junior responded with an impressive performance in the fall.

“With his knowing he’s the guy, he’s a different guy,” Heller said. “He carries himself different.”

And that’s a difference the Hawkeyes will need if they want to meet the high expectations that surround the program this season. Big things are expected, not only of Roscetti but of the whole team after a 30-win season in 2014.

“We’ve got to come out with the same fire,” senior Eric Toole said. “I think we’ve got the Hawk fans back for Iowa baseball.”

The former shortstop, Yacinich, also believes Roscetti will be a difference maker. Yacinich sent Heller a note in the fall endorsing Roscetti for the job and making sure the head coach knew Roscetti would be the man at shortstop when the snow melts in the spring.

That vote of confidence is echoed by current members of the team as well.

“He’s played before; he knows how to do the role,”Toole said. “I think he’ll do a great job there.”

Roscetti has filled in at various infield positions throughout his Hawkeye career, noting his No. 1 priority is helping the team secure a win. However, with shortstop open, he knows the time is now for him to make a significant impact with the Hawkeyes.

“It’s a big job, but I think I can do it,” Roscetti said. “Shortstop is where I want to be.”

Follow @IanFromIowa on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa baseball team.


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