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AIB’s players set for Iowa

BY IAN MURPHY | MARCH 11, 2015 5:00 AM

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When the news broke that the athletics programs would be shut down when AIB College of Business gifted itself to the University of Iowa, many athletes left their teams.

The baseball team was no exception — 15 of the team’s 42 players left following the announcement of the change.

That number has dwindled since, and 31 players will suit up today when AIB is scheduled to take on the Hawkeyes at Banks Field.

Even with questions about the future looming, the Eagles’ focus will be on the task at hand — a baseball game. Both the AIB head coach and some of his players said they have no hard feelings toward Hawkeye head coach Rick Heller’s squad.

“The Iowa baseball program, coaching staff, players — none of them had anything to do with what has happened over the last few weeks,” Eagle head coach Chad Harris said. “We’re all out there doing the same thing; we all have a passion for baseball.”

That passion for the game is apparent in the 31 members of the team who stayed to send off the baseball program.

“We’re all pretty bummed out that they’re taking away athletics and the school,” senior Bryce Maschino said. “We were under the assumption that we we’re going to have athletics and leave a legacy.”

This is only the second season for the AIB baseball program, which competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Eagles were picked to finish second in the Midwest Collegiate Conference in the preseason coaches’ poll.

This season already includes a win over the No. 12 association baseball team in the country, a 9-7 win over St. Thomas.

The Eagles went 24-19 in 2014, and they have started the year off 4-6 while Iowa enters the game with a 9-2 record. The Eagles say today’s game against the Hawkeyes will not be a source of extra motivation.

“At this point I don't see it as any extra motivation,” Harris said. “We’re just excited to go out and play baseball against a Big Ten opponent and a local team.”

The players, like their coach, do not have hard feelings toward Iowa.

“The [gift] in general gives us more motivation, but not for this particular game,” Maschino said. “We’re just treating this like any other game.”

Maschino’s teammate junior Sawyer Ocheltree had a similar belief.

“For the season overall we have the same goals,” Ocheltree said. “It’s a tough situation to be in, but we just have to put it in the rearview mirror.”

Ocheltree said he plans to transfer following this season to finish out his baseball career, and he is considering Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.

As for the rest of the Eagles’ season, the players believe they can play against the best.

“We believe we can play with anybody,” Maschino said. “Our goal is to win a conference championship.”

Harris, however, best described his team’s chances for today’s game against the university that decided to shut down the program.

“Anything can happen in baseball,” he said.

Follow @IanFromIowa for analysis, news, and updates from the Iowa baseball team.


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