Notebook: Iowa comes off mediocre weekend


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Iowa head baseball coach Rick Heller met with members of the media on Tuesday to discuss his team as well as its upcoming slate of games.

The Hawkeyes are coming off of a busy spring-break trip involving seven games in nine days, posting a 4-3 record combined against Houston Baptist and Kansas.

The Black and Gold will return to action today as they host Bradley at Banks Field.

Bouncing back against Baptist

The Hawkeyes started off their road trip on a bit of a sour note, dropping the opening two games against Houston Baptist by a combined score of 12-2.

The losses were the first set of back-to-back games the Hawkeyes have dropped all season.  The Hawks responded, however, leaning on experience and veteran leadership to win their final two games.

“This team is a mature, older team, and they have a professional approach where they just go out and play the game,” Heller said. “We don’t dwell on things. We wipe them away and keep playing.”

That’s not to take any credit away from the competition, either.

“We kind of got caught on our heels a little bit playing against a good team,” junior Jake Mangler said. “They were ready to go, and we weren’t, so once we got back to our game, we picked up the next two.”

Hawks survive pitching hiccups

The Iowa pitching staff was uncharacteristically shaky in the team’s second series against Kansas, particularly in the rubber match on Sunday. 

Starter Calvin Matthews only made it through 4.2 innings pitched despite throwing more than 90 pitches. 

Ten hits and 7 walks given up by six different Iowa pitchers threatened to unravel the Hawkeyes throughout the game, but the Hawks got some timely defense and clutch hitting to bail them out.

They bombed 14 hits of their own, including 3 home runs, in the 6-2 win over the Jayhawks.

“You just have to go out and throw strikes, that’s the main thing,” Matthews said.  “Our starters can go out and throw strikes and go seven or eight innings, but when you start to lose the strike zone is when you get into trouble.”

Home sweet home

After nearly a month and a half of traveling through much of the southeastern United States, the Hawks will finally have the luxury of hosting a weekend series for the first time this year.

Besides a glorified exhibition match against AIB on March 11, 18 of Iowa’s first 19 games have been played on the road or at neutral sites.

Needless to say, the Hawks are more than ready to take on Indiana from the familiarity of Banks Field this weekend. 

“Getting to play at home on our own field for a weekend is going to be great for once,” Mangler said.  “Especially after being gone for 10 days in Kansas and Houston, it’ll be nice to be in Iowa City.”

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

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