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Baseball plays broom music

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | MARCH 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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My, what a difference a year makes.

Just one year removed from a series sweep at the hands of an Indiana squad that out-scored it 25-9 over a three-game stretch, the Iowa baseball team stormed back to return the favor and swept the Hoosiers in Banks Field.

The perfect weekend saw Iowa earn its first win over the Red and White since March 2012.

“It’s exactly what we needed if we want to try to compete for a championship,” head coach Rick Heller said. “Especially today, when you have the opportunity to win three against one of the league favorites, and we did just that.”

The Black and Gold were dominant all weekend against Indiana, holding the Hoosiers to just 7 runs in three games. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 10-6 on Sunday.

“We wanted to get off on a good start especially against a good team like Indiana,” junior Tyler Peyton said.

What’s more, the resiliency of the guys was on display for anyone that cared to watch. After pitcher Calvin Matthews gave up a pair of runs in the first inning, the Hawks responded with a 5-hit, 6-run first inning of their own.

They didn’t concede the lead again.

“When the pitching has their struggles it seems like the bats pick them up, and when the bats struggle the pitching can pick it up,” senior Eric Toole said.  “We saw it this week. I just think everyone believes in everyone on this team.”

While the team Heller has put together in his sophomore season is noticeably deeper and more consistent than the one he inherited in his rookie campaign, Indiana also looks radically different from the team that so thoroughly trounced Iowa last season.

Losing four talents to MLB’s amateur draft from last year’s club, which went undefeated in the Big Ten, will do that to a team.

So if nothing else, Indiana’s situation should serve as a perfect reminder of just how quickly things can change and how rapidly the power in college baseball can shift.

Without a team like last year’s Hoosiers to dominate the Big Ten in 2015, the chance for conference supremacy is there for the taking.

“We know they’ll always compete,” Heller said. “We’ve had some days that don’t go the way we like them to, but we never give up, and you saw that today after the first inning.”

So Iowa’s window for victory is still wide open, more so than ever before. It’s up to the Hawkeyes to take advantage of it.

Continuing to get consist performances like the ones they saw this weekend from their pitching staff will be huge.

“I think if you we can continue to get good pitching like we’ve been doing, we’re going to be in most games,” Heller said. “If you have the pitching there, it’s going to keep you in the game no matter how well the bats are doing that day.”

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


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