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Frankos sees big action midweek

BY IAN MURPHY | APRIL 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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Junior Jimmy Frankos locked up the starting catcher job a season ago, and there was little doubt he would be the starter this season.

However, a wild box cutter appeared and derailed Frankos with a nasty cut to his hand during the off-season. Since then and during his rehab, Frankos has been used sparingly, appearing in late game situations as a pinch hitter and then substituting behind the dish.

On Wednesday, Frankos got his first start at home and his most significant game action of the season, catching eight innings of Iowa’s 4-3 win over Northern Illinois.

He was pulled after an eighth-inning single as Corbin Woods came in to pinch run. Junior Daniel Aaron Moriel came in to catch for Frankos in the ninth.

For Frankos, it was important step forward in getting back to full health and regular starting time.

“It was good. I know I’ve been struggling all year,” he said. “It was good the coaches had the confidence in me.”

It also marked a veteran presence for the Hawkeyes behind the plate as head coach Rick Heller continued to use a litany of his bullpen pitchers in the midweek game.

Heller said Frankos’ leadership was key to the success of the Hawkeye pitchers, who eventually won the game in the bottom of the 11th inning with a walk-off walk drawn by junior Eric Schenke-Joblinske.

“I thought he looked really good,” Heller said. “He’s looking more and more like himself, like he did last year, so that’s a good thing for us.”

Frankos worked well behind the plate, with the only ball getting past him a wild pitch in the seventh inning. He was also solid offensively, too, with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate.

The offensive production was much needed for Frankos, who entered hitting .119 in his limited pinch-hitting opportunities.

“He had a couple good hits tonight, and that was good for us,” Heller said. “He did a really nice job tonight.”

Frankos’ veteran leadership did not go unnoticed. Junior pitcher Connor Grant said it was good to have a player like Frankos behind the plate.

Grant also noted the pitching staff feels good throwing to anyone behind the plate.

“He definitely brings comfort,” Grant said about Frankos. “Moreil does a good job, too, for us. Right now, it’s just whoever’s back there, we’re pretty comfortable as a staff having them back there.”

Moriel did catch well in relief, but Frankos’ outing was a step in the right direction to getting back to playing full time.

Heller said he liked what he saw from Frankos, calling him the best receiver on the team.

“Our guys love throwing to him,” Heller said. “He’s got a lot of experience and like I said, he does a great job receiving and blocking.”

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


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