Goodman at home in any position

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | MAY 07, 2015 5:00 AM

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For senior Kris Goodman, home is wherever the team needs him to play.

After an early season injury forced starting third-basemen Nick Day out of the lineup for a large chunk of the 2015 seasosn, Goodman, a natural left fielder, was called upon to fill the gap at third.

Roughly 25 games later, the Minnesota native looked like he was starting in the role he was born to play.

“Kris did an unbelievable job at third base for us, honestly,” head coach Rick Heller said. 

“Defensively, he did as good a job as anybody could have asked.”

Goodman’s demeanor and presence at the hot corner was one of a calm, cool vet. Filling in at arguably the most vital infield position on the team, Goodman didn’t just plug the hole left by Day — he excelled.

The Hawks are in the midst of their best season in 25 years, needing just one more victory to hit the 35-victory threshold for the first time in Heller’s two-season tenure at Iowa.

And while there are more than enough capable ballplayers up and down the roster, Goodman’s run at third has without a doubt been a huge factor in the team’s success.

The owner of a .950 fielding percentage to go along with a stellar .455 batting average, Goodman was a difference-maker in nearly every facet of the game.

While a fully-recouped Day has allowed Goodman to slot back into left, his time at third was well-spent.

“It was a little different [being back in left-field] for the first time in a while,” Goodman said after the Hawks’ 7-5 victory over Western Illinois on Tuesday.  “But the outfield, it’s a home as well.

“It’s fun to be able to play a lot of different positions.”

It’s true third base may not be Goodman’s chosen role with the Hawkeyes, but his time there was hardly virgin territory.

Goodman excelled as an infielder at Apple Valley High before coming to Iowa and making the transition to left.

“Kris played a lot of infield in high school, so he was definitely familiar with third,” senior Jake Mangler said. “He did an awesome job when Nick was gone, and now that we have him back, we get one of our best outfielders back as well.”

Day’s return to the lineup not only gives the Hawkeyes one of their better bats, it lets Heller and Company reunite Goodman with senior Eric Toole and junior Joel Booker in the outfield.

It’s an outfield that, in Heller’s mind, is one of the best in the league.

“Not only do we get Nick’s bat back, we can put our best defense together as well,” Heller said.  “When we have our outfield of Eric, Joel, and Kris, I’d put that outfield up against anybody out there.”

Heading into their final home series of the season against Minnesota this weekend, the Hawks now boast the most complete and healthiest roster they’ve had all year.

With Goodman back where he belongs, the Hawks have all the makings of a potential postseason powerhouse.

“With Booker in right and Toole in center, plus Kris, there’s not much that’s going to fall out there,” Mangler said. 

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

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