Hawkeye baseball breaks out


What to know: 

The Hawkeye baseball team is no longer a Big Ten bottom feeder under second-year head coach Rick Heller. 

The hype around the Hawkeyes is real, and if you build it, he will come. Iowa won at least 30 games in a row for two-consecutive seasons for the first time since 1989 and 1990. This past season, Heller’s squad competed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years and won its first postseason game in 43 years.

Count on Iowa to continue building into a Big Ten power. 

Whom to Know:

The Hawkeyes don’t hit a lot of home runs, but they do pitch well. 

Blake Hickman was Iowa’s Saturday starter last season, and the hard-throwing right hander has a fastball that touched the mid-90s most of the time. 

Tyler Peyton contributes on the mound with a fastball in the low-90s and a changeup that freezes batters in the box. 

Then there’s Sunday starter Calvin Matthews, who paints every corner of the strike zone to get outs. 

Looking ahead: 

There are big plans for Banks Field in the works. Already fitted with an all turf surface, there is talk of putting grandstands all the way down the baselines as well as improving the concession areas. 

Expect the on-field product to get better, too. The more the Hawks win, which they’ve done a lot of in the past two seasons, the more the nation will pay attention.

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