The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawkeye baseball needs to fill some holes


The Iowa baseball team’s media day is today, and every spring brings new questions regarding the team.

The Hawkeyes had one of their best seasons in recent history in 2015, finishing the year 41-18 with a 19-5 mark in the Big Ten — good enough to place the Hawkeyes second in the conference behind Illinois.

The 41 wins were the second-most in team history.

For the first time in 25 years, the Hawkeyes advanced to an NCAA regional with an at-large bid, taking on Oregon, Canisius, and Missouri State. Iowa picked up two wins versus Oregon in the regional before being eliminated by Missouri State.

But as with every college sports team, seniors graduate and things change during the offseason. With as much success as the Hawkeyes enjoyed in 2015, they are not without question marks heading into 2016.

Last season’s Saturday starter Blake Hickman was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB draft and chose to forgo his senior season at Iowa to play professionally.

Hickman posted a 9-2 record for Iowa last year with a 2.99 ERA in 84.1 innings, the second-most innings on the staff.

There are a number of hurlers vying for the role of Saturday starter, including junior Ryan Erickson, sophomores Nick Gallagher and C.J. Eldred, and freshman Shane Ritter.

Erickson and Gallagher bring experience to the table. Erickson finished 2015 with a 4-1 record with a 2.79 ERA after transferring from Johnson County (Kansas) Community College.

Gallagher posted a 2.18 ERA in 20.2 innings last year.

Ritter comes to Iowa after an outstanding prep career. The right-hander had a 0.67 ERA with 99 strikeouts in his senior year and was the ninth-ranked prospect in Illinois.

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Eldred, originally from Mount Vernon, Iowa, transferred to Iowa from Indiana in 2014 and is set to compete for the Hawkeyes in 2016. He is yet to pitch in college.

“He attacks hitters, which is what we preach to our guys,” head coach Rick Heller said about Eldred in a release. “He’s not a hard thrower in today’s sense, but he will run it up into the upper 80s. His strength is his sinker. He gets a lot of ground balls and lets his defense play behind him.”

The Hawkeyes also have numerous holes in the outfield in 2016, after losing starters Eric Toole and Kris Goodman to graduation. The duo combined for 79 runs and 54 RBIs last season.

Senior Joel Booker will more than likely start in right field after starting all 59 games there in 2015.

After Booker, there are three players on the roster who have started games in the outfield, all in left field. Senior Eric Schenck-Joblinske started nine games in 2015 and hit .140. Senior John Barrett started six games and hit .152. Junior Devin Pickett started one game in left field and did not record a hit in six at-bats.

The Hawkeyes also lose a starter at third base. Nick Day started 37 games there for Iowa in 2015, and Goodman added 21 at the hot corner. Junior Corbin Woods is the only other player on the roster who has a start at third base, one coming against Milwaukee.


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