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

Baseball seeks warm temps, hot bats

Kyle Wade, RS Freshman, throws to his partner during media day inside the Richard O. Jacobsen Football Operations building on Feb. 11, 2016. Wade spent the summer rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery. (The Daily Iowan/Mary Mathis)

Warmer weather is on the horizon for the Iowa baseball team as it heads south this weekend to play in the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida, against Indiana State, Dartmouth, and Chicago State.

The Hawkeyes (0-3) took the short end of opening weekend against Dallas Baptist from Feb. 19 through Sunday, and they will try to get back on track against a couple of familiar teams in Florida.

“I feel like we played really well last weekend, honestly,” senior Tyler Peyton said. “I just give a lot of credit to Dallas Baptist for being a really good team. But we didn’t hit the ball well. And that’s something we’re really locking in on for this weekend.”

Iowa scored 5 runs in the three-game series with Dallas Baptist, putting a lot of pressure on the pitching staff. If runs are at a premium again this weekend in Florida, the Hawkeyes will need a much more consistent effort from their hurlers.

The matchup against Indiana State today will pit head coach Rick Heller against his former team. Heller ran the Sycamore program for four years.

Indiana State (3-1) has had a solid start to its 2016 campaign, picking up wins over Oral Roberts and Arkansas-Little Rock.

“Indiana State is a really good team,” Heller said. “They got off to a good start. I think they’re set up to have a good year … they’ll be well-prepared for us. And we play themon Friday, so it’ll be two pretty good pitchers going at it.”

Peyton (0-1, 0.00 ERA) is slated to start today’s matchup for Iowa.

The Hawkeyes will take on Dartmouth on Saturday, and sophomore Indiana transfer C.J. Eldred will take the mound for his first career start for the Hawks.

The Big Green will make their season début against Iowa and will run out starting pitcher Duncan Robinson, the consensus Ivy League Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Robinson was the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year in 2015.

With the Hawkeye bats remaining dormant for much of opening weekend, Heller said the focus this week has been getting back to the basics at the plate.

“We’ve been working this week on hammering the ball the other way, which is our philosophy to begin with,” he said. “Seventy-five percent of the pitches are usually on the outer half, and if you go up there looking for the gimme on the inner-half, you’re going to be behind in the count a lot.

“I felt like we didn’t take that approach to the games, so we’ve kind of gone back to the drawing board and done a lot of drills to get our guys to find their best swing to stay in the middle of the field.”

Iowa will finish its southern trip against Chicago State (1-2), the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Chicago State dropped two-of-three from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi from Feb. 19 through Sunday.

The Hawkeye players repeatedly said they want to stick to the plan and have some fun down in Florida. After all, it beats playing in Iowa this time of year (although the temperatures on Saturday will rival those of Port Charlotte).

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