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 faces tough Salukis

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)

After picking up its first two wins of the year last weekend in Florida, the Iowa baseball team (2-4) will head to Carbondale, Illinois, this weekend to take on Southern Illinois (5-3).

The Salukis are riding a four-game winning streak, including a series sweep over Western Illinois.

“[Southern Illinois] is going to be really good,” Iowa head coach Rick Heller said. “Last year, they had one of those years where they were really close and lost a lot of close games. They never quit, and that’s the report I’ve gotten from all of the guys I’ve talked to. They were a young team last year, but now I think they no longer feel that way. They have experience now and are really solid in all facets.”

Southern Illinois is yet to lose a home game this season, and it has surrendered only 6 runs in the four contests in its friendly confines.

The three starting pitchers on the Southern Illinois staff did not concede a single walk in their three-game series versus Western Illinois.

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The trio of juniors Joey Marciano and Chad Whitmer and sophomore Michael Baird all have an ERA under 2.65.

Dylin Mucha is the leading Saluki at the plate, notching hits in half of his at-bats this year.

After finally finding their stride at the plate last weekend in Port Charlotte, Florida, the Hawkeyes will look to continue that trend against the tough Saluki staff.

Senior Tyler Peyton said getting the first win of the year under their belt eases the pressure on the field.

“Getting that first win out of the way against Dartmouth was a big boost,” Peyton said. “We faced a really good pitcher there, and then it transitioned into the next game against Chicago State. We face a really good Southern Illinois team this weekend, and we’re going to need to ride that momentum from last weekend.”

The Hawkeyes were hitting .181 as a team before their Sunday matchup versus Chicago State. After a 19-hit explosion, the team boosted its average 60 points to .241. The team hit .321 overall at the Snowbird Classic.

Peyton, who has been the Hawkeye’s Friday night starter the past two years, will not take the mound on Friday because of forearm tightness.

Sophomore C.J. Eldred, who picked up the win against Dartmouth last weekend, will take Peyton’s place today. Replacing Eldred in the role of Saturday starter will be senior Ryan Erickson, who will make his first start as a Hawkeye.

The Hawkeyes have the luxury of leaning on their bullpen this weekend without Peyton if they so choose. Sophomore Nick Allgeyer, senior Tyler Radtke, and freshman Zach Daniels have yet to allow a run out of the bullpen this season.

With runs being hard to come by early this season sans Chicago State, the shaken-up rotation and reliable bullpen will play a big role.

Though they had an offensive outburst in their last game, senior Joel Booker is not satisfied with where the team’s bats are.

“We haven’t really been swinging it the way we want to,” Booker said. “But last weekend was a good start to that.”


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