Iowa baseball’s annual Black and Gold World Series kicks off

This week is a chance for the Hawkeyes to evaluate themselves before heading into the offseason.


Roman Slabach

Outfielder Zeb Adreon next at bat during Iowa’s game against Ontario Blue Jays at Duane Banks Field on Sept. 21, 2018.

Anna Kayser, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa baseball closes out its fall season with a three-day accumulation of the skills it has worked on throughout competition: the Black and Gold World Series.

The event — and intrasquad scrimmage — gives coaches and players a chance to look back at what the team did collectively and how each player has grown individually since August to move into the offseason.

“It’s really just a fun way to end our fall season and a chance for us to see the guys compete one last time before we shut it down and go into our offseason training,” head coach Rick Heller said. “For me, that’s what it is. I just kind of sit back, and it gives me a chance to evaluate guys before we head into the winter.”

A big focus for the offseason following this tournament will be on gaining physical ground that will go hand-in-hand with pitching and hitting workouts.

Iowa’s new hitting coach, Joe Migliaccio, has settled in well with the team and has set up the offense for success.

“I think we’ve made great progress in the six weeks or so that we’ve been going at it, so [we’ll] just continue to work hard, and improve, and try to come together as a team as much as we can before Christmas break,” Heller said.

Everything that is done from now until the season opens is with goals for the spring season in mind.

Since Heller became the Hawkeye head coach, Iowa’s baseball program has risen to one of the best in the Big Ten. It is coming off of a tough elimination from the 2018 Big Ten Tournament after bringing home the title in 2017.

“Coming into the fall from last year, we focused in on doing certain things that I think will help us when we get to the spring season,” senior Tanner Wetrich said. “Certain things with the hitting that we’ve done, defensively, I think all of those things will eventually show come springtime.”

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For Wetrich and the rest of the seniors on the team, this is the beginning of the end of their college careers.

“Pretty surreal,” Wetrich said. “I’m not really ready for this year to end, but the good thing is we’re only in the fall, and we have the rest of the year to go.”

Iowa will begin its spring season on Feb. 15 in Florida, with a home-opener set for March 6 and Big Ten play opening up on March 22 at Indiana. Playing in Iowa, these fall games are important to get a feel for playing outdoors on a field before the season opens, because there won’t be another chance during the winter months.

Also, ahead of the work that is done in the offseason, the team on the field this week will be completely different from the one out there come spring.

“I know that even though we take a look now, it’ll be dramatically different, hopefully with the skill improvement and the strength and speed improvement that guys will make during the offseason,” Heller said.

Iowa’s Black and Gold World Series begins today and ends on Oct. 12. Each game begins at 2 p.m. at Banks Field.

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