Sher becoming sure-handed for Iowa baseball

Brendan Sher has used his midweek opportunities to a play a key role in Iowa’s series win over Ohio State.

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Sher becoming sure-handed for Iowa baseball

Clarke pitcher Tsubasa Maruyama pitches the ball to Iowa's Brendan Sher during a baseball game against the University of Iowa on Sunday, Mar. 31, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Pride 3-2.

Clarke pitcher Tsubasa Maruyama pitches the ball to Iowa's Brendan Sher during a baseball game against the University of Iowa on Sunday, Mar. 31, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Pride 3-2.

David Harmantas

Clarke pitcher Tsubasa Maruyama pitches the ball to Iowa's Brendan Sher during a baseball game against the University of Iowa on Sunday, Mar. 31, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Pride 3-2.

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Clarke pitcher Tsubasa Maruyama pitches the ball to Iowa's Brendan Sher during a baseball game against the University of Iowa on Sunday, Mar. 31, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Pride 3-2.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

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If there’s a midweek game on Iowa’s schedule, there’s a solid chance freshman Brendan Sher will see his name on the lineup card.

But recently, he has been on the field quite a bit, including weekend Big Ten games.

In the Hawkeyes’ nine midweek contests, Sher has taken the field five times, four of which have been starts, including Iowa’s most recent midweek win over Milwaukee. Sher then started all three games against Ohio State last weekend.

With a crowded infield that includes Izaya Fullard, Mitchell Boe, Tanner Wetrich, Matthew Sosa, and Lorenzo Elion when healthy, midweek games serve as the perfect time for Sher to develop his game.

“We’ve got so many guys on this team; everybody can play, everybody’s good — so different from what I’m used to,” Sher said. “I just kind of a get a chance to get out there [in midweek games], and have as much fun as I can, and make the most of it.”

Roman Slabach
Iowa infielder Brendan Sher throws towards first base during the baseball game against Milwaukee at Duane BanksField on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Panthers 5-4.

He has certainly taken advantage in recent weeks. Sher picked up Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors on Monday after going 6-for-15 with a .667 slugging percentage in his last four games.

He recorded the first multi-hit game of his career against Milwaukee on April 23, finishing 3-for-5 with a double and 2 runs scored, including the game-tying run in the bottom of the 11th.

He carried that momentum over to the weekend without a hitch.

RELATED: Breaking down Iowa baseball’s series win over Ohio State

Sher kept the week of firsts going by blasting his first-career home run in Iowa’s series-opening win over the Buckeyes on April 26. The Indianola, Iowa, native then posted another multi-hit game in Game 2, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Once the production came, it never stopped. Sher’s average had dropped to .174 in late March, and he entered the Milwaukee game with a .226 mark. Now, he’s up to .283.

“One of the big reasons we recruited Brendan outside of his baseball ability was the fact that he plays with a hop in his step, and he loves to play baseball,” Iowa head coach Rick Heller said. “He’s not afraid, for a freshman, to step in. He’s been in some key situations, some tight spots, and he’s played very, very well for a freshman.”

The Hawkeyes will lose starting middle infielders Boe and Wetrich next season, leaving voids that need to be filled.

Entering 2019, Iowa faced similar questions after it lost its two best hitters. But the problem could be solved sooner rather than later.

Now that Sher’s career finally has some juice and the freshman has experience, Iowa looks to the future with a player who could be a force to be reckoned with.

“He’s a guy that I feel like is going to give you a quality at-bat no matter who he faces,” Heller said. “… He’s going to be a super, super good player as he grows as a Hawkeye, but he’s a solid guy right now. You’re talking about the Player of the Year in Iowa last year.”

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