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

Iowa baseball unfazed by preseason expectations

The Hawkeyes enter the 2024 season with some of the biggest expectations in program history.
Grace Smith
Iowa pitcher Brody Brecht throws a pitch during the second baseball game of a doubleheader between Iowa and Illinois at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Brecht struck out two Illini in one inning. The Fighting Illini defeated the Hawkeyes in 13 innings, 7-5.

Entering the 2024 season, the Iowa baseball team faces its biggest preseason expectations in program history.

Last season, the Hawkeyes made a name for themselves at the national level in college baseball. Head coach Rick Heller guided the team to a 44-win season, tying for the most in program history.

Iowa followed the historic regular season with its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in six years, falling to Indiana State in an opportunity to advance to the Super Regionals.

With the bulk of the team’s core returning after making it to the Terre Haute Regional last spring, many people are predicting the Hawkeyes to return to the tournament yet again, potentially going even further this time around. For third-year starting pitcher Brody Brecht, the success last year hasn’t fazed him, nor has it rattled the rest of the Hawkeye squad.

“It’s just taking it one day at a time,” Brecht said. “All that stuff is preseason and means nothing at the end of the year. It’s just taking it one day at a time. We just ask ourselves what we can do to get better and be ready to go.”

It has been an unusual offseason for the hard-throwing righty. After deciding to quit the Iowa football team and completely focus on baseball, Brecht has had a full offseason to train and work under the watch of Iowa pitching coach Sean McGrath.

“[This offseason] was just really good for the body, being able to take some time off and regroup,” Brecht said. “It was just really beneficial to go through the fall and learn to be a full-year baseball player.”

Brecht also said this offseason was a good time to work on the mental aspect of the game. Being able to slow the game down when his “stuff isn’t all there” has been a heavy focus since last season.

“I’ve just got to be in a good place mentally — visualizing, getting my breathing, and being able to reset,” Brecht said. “Slow things down when I fall behind. Being able to rest was something I had to learn about. I’m not going to feel my best every time out there, so I just have to go up there and get it done and put the team in the best position to succeed.”

Despite being named one of the captains on this year’s squad, Brecht sees a lot of leadership in the entire roster, harping that this group wants to focus on being a player-led team.

“You have the label as captain, but I think the whole team has leadership throughout,” Brecht said. “Coach-led teams are pretty good, but great teams come from within and being player-led. I am just trying to set an example and hold myself accountable.”

Brecht heads into the season on the Golden Spikes Award Watch List from USA Baseball, an award that names the top player in the country in all of amateur baseball.

Brecht was also named a preseason first-team All-American by Perfect Game, D1 Baseball, and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

In Brecht’s first outing against Seton Hall, he threw for 11 strikeouts in four and one-third innings pitched, giving up one hit in the process.

The Hawkeyes traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, where they went 2-1 in the Shipyard Tournament. After beating Seton Hall and Ball State on Feb. 16-17, Iowa dropped to Lehigh on Feb. 18 to finish the three-game stretch.

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About the Contributors
Jake Olson, Sports Reporter
Email: [email protected] Jake Olson is a Sports Reporter for The Daily Iowan. In his three years with the paper, he has covered everything from rowing to basketball. He is studying journalism and mass communication with a minor in sports and rec management.
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.