The Northern Iowa baseball team opens Missouri Valley conference play tonight at Indiana State with the first of a four-game series. The Panthers are 9-3 on the season and despite some injuries in the batting lineup the pitching has been solid. U-N-I coach Rick Heller says it is a staff that also has depth.Heller says the Panthers will need to play well early in conference play as the first three series are against the top teams in the conference. He says they can’t get behind early in the conference race.Coming off a fifth straight Iowa Conference baseball title hopes are high for Wartburg College again this spring. Coach Joel Holst says the Knights have potential but a 9-7 record to this point is a reflection on their play.The biggest hole to fill is behind the plate. All-American Matt Thede left behind numerous records and is now in spring training with the Montreal Expos.Wartburg plays St. Johns of Minnesota tonight in the Metrodome.
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