The Iowa baseball program is enjoying immediate success under first-year coach Rick Heller. The Hawkeyes opened Big Ten play by taking two of three games from Nebraska this past weekend and take a 14-6 overall record into Wednesday’s game at home against Bradley. Heller says added experience is one of the factors in Iowa’s power surge on offense.
After hitting only two home runs in 2013 the Hawkeyes already have 11 and their 43 doubles are only 10 shy of last year’s total. Heller says the strength coach has done a good job with the players, many who have put on some weight and got stronger. He also gives the players credit for changing some things, including some of the older guys. “Which doesn’t always happen, a lot of guys get nervous when you want to change things when they are juniors,” Heller says.
Heller says the Hawkeyes are doing what it takes to win games. “They’ve dropped their ego at the door and are not focusing on batting average or ERA or numbers like that, and they are just focusing on what they can do to help the team win,” Heller says. He says that attitude gives them a chance to have something special.
Heller says he wants his team to treat the mid-week games just like a conference game. “The key to winning a lot of baseball games during the course of a short season is taking care of your business during the midweek,” Heller says. He says they preach playing the game the same way every day and not changing things based on the opponent.
After the game against Bradley the Hawkeyes hit the road to visit Michigan for a three game Big Ten series.