Head Coach: Jack Dahm
2006 Record: 23-33 (12-20 in Big Ten)
2006 RPI: 179
Projected 2007 Big Ten Finish:
Baseball America: 6th
Collegiate Baseball: 9th
At The Plate: As the Hawkeyes probably won’t hit too many homeruns, Jack Dahm’s side will be aggressive on the base paths. Leading that charge will be CF Travis Sweet (.304/1/27/22 SB) and SS Jason White (.308/0/24/18 SB). Sweet was named as Baseball America’s pre-season All-Big Ten 2B, one of many positions (2B, OF, P) he played a year ago. White garnered all conference consideration two years ago when he played at second.
C Dusty Napoleon (.248/2/34), 1B Wes Freie (.261/0/15), DH Brian Burmester (.280/2/11) and 3B Kevin Hoef (.295) will be counted on to drive these leadoff hitters in.
On The Mound: The top spot in Iowa‘s rotation‘s falls to David Conroy. He will be followed to the hill by Steve Turnbull and Nick Erdman. This is an untested group that between them posted only a single victory in 2006. The biggest story amongst Hawkeye hurlers is the return of Casey O’Rourke from cancer. O’Rourke missed all of last season.
The Schedule: The Hawkeyes, like much of the Big Ten this year, have a pretty interesting non-conference schedule. Iowa will play Nebraska twice, Fresno State four times and have Stetson and Notre Dame on the docket. Iowa’s conference slate is no picnic, either. They get Ohio State, Purdue and Minnesota on the road, while Illinois and Michigan visit Iowa City.
Bottom Line: The Hawkeyes might be able to hit and run their way into conference tournament participation, but their fate lies in the hands (and arms) of their pitching staff. It’s a mostly unproven unit that will need some unexpected success in order to claim on of the top six spots in the Big Ten. Coach Dahm appears to be taking Iowa in the right direction, although the results might not be visible as quickly as either he or Iowa’s fans might like.