After winning seven of their final ten series in the 2021 season to finish the year 26-18 and 4th in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes are picked to finish 3rd in the conference this season with a projected 3 seed in the Gainesvile regional according to D1Baseball.com while Baseball America also projects them in the regionals.
We're picked to finish 3⃣rd in the #B1GBaseball Preseason Poll!@peyton_w2 @AdamMazur21 & D_Ned25 were named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors List! #Hawkeyes— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) February 17, 2022
LINK: https://t.co/cEDeY88uak pic.twitter.com/kbNDAd00eV
The Hawkeyes boast a mix of veteran leadership and young talent that should prove incredibly entertaining for Iowa fans this season. Those are mixed with a slew of transfers from around the country to give Iowa a talented roster capable of making some noise. D1Baseball rates Iowa’s crop of newcomers, including the transfers, as the 23rd best class in America.
In the field the Hawkeyes return five starters from a season ago, including four infielders and one outfielder. They lose 3rd baseman Matthew Sosa, as well as stalwart OF Ben Norman. On the mound, Iowa loses All-American Trenton Wallace.
They’ll look to replace those starters, as well as add depth with a highly touted group of incoming players. That includes RHP Adam Mazur from South Dakota State, who is rated as the #89 draft prospect according to MLB.com and the #2 prospect in the Big Ten and #61 overall according to D1Baseball.com. Mazur is joined on the mound by Butler transfer and Cedar Fall native Connor Schultz who was an All-Big East selection who comes in boasting a career 13-9 record with a 3.79 ERA.
Out of the bullpen, the Hawkeyes bolstered things behind senior closer Dylan Nedved by bringing in a trio of sophomore transfers. That includes Will Christophersen from Michigan State, who struck out 39 batters in 29 and a third innings a season ago with a 2.45 ERA, as well as Ben DeTaeye (2.08 ERA in 26 innings with 33 Ks) from Iowa Central and Casey Day (who missed last year with Tommy John surgery) from Wichita State.
Iowa also has two of the top-20 freshmen in the country on the mound with Ankeny native Brody Brecht and Iowa City native Marcus Morgan.
Our— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) February 17, 2022
are ranked as two of the top 20 in the by D1Baseball! @Marcus_Morgan20 (No. 1⃣4⃣)@brody_brecht (No. 1⃣7⃣)
Iowa, Vandy, Florida and Arkansas are only schools with two players in top 20#Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/bdYBnsAVwy
In the field, the Hawkeyes will have more familiar faces but are still likely to rely on a newcomer in centerfield. Freshman Sam Petersen moved from the infield to the grass during fall practice and will battle with Iowa Western transfer Kyle Huckstorf. Huckstorf hit .420 with 6 home runs a season ago for the Reivers.
Notably, redshirt senior second baseman Izaya Fullard is expected to miss time with a broken bone. That breaks up what D1Baseball had called one of the best right sides in all of college baseball. Fullard finished 2021 batting around .300 and 2nd on the team in total bases.
Here’s a look at Iowa’s projected starters for the first weekend of the 2022 season.
C – Brett McCleary, RS Sr
1B- Peyton Williams, RS So
2B- Brendan Sher, RS Jr
SS- Michael Seegers, So
3B- Andy Nelson, So
RF – Brayden Frazier, RS So
CF – Sam Petersen, Fr or Kyle Huckstorf, RS So
LF – Anthony Mangano So
DH – Tyler Snep, RS So
And here are your projected starters for the first weekend of the year.
UI: RHP Adam Mazur (2-7, 5.43 ERA) *at SDSU
USAFA: RHP Paul Skenes (1-1, 2.70 ERA)
UI: RHP Connor Schultz (2-5, 6.22 ERA) *at Butler
BSU: LHP Tyler Schweitzer (1-0, 5.35 ERA)
UI: RHP Marcus Morgan
BU: RHP Austin Odell (0-3, 7.78 ERA)
Iowa opens the season against the US Air Force Academy on Friday. The first pitch has moved back an hour to noon central time due to inclement weather in Charleston.
The Swig & Swine Classic will feature Air Force, Army, Ball State, Bucknell, Iowa and Richmond across Friday, Saturday and Sunday from the Shipyard Park in Charleston, South Carolina.
1 MORE DAY and it's #OpeningWeekend— The Shipyard Park (@TheShipyardPark) February 17, 2022
2022 Swig & Swine College Classic
We are excited to host and watch @AF_Baseball @ArmywpB @BallStateBB @Bucknell_BB @UIBaseball @SpiderBaseball @MountainWest @MACSports @B1Gbaseball @atlantic10 @PatriotLeague pic.twitter.com/7y6Rpr54FY
All games this weekend can be viewed on the HiCast Sports Network, which comes with a 1 hour free preview and is $12.99 for a week.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE (per UI Press Release)
• The Falcons went 26-22 overall during the 2021 season, which included an 18-16 record in the Mountain West Conference — the program’s first winning season conference play in school history. Air Force is selected to finish third in the MWC by D1Baseball.com.
• Falcon utility player Paul Skenes is the D1Baseball MWC Preseason Player of the Year and he was named to the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List. Skenes will start on the mound against Iowa on Opening Day. Last season Skenes tallied 11 saves as the Air Force closer, going 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA. He also hit .410 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs as a true freshman.
SCOUTING BALL STATE (per UI Press Release)
• The Cardinals posted a 38-18 overall and 29-11 record in 2021 to finish as the Mid-American Conference runner-up. Ball State is projected to finish as the league runner-up again in 2022 by D1Baseball.com and in the MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
• The Hawkeyes will face LHP Tyler Schweitzer, who was 1-0 with a 5.35 ERA in 23 appearances last season. Schweitzer had two saves and punched out 51 over 35 1/3 innings.
SCOUTING BUCKNELL (per UI Press Release)
• The Bison were picked to finish fifth in the Patriot League preseason poll. Bucknell went 11-22 overall and 11-15 in league play a season ago.
• Outfielder Chris Cannizzaro and starting pitcher Chris DiFiore were named the Patriot League Preseason Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.
• Cannizzaro was the league batting champion, hitting .355 with 44 hits, 12 doubles and four triples last season. DiFiore went 5-3 with a 3.51 ERA in 10 games last season, fanning 46 over 51 1/3 innings.
• Iowa will face RHP Austin Odell on Sunday. Odell went 0-3 with a 7.78 ERA in 10 appearances (four starts) last season, logging 19 2/3 innings.