By Adam Hensley and Pete Ruden
Heading into a three-game weekend series against UNLV, Iowa baseball sits at 8-2, a solid mark through the season’s first 10 games.
Even though it’s a small sample size for games, there have been plenty of Hawkeye takeaways.
Allgeyer seems to be in peak form following Tommy John surgery
Nick Allgeyer, Iowa’s Friday starter, sat out all last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
He’s pitched three times this season — all Iowa wins — and looked sharp in each contest.
So far, Allgeyer is 1-0 with a commanding 0.96 ERA. He’s struck out more batters (19) than he has innings pitched (18.2), and he’s only given up 5 runs on 13 hits.
Three of those 5 runs came in Iowa’s opener against Toledo. In that game, Allgeyer pitched 5 innings, striking out 7. But since that game, the junior has been clicking.
He followed up with a seven-inning performance against Virginia Tech, giving up 1 run on 5 hits. Allgeyer allowed another run in his third game of the season, a 4-1 Iowa victory over UAB, but he only allowed 4 hits and struck out four batters in his 6.2 innings.
Allgeyer looks solid, fellow pitchers have been inconsistent
Cole McDonald started his first game for Iowa, an 8-6 win over Oakland, but his season début didn’t go as intended. He only lasted 3 innings, giving up 5 runs and 7 hits while only recording a single strikeout. Jack Dreyer followed; he lasted 1.1 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits.
As far as Hawkeye wins go, that was the only one that featured shaky pitching, but in losses, it’s been a common theme.
Brady Schanuel held Ball State scoreless through two innings on Feb. 24 before allowing 7 runs. The Cardinals ate him alive at the plate, connecting on 5 hits. Head coach Rick Heller inserted Nick Nelsen to clean up Schanuel’s mess, but he only lasted 0.2 innings — Ball State scored 2 runs on 3 hits during his time on the mound.
Iowa’s final game of this past weekend’s three-game series with UAB featured McDonald as the starter, and he kept things in check through 5 innings, giving up 5 hits while allowing only 1 run. Kyle Shimp followed, though, and he allowed 3 runs on 3 hits in 0.1 innings before making his way to the proverbial showers.
Iowa had one of the best power hitting teams in the Big Ten last seasons, thanks to arguably the best power hitter in the country, Jake Adams, who crushed a school record and NCAA-leading 29 home runs for the Hawkeyes.
This year, things have been different. Iowa has only hit 4 homers as a team through 10 games, showing a noticeable downtick in runs scored from the long ball.
Shortstop Kyle Crowl leads the team with 2 bombs, while right fielder Robert Neustrom and catcher Tyler Cropley have each blasted 1.
Without numbers that jump off the page, a big chunk of offense will have to come from a group of players instead of one consistent source.
“I think if we come in, and do what we supposed to do every day, and get our work in in the indoor cages and outside, I think we’ll be able to hit like we did last year,” Cropley said after Iowa’s 15-1 win over Cornell. “It’s just we don’t have that big bat that’s hitting  home runs. It’s just going to come from a number of guys this year.”
After being the everyday third baseman last year, Matt Hoeg has become a utility player this year, starting games at first, left field, and third.
That has been a very important move for the Hawkeyes. The switch has allowed consistent playing time for Crowl, who ranks second on the team with 8 RBIs, and Lorenzo Elion, third on the team with a .314 batting average.
“He’s done a nice job in the three games adjusting to his role of being a utility player,” head coach Rick Heller said after the team’s first series. “That’s not easy to do and a tribute to Matt.”