After having a weekend series postponed at Arkansas State, which I have made clear is absolutely ridiculous, the Blazers will host Iowa this weekend at Regions Field.
UAB showed some rust during the week losing a couple of close games to Jacksonville State and Troy. The offense is still having a hard time stringing some hits together and having some big innings, but the pitching still looks very good.
Iowa comes in with a 6-1 overall record, including a win over Conference USA foe Old Dominion. The Hawkeyes were picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten after winning their conference tournament last year and making the Houston Regional.
Let’s take a glance at each team.
What to expect from Iowa:
They lose the best power hitter in the country from last year in Jake Adams, but there is still plenty of thump in the lineup.
Outfielder Robert Neustrom is the team’s best hitter. So far this season he’s hitting .357 with 10 hits, a home run and 6 runs scored. He hit 9 home runs last year and drove in 55.
Catcher Tyler Cropley is a solid hitter too currently batting .300 with a team-high 9 RBI.
Ben Norman has gotten off to a slow start, but he had a solid freshman season a year ago. Kyle Crowl has a scored a team-high 11 runs to go along with 2 home runs and 5 RBI. Lorenzo Elion has gotten off to a hot start hitting .364.
As a whole this offense is hitting .279 and averaging 6.7 runs per game.
On the pitching staff, Nick Allgeyer has had two solid outings with an overall ERA of 0.75 in 12 innings with 15 strikeouts. Cole McDonald has a 4.50 ERA in 10 innings, while Brady Schanuel has a 7.71 ERA in 7 innings pitched with 8 strikeouts.
Those are the three I expect to start this weekend.
Schanuel has been drafted twice, so it’s odd to see him get off to such a bad start. But I know the potential and stuff is there for him to be a good pitcher.
Zach Daniels has been the go-to guy out of the bullpen with 7 scoreless innings, a save and 8 strikeouts.
The pitching staff has a combined ERA of 2.86 with 70 strikeouts in 63 innings pitched.
I think this offense is still finding itself, but the pitching staff has been better than expected at this point. As much as UAB as struggled to score early in the season, runs could be hard to come by this weekend.
Keys for UAB:
The Blazers will have to play their best ball to win this series. The mental errors this season have been driving me insane. They pretty much handed Jacksonville State the game will all of the outs we made on the base paths. There can’t be any of those mistakes this weekend.
I think the pitching staff will be fine this weekend, but they’ll need to keep them at four runs or less to give us a chance to win.
Zack Davis has been incredible at the plate this year and I think he needs to move into the three hole and put Carter Pharis in the two hole.
Something in the lineup needs to change, because guys are getting on base, they just aren’t getting them in to score.
Either way, this should be a great weekend for baseball. With a big name team coming into town, I hope UAB fans show their support and get out to Regions Field.