Izaya Fullard’s transition to second base is one of the most important keys to Iowa in 2020.
Expectations for Jack Dreyer are skyrocketing in 2020 as he tries to settle down as Iowa’s last anchor at the weekend. His seasonal debut was a success.
Dryer threw five unmarked innings and hit eight, prompting Hawkeye to Friday’s 3-1 victory over Kent State at the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida.
After losing almost all last season with a shoulder problem, Dreyer was ready to start his first start on February 23, 2019. Johnston’s product has only yielded four baserunners – two hits, one walk and one batter hit – in keeping Kent Stay silent most of the day.
After going through the first batter of the game, Dreyer withdrew the next nine with little resistance. The Golden Flashes (0-1) brought a runner to third place in fourth with a double and a single, but Dreyer came out of the jam unscathed to preserve the Iowa 1-0 lead.
From there, lifters Drew Irvine, Ben Beutel and Trace Hoffman got the game to approach Grant Leonard without a lot of drama. Irvine produced three hits and one run not learned in the seventh, but Iowa’s outstretched arms minimized threats. Leonard worked a perfect ninth for his 17th career save.
The offense was not super sharp, picking up only five shots from four Kent State pitchers, but Iowa got through pretty quickly. An unacknowledged race crossed in the third after Brendan Sher’s doubling, in third place with a fly in the center and marked on a wild pitch. Ben Norman’s RBI single in the fifth and another heat not learned in the eighth gave Iowa (1-0) two separate two-shot leads.
Norman got the first hit at the top of the ladder, going 1-by-4 and reaching an error. Austin Martin slammed two shots. Other lineup notes included Brett McCleary starting out as a hitter after a heavy crash, and JUCO newcomer Dylan Nedved getting the initial crack at third base.
All in all, a decent start for Iowa. The Hawkeyes returned to action on Saturday against St. Joseph’s. The first pitch is set for 14:00 from CoolToday Park – the new Spring Training facility of Atlanta Braves.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruitment and preparations for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email it at [email protected] or follow it on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.