Iowa Announces Fall Schedule

Iowa City, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team will host three fall exhibitions, a Scout Day, and the Black & Gold Fall World Series at Duane Bank Field. The fall schedule was announced Friday by head coach Rick Heller.

The Hawkeyes begin their exhibition slate, hosting Southeastern Community College at 6 p.m. (CT) on Sept. 20 before welcoming the Ontario Blue Jays to Iowa City a day later. Game times are 6 p.m. (CT) and 5 p.m., respectively.

After holding Scout Day on Sept. 28, the Hawkeyes will face Kirkwood Community College on Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. before playing the the best-of-three Black & Gold World Series from Oct. 10-12.

Iowa returns 20 letterwinners, including five starters, from a team that finished 33-20 last season. The Hawkeyes return starting pitchers Cole McDonald (3-2, 3.23 ERA) and Jack Dreyer (5-2, 3.69 ERA), while welcoming 16 newcomers to the 2019 roster.

Iowa Baseball Fall Schedule

Sept. 20 — Southeastern Community College — Iowa City, Iowa — 6 p.m.

Sept. 21 — Ontario Blue Jays — Iowa City, Iowa — 5 p.m.

Sept. 28 — Scout Day — Iowa City, Iowa — 2 p.m.

Oct. 5 — Kirkwood Community College — 5 p.m.

Oct. 10-12 — Black & Gold Fall World Series — 2 p.m. (pregame)

Iowa’s Barta, Heller Agree on Contract Amendment

Iowa City, Iowa — Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair Gary Barta and University of Iowa head baseball coach Rick Heller have agreed on a contract amendment that will run through 2024.

“Rick has done a tremendous job from day one, winning, graduating, and building this program the right way,” said Barta. “Rick has turned this program into one that contends annually in the Big Ten Conference and nationally. This amendment puts us in a position to keep Rick in Iowa City for the foreseeable future.”

In his five seasons in Iowa City, Heller has guided the Hawkeyes to 173 victories, averaging 34.6 wins per season. Heller guided Iowa to the NCAA Regionals in 2015 — a first for the program since 1990 — and two seasons later the Hawkeyes won their first Big Ten Tournament title in program history.

Iowa has played in NCAA Regionals twice in Heller’s five seasons. The program advanced to NCAA play just three times in its history prior to Heller’s arrival. The Hawkeyes also claimed a silver medal at the 2017 World University Games, becoming the first American squad to medal in Universiade history.

Heller has coached six All-Americans and at least one first-team All-Big Ten selection in each of his five seasons and the program has had 20 Major League Baseball Draft selections — the most in a five-year stretch all-time.

Hunt Joins Anderson’s Minnesota Staff

Minneapolis —  Head coach John Anderson has announced the addition of volunteer assistant Brandon Hunt to the Gopher Baseball coaching staff for the 2019 season.

Brandon Hunt joins the Gopher Baseball program as a volunteer assistant coach after spending two seasons as the head coach at Upper Iowa University of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, serving as one of the youngest head coaches at the NCAA II level.

“I am excited and feel fortunate that Brandon Hunt and has agreed to join our staff as the volunteer assistant,” said Anderson. “He brings impressive credentials from Upper Iowa and Augustana that reflect his competence and passion for teaching the fundamentals of the game. Brandon’s coaching resume in the college game has produced consistent, successful levels of performance by his players on the field and in the classroom.”

Carrying a reputation as one of the top recruiters and one of the finest defensive coaches in the Midwest, Hunt elevated Upper Iowa into an annual contender in the highly competitive NSIC, winning 36 games in two seasons including over 30 conference victories. His Peacock teams finished in the upper echelon of the Northern Sun in fielding percentage, including a pair of players selected to the NSIC Gold Glove team during his tenure. Hunt’s teams also excelled in the classroom, finishing both 2017 and 2018 with a team GPA over 3.0.

“I want to thank John Anderson for the opportunity to join the Golden Gopher Baseball program. The culture and winning tradition that has been built here is truly special, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to help our student athletes grow both on and off the field,” said Hunt. “I have followed the program for many years and been impressed with how the Gophers approach the game. Their selfless attitude is a testament to the culture that has been built over the years, and I look forward to continuing that tradition.”

Before arriving in Fayette, Hunt served as an assistant coach for Augustana (S.D.) University for four seasons, earning a promotion to lead assistant and recruiting coordinator after two years as a volunteer on head coach Tim Huber’s staff. During his stay in Sioux Falls, five different Vikings earned All-NSIC honors while a program-record four infielders earned selections to the NSIC’s Gold Glove Team. Hunt also played a major role in the development of Augustana’s Jack Goihl, an All-American selection and 2015 MLB Draft pick by the Cleveland organization.

“Brandon’s strong baseball IQ, work ethic and personal values are a solid match for our culture and ‘Why,'” added Anderson. “I look forward to working with Brandon as we continue to grow our strong history and tradition in the 21st century and help him achieve his college coaching goals.”

A native of Rapid City, South Dakota, Hunt played catcher collegiately at Augustana from 2002-05 after graduating from Rapid City Stevens High School. He currently resides in St. Louis Park.

Upper Iowa Director of Athletics Rick Hartzell on Hunt:
“Brandon Hunt did an exceptional job at building a highly competitive baseball program at Upper Iowa. He recruited quality student-athletes who not only did their work in the classroom but also played at a very high level. His teams played hard, with great enthusiasm and passion, and they played for nine innings every day. In addition, Brandon, his staff and players were fully immersed in our department. They supported other staff and teams, and they brought great enthusiasm to everything they did. Brandon will be missed here; he was a key part of our staff and our future, but we wish him all the very best in this new opportunity and we all will be watching his successes.”

Iowa Head Coach Rick Heller on Hunt: “Brandon is a smart, hardworking leader with infectious positive energy. He is a proven winner and an excellent baseball coach. Brandon will do a great job for the Gophers.”

Nebraska’s Ledbetter to Transition into Volunteer Coach Role

Lincoln, Neb. — Head Coach Darin Erstad announced on Wednesday that Curtis Ledbetter will take on a new role with the Nebraska baseball team as the volunteer coach after spending 10 years as the team’s director of operations.

“We could not be more excited to add Coach Ledbetter to our staff,” Erstad said. “He has been a vital part of the Nebraska baseball program for last 10 years in the director of operations role. Coach Ledbetter wants to pursue his dream of coaching college baseball, and I am glad he chose our program to chase his dream.”

Ledbetter, a former all-conference performer at Nebraska, joined the Husker staff in May of 2008 after a stint in professional baseball. Starting with the 2019 season, he will be the Huskers’ first-base coach.

“The past 10 years have provided an amazing experience for my family and I here while serving as the director of baseball operations,” Ledbetter said. “I’m super excited for the opportunity Coach Erstad has offered to me to be on his 2019 staff in a slightly different role. Coaching is something that I’ve eventually wanted to do since stepping foot back on campus following my playing career. It’s something that I’m very passionate about, and a chapter in my life which I’m extremely excited for. This place has provided opportunities for me in the past 17 years that I’ll never be able to repay it for, but I’m fired up to continue giving it a try, now in helping these student-athletes grow as people and ball players on the diamond.”

An 18th-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2005, Ledbetter played professional baseball for three years, earning Frontier League all-star honors in 2007 – his final season in the professional ranks. In addition to his playing duties, Ledbetter worked at the Nebraska Baseball Academy.

Ledbetter was a three-year starter for the Huskers from 2003 to 2005, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors at two positions (designated hitter and first base). He ranks among the best in NU baseball history in several categories, including career hits (tied for 21st, 223), career home runs (tied for 10th, 34), career RBIs (10th, 165), career doubles (tied for fifth, 47) and career putouts (second, 1,216).

Ledbetter holds the school record for single-season putouts (655), which he achieved as part of Nebraska’s 2005 College World Series team. He added Big 12 Tournament MVP honors to his list of accomplishments as a senior in 2005, as the Huskers swept the conference regular-season and tournament titles. Ledbetter also earned NCAA Tournament All-Regional honors in 2003 and 2005.

In the classroom, Ledbetter was a three-time academic All-Big 12 selection, a Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll member and graduated from Nebraska in 2005 with a degree in journalism. He added a master’s degree in education administration in December of 2012.

A native of Lawrence, Kan., Ledbetter played one season at Garden City Community College, earning honorable-mention All-Jayhawk League accolades. He hit .404 with 13 home runs and threw out 50 percent of would-be base stealers as the team’s catcher.

Penn State Baseball Adds Two to Staff

University Park, Penn. — Penn State baseball head coach Rob Cooper announced the addition of two staff members Friday, as Sean Moore joins as the team’s director of operations and player development and Dallas Burke joins as a volunteer assistant coach.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Sean Moore and Dallas Burke to Penn State,” said Cooper. “Both are extremely dedicated to the mission of Penn State athletics and our baseball program. We believe they will make a positive impact on our program, both on and off the field.”

Sean Moore

Moore, an Iowa graduate, joins the Nittany Lions in a newly-created position after most recently spending two seasons as the volunteer assistant coach for the Hawkeyes as the teams’ hitting coach.

“Sean will be instrumental in the day to day operation of the baseball program, while also assisting our coaching staff in determining the best practices to develop our players,” said Cooper. “His experience with technology, research, and the most recent training protocols will be a tremendous asset. His experience coaching and playing in the Big Ten will be invaluable.”

“I am very excited for the opportunity to help out the Penn State baseball program moving forward,” said Moore. “I believe in what Coach Cooper is trying to do and the culture he has created. The additions to the coaching staff are only going to enhance what they have already done and take this program to the top of the Big Ten where it belongs.”

During the 2018 season, Moore helped guide Iowa to its fifth-straight 30-win season, three series wins against ranked opponents and eight victories against top 25 teams. He coached four All-Big Ten selections, including three first-team selections and Iowa had a record-tying five players selected in the 2018 MLB Draft.

Iowa won 39 games in 2017 — Moore’s first season on the coaching staff — claimed the first Big Ten Tournament title in school history, and advanced to NCAA Regional play — the program’s second in three seasons. The Hawkeyes saw five players garner All-Big Ten recognition, including unanimous first-team All-Big Ten first baseman and unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year honoree Jake Adams, who hit an NCAA leading, Iowa school and Big Ten-record 29 home runs. The Hawkeyes ranked among the top three in the Big Ten in nine difference offensive categories, including leading the league in hits, RBIs, and slugging percentage, while ranking second in runs, doubles, home runs, and total bases. Individually, Iowa players led the Big Ten in runs, slugging percentage, hits, RBIs, home runs, and total bases. Four Hawkeyes were drafted in the MLB Draft.

After wrapping up his own playing career in 2015, Moore joined the coaching staff at Des Moines Area Community College as the program’s hitting and strength and conditioning coach. The Bears won 30 games during the 2016 season, where they hit .331 as a team with 78 home runs, 126 doubles, and 15 triples.

The Coralville, Iowa, native has also served as director of baseball operations at Diamond Dreams Sports Academy, where he has continued researching the biomechanical movements of each phase of the swing.

Moore’s collegiate playing career consisted of three stops. He played two seasons at DMACC, where he helped the Bears to an NJCAA World Series berth in 2011 before earning All-Region XI honors in 2012. He spent the 2013 season at Wichita State before transferring and wrapping up his career as a Hawkeye in 2015. Iowa won 41 games in his lone season and advanced to NCAA Regional play for the first time since 1990.

Moore, a certified hitting instructor, graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in leisure studies in 2015.

Dallas Burke

Burke also has an Iowa connection as he played there two years before completing his career at Missouri Southern State University. He has been a volunteer assistant at Division I schools for the past two seasons, with stops at Bowling Green (2016-17) and West Virginia (2017-18).

“Dallas is a young energetic coach who will help coach the hitters and catchers,” said Cooper. “He has a great way of connecting with players and teaching them the game of baseball. His experience playing in the Big Ten is also a plus.”

“I am very excited for the opportunity to coach at Penn State University,” said Burke. “This is a place where something extremely special can happen. Rob Cooper has put together a staff that will make the environment here for a baseball student athlete second to none. Now it is time to get to work!”

Most recently with the Mountaineers, Burke’s primary responsibilities included coaching the catchers and assisting with hitters, with one catcher earning an honorable mention for the All-Big 12 team. At Bowling Green, Burke held similar responsibilities, and his catchers threw out 51 percent of base stealers overall and 59 percent in Mid-American Conference play. Both totals ranked No. 1 in the MAC.

Burke spent the three previous seasons at Black Hawk Junior College in Moline, Illinois, as the program’s assistant coach/recruiting coordinator and camp coordinator. The team captured two-consecutive conference championships during his tenure, and he coached 19 first team all-conference players, seven all-region players, two All-Americans and nine academic All-Americans. Burke also built a strong track record of sending players to the next level at BHCC. Twelve players over his three seasons moved on to Division I programs, including both starting catchers that he worked with.

A catcher during his playing days, Burke continued his career after college at the professional level. He played one season with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League (Independent Professional Baseball) in New Mexico in 2013, before spending parts of 2014 with the Cologne Cardinals in Germany as a player and coach. Along with playing in Cologne, Burke worked camps at MLB Academies across Europe to help develop the game throughout the continent.

Burke began his collegiate playing career at the University of Iowa from 2008-10, where he was named a Freshman All-Big Ten selection as a catcher in 2009. He finished his collegiate career at Missouri Southern State University. In three seasons at Missouri Southern, Burke was named an All-MIAA selection twice and is ranked No. 10 in school history for career batting average and No. 12 in career fielding percentage. In 2013, he helped Missouri Southern win its first conference title in 21 years.

A native of Davenport, Iowa, Burke graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a bachelor’s degree in arts in history.

Courtwright Joins Illini Staff

Champaign, Ill. — Curt Courtwright joined the Illinois baseball coaching staff as a volunteer assistant, head coach Dan Hartleb announced. Courtwright takes over the role after Casey Fletcher departed for a full-time assistant job at Valparaiso.

Courtwright spent the previous three seasons at Eastern Illinois under head coach Jason Anderson, a former Fighting Illini and MLB pitcher. Courtwright helped instruct the infielders and hitters at EIU, helping the Panthers finish one double play shy of leading the nation in 2017.

Courtwright spent one year as an assistant at Rend Lake College in 2014, primarily working as the hitting and infield instructor as well as the recruiting coordinator, prior to his stop at EIU.

A native of Lincoln, Illinois, Courtwright competed at various levels of baseball. During his four-year career playing at Missouri State, Courtwright appeared in 158 games for the Bears and left as the school record holder for assists in a game. Courtwright played for the Glens Falls Golden Eagles in the New York Collegiate Baseball League and was named team MVP in 2008. In 2010, he played professionally for the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League.

After his time with the Grizzlies, Courtwright began his coaching career. He was the head coach at Lincoln Community High School before serving as the hitting and infield coach for the Morehead City Marlins of the Coastal Plains League.

Courtwright earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations with a minor in business from Missouri State in 2010.

Illinois Baseball: 2019 Schedule Released

Champaign, Ill. — The Illinois baseball team and head coach Dan Hartleb released the 2019 Illini schedule.

2019 Illinois Baseball Schedule
» 52 games (plus two fall games)
» 22 games at Illinois Field
» Feb. 15 season opener vs. Georgetown (at Wake Forest)
» March 15 home opener vs. Southern Illinois
» March 29 Big Ten opener at Iowa
» April 5 Big Ten home opener vs. Maryland
» Four Big Ten home series: Maryland, Penn State, Indiana, Purdue
» Four Big Ten road series: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Michigan State
» Four Big Ten byes: Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers

Illinois Baseball to Travel to Aruba and Curaçao

Champaign, Ill. –The Illinois baseball team will travel to Aruba and Curaçao in November, head coach Dan Hartleb announced. The Illini will play six games beginning Nov. 18 against former pro players, current pros and up-and-coming amateur prospects.

NCAA regulations allow teams to make foreign trips once every four years. This will be the Illini’s second foreign trip in program history following its week-long trip to the Dominican Republic in 2014. Illinois followed the Dominican trip with its best season in program history, winning 50 games and advancing to the NCAA Super Regional in 2015.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to take our student-athletes to Aruba and Curaçao,” said Hartleb. “Our last foreign trip was extremely beneficial to our team and our student-athletes. All of our players will be able to learn on and off the field.”

The trip is being funded by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and through the generous support of the Fighting Illini Dugout Club. The trip will serve three purposes: baseball, education and community service. In addition to baseball, the Illini will learn about the culture and donate their time through service activities.

“One of the main things we will do is spend time with kids in the community,” said Hartleb. “It will be a great opportunity for our student-athletes to gain experiences and give back to the game of baseball.”

Illinois plans to spend Nov. 18-20 in Curaçao before traveling to Aruba Nov. 21-23. Full coverage of the trip will be available on FightingIllini.com and @IlliniBaseball on Twitter.

Migliaccio Joins Iowa Baseball Coaching Staff

Iowa City, Iowa — Joe Migliaccio has been named the University of Iowa baseball team’s volunteer assistant coach, head coach Rick Heller announced Thursday. Migliaccio will serve as the Hawkeyes’ hitting coach.

“I am thrilled that coach Heller and his staff have presented me with the opportunity to be part of the Iowa baseball program,” said Migliaccio. “I can’t want to get started and continue to develop our players at the highest level possible.”

Migliaccio joins the program following coaching stints at Murray State, Missouri, Southeast Missouri State, and Siena College.

“We are excited to have Joe join our staff,” said Heller. “Joe will bring a great deal of experience and success to our program. He has worked with some quality people and programs in his career. Joe is an excellent hitting coach and I believe that our players will love working with him.”

During his lone season as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Murray State, Migliaccio helped lead a transformation in the Racers’ offense. Murray State ranked in the top-20 in the nation in walks, on-base percentage, and runs, while ranking in the top 31 nationally in slugging percentage (26th), doubles (29th), and home runs (31).

Three players earned All-Ohio Valley Conference honors with Grant Wood being selected as the OVC Freshman of the Year.

Prior to making the move Kentucky, Migliaccio spent the 2017 season as a graduate assistant at Missouri. He helped guide the Tigers to their best record since 2008, a season where the team finished 36-22. At Mizzou, Migliaccio was responsible for defensive development, while assisting offensively.

As a result, the Tigers’ fielding percentage improved seven points in 2017. He also was key in implementing the Pitch Recognition System and helped two players get drafted in the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Migliaccio spent the 2016 season at Southeast Missouri as a volunteer assistant coach, helping the Redhawks to the 2016 OVC regular season and tournament championships and a berth into NCAA Regionals. He coached four All-OVC selections and one player who was selected in the MLB Draft.

In 2014 and 2015, Migliaccio served as a volunteer assistant at Siena College. He also spent the summer of 2014 as an assistant coach with the Liberal Bees in the Jayhawk Baseball League.

As a player, Migliaccio was an infielder at Florida International (2009-10), Parkland College (2010-12), and Oral Roberts (2012-14). The West Melbourne, Florida, native graduated cum laude from Oral Roberts in 2014 with a degree in recreation administration with a minor in humanities. He earned his master’s degree in education from Missouri in 2018.

McDevitt to Minnesota assistant coach

Minneapolis — Head coach John Anderson will keep it within the Gopher Baseball family as Minnesota announces the promotion of volunteer pitching coach Ty McDevitt to fill the vacant assistant coaching position left by the retired Rob Fornasiere. McDevitt’s elevation comes after two seasons as a volunteer coach where he returned to his alma mater after a four-year pitching career for the Gophers.

“The retirement of Rob Fornasiere, whose outstanding work for the past 33 years significantly contributed to the many successes of the program on and off the field, leaves a void that will be challenging to overcome. With that being said, I am grateful and excited that Ty McDevitt, an alumni of our program, has agreed to join our coaching staff as the pitching coach and begin this important process of re-centering our coaching staff for the future,” said Anderson. “Over the last seven years, I have been able to observe the outstanding work of Ty as a student- athlete and volunteer coach, and the results have been impressive.”

In two seasons under McDevitt’s tutelage, Minnesota’s pitching staff has posted a combined 3.68 ERA and 1.26 WHIP while striking out 7.36 batters per nine innings and limiting walks, just 3.45 per nine. The Gophers improved in nearly every major statistical category year-over-year from McDevitt’s first year in 2017 to 2018, with more victories, shutouts, and strikeouts and fewer walks, hits, and earned runs allowed than the previous season. Minnesota is 80-36 over the past two seasons.

“Ty possesses a very high baseball IQ as it relates to developing a pitching staff that can compete at a consistent, optimal level,” added Anderson. “He has also displayed the characteristics of integrity, loyalty, and passion along with a hardworking commitment to the daily process of coaching and mentoring our student-athletes as we prepare them for the next 50 years of their lives. Ty will also make a strong impact in our recruiting efforts. In the past two seasons, he has built trusted and respected relationships with the players and that will be impactful, as we identify and recruit future student-athletes to the Golden Gopher Baseball Family.”

While claiming the 2018 Big Ten Regular Season and Tournament Titles and earning the program’s first bid to the Super Regional round, the Maroon & Gold ranked 10th in the nation and second in the Big Ten with a 3.23 ERA this season and eighth in the country but first in the Big Ten with 1.21 base runners allowed per inning.

Last season, McDevitt also helped hone the skills of All-American rookie starting pitcher Patrick Fredrickson, who was also named the conference’s Pitcher and Freshman of the Year, and All-American first-year relief pitcher Max Meyer as well as 2018 MLB Draft picks Jackson Rose, selected in the 35th round by the Miami Marlins, and Reggie Meyer, selected in the 38th round by the Texas Rangers.

“I’m thankful to Coach Anderson for entrusting me in this role, and I am excited help build upon the rich tradition of Gopher Baseball,” said McDevitt. “After playing in the program and serving in the Volunteer Pitching Coach role the previous two years, it is obvious that the University of Minnesota and the Golden Gopher Baseball program is an ideal fit. Now, it’s time to get to work.”

McDevitt originally took the reins of the Gophers staff from long-time pitching coach Todd Oakes in 2017. In that time, the team has seen a pair of relievers each achieve a program record with 16 saves in a season in Brian Glowicki in 2017 and Max Meyer in 2018. The team has also produced three All-Big Ten First Team pitchers in Fredrickson, Meyer, and Lucas Gilbreath, and two All-Big Ten Second Team pitchers in Glowicki and Reggie Meyer. McDevitt also had a hand in the careers of 2017 MLB Draft selections of Gilbreath, taken in the seventh round by the Colorado Rockies, and Glowicki, a 10th-round pick of the Chicago Cubs. At the time, Gilbreath’s selection was the highest draft position for a Gophers player since 2013.

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