Perfect Game Ranks Iowa Preseason #16

Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Rick Heller against the Indiana Hoosiers in the first round of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

Looking to end a 50-year conference title drought, Iowa will enter the 2024 season as the Big Ten’s best in the eyes of one publication.

On Friday, Perfect Game released its 2024 preseason top 25 rankings, with the Hawkeyes checking in at No. 16, the lone Big Ten club in the poll. Coming off of a 44-16 2023 campaign, Rick Heller’s club will have no shortage of attention placed on Iowa City the spring.

Biding to claim the program’s first conference championship since 1974, last year’s Hawkeye outfit finished third in the Big Ten with a 15-8 conference mark, 1.5 games behind champion Maryland. A showdown against the Terrapins came in the Big Ten Tournament championship, where the Hawkeyes fell short of the program’s second tournament title, losing 4-0, in front of 8,957 in attendance at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.

A week later, in Terre Haute, Ind., Iowa again saw a postseason run end in runners-up fashion. Earning the No. 2 seed in the Terre Haute Regional, Iowa twice knocked off No. 3 seed North Carolina, 5-4 and 6-5 (13), but twice lost to regional host Indiana State, 7-4 and 11-8, to bring an end to the 44-win season, tied with the 1981 Hawkeyes for the most wins in a single season.

Headlining Iowa’s attempt to take two trips to Charles Schwab Field in 2024 is star power on the pitching staff. On Thursday, starting pitcher Brody Brecht was named a first-time All-American by Perfect Game, joining second-team selection Devin Taylor of Indiana, as the lone Big Ten honorees. On its top 100 draft prospects list, MLB Pipeline rates Brecht as the draft’s No. 17 prospect, with teammate Marcus Morgan No. 56.

Iowa will start the 2024 season in Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 16, taking on Seton Hall, Ball State and Lehigh in the Shipyard Tournament.