Iowa baseball racked up the recognition on Tuesday afternoon.
Four Hawkeyes — Nick Allgeyer, Tyler Cropley, Robert Neustrom and Chris Whelan — earned all-Big Ten recognition, the league announced a day before the conference tournament begins in Omaha. Allgeyer, Cropley and Neustrom were first-team selections, while Whelan was a third-team pick.
This season marks the first time since 1990 that Iowa has had at least three first-team all-Big Ten selections. Rick Heller has had at least one first-team selection in each of his five seasons.
After the MLB draft decimated the Hawkeyes’ weekend rotation, Iowa needed Allgeyer to step up as a consistent Friday night guy. The southpaw has done just that, posting a 2.50 ERA with 12 quality starts after bouncing back from Tommy John surgery. Allgeyer will get the ball on Wednesday morning, when the Hawkeyes open the Big Ten Tournament against Michigan.
Providing stability behind the plate has been Cropley, who rarely takes a day off in handling the Hawkeye pitching staff. The senior catcher has also been Iowa’s most consistent hitter, racking up a .351 average, 20 doubles, nine homers, 50 RBIs and 43 runs scored.
Cropley is the first Iowa catcher to win first-team Big Ten honors since Jim Freese in 1963.
His fellow Sioux City native has been an offensive force as well. Neustrom, a solidified MLB draft prospect as a junior, finished the regular season with a .322 average, 15 doubles and 11 long balls — the fourth most in the Big Ten. Neustrom ranks in the top 13 in six offensive categories.
Neustrom is the second outfielder under Heller to earn first-team all-Big Ten honors, joining Joel Booker in 2016. It is the fifth straight year an Iowa outfielder has earned all-league honors.
Although he missed 14 games to start the year after recovering from Tommy John surgery, Whelan didn’t miss a beat atop the Iowa lineup. The redshirt junior hit .315 in 36 regular-season games, ranking third on the team in hits (47) and fourth in runs (36).
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for The Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.