Although Iowa baseball fell short of its third regional appearance in four years, the Hawkeyes remained in position for an at-large bid most of the way.
Those spots are coveted — especially for Big Ten squads — and how a team’s schedule unfolds throughout the year is one of the biggest factors in the at-large race. Wins are necessary, but scheduling metrics help if the teams you beat also perform well.
Heading into year six under coach Rick Heller, hunting regional bids remains one of Iowa's primary goals. The Hawkeyes released their 2019 schedule Monday, which the program hopes to provide enough opportunities for an at-large resume.
Iowa has 12 games against 2018 NCAA Tournament teams — all on the road. Such contests included three-game series at Oklahoma State (March 1-3), Indiana (March 22-24), Purdue (April 12-14) and Ohio State (April 26-28).
In addition, Iowa will get Maryland (May 16-18) on the road in Big Ten play and host Illinois (March 29-31), Rutgers (April 5-7), Nebraska (April 19-21) and Michigan State (May 10-12).
There’s a heavy west coast flavor to Iowa’s non-conference portion. After opening the year with the Diamond 9 Sunshine State Classic Series (Feb. 15-17) in Kissimmee, Florida, the Hawkeyes will play four at Hawaii (Feb. 22-24). The Hawkeyes also will host Cal State Northridge (March 15-17) and UC Irvine (May 3-5).
Iowa baseball's 2019 schedule
Feb. 15 — George Mason (Diamond 9 in Kissimmee, Fla.)
Feb. 16 — Pittsburgh (Diamond 9 in Kissimmee, Fla.)
Feb. 17 — Marshall (Diamond 9 in Kissimmee, Fla.)
Feb. 22-24 — @ Hawaii
March 1-3 — @ Oklahoma State
March 6 — TBA
March 8-10 — @ Evansville
March 12 — Illinois-Chicago
March 15-17 — Cal State Northridge
March 20 — Chicago State
March 22-24 — @ Indiana
March 26 — Bradley
March 29-31 — Illinois
April 2 — Grand View
April 5-7 — Rutgers
April 10 — @ Bradley
April 12-14 — @ Purdue
April 16 — Northern Illinois
April 19-21 — Nebraska
April 23 — Milwaukee
April 26-28 — @ Ohio State
April 30 — Western Illinois
May 1 — Northwestern (Rosemont, Ill.)
May 3-5 — UC Irvine
May 10-12 — Michigan State
May 14 — @ Western Illinois
May 16-18 — @ Maryland
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.