4 Hawkeyes Earn All-Big Ten Honors

posted by James Allan - 

OMAHA, Neb. -- Four University of Iowa baseball student-athletes -- Nick Allgeyer, Tyler Cropley, Robert Neustrom, and Chris Whelan -- were named All-Big Ten selections for the 2018 season, it was announced Tuesday by the Big Ten office.

Allgeyer (starting pitcher), Cropley (catcher), and Neustrom (outfielder) were named to the first team, while Whelan (designated hitter) was a third-team selection. Senior Austin Guzzo was Iowa's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.

It is the first time since 1990 that the Hawkeyes have had at least three first-team All-Big Ten selections in the same season. Iowa had five first-teamers in 1990. Head coach Rick Heller has had at least one first-team All-Big Ten selection in each of his five seasons and he has coached 20 players to All-Big Ten honors.

Allgeyer, a redshirt junior from St. Louis, earned his first career All-Big Ten honor after ranking in the top four in the conference in strikeouts (86), innings (90), and ERA (2.50). The southpaw is 5-4 with a 2.50 ERA and he has tallied a quality start in 12 of his 14 starts.

Allgeyer is the second starting pitcher under Heller to earn first-team honors, joining Blake Hickman in 2015.

After earning second-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior, Cropley elevated his game to garner first-team recognition as a senior. The McCook Lake, South Dakota, native ranks in the top 11 in the Big Ten in 10 different offensive categories. The catcher has a team-best .351 average with a Big Ten-best 20 doubles, nine home runs, 50 RBIs, and 43 runs scored.

Cropley, a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, is the first Hawkeye since Jim Freese in 1963 to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors.

Neustrom was tabbed as a first-team All-Big Ten outfielder after earning second-team honors as a sophomore. The Sioux City, Iowa, native finished the regular season with a .322 average with 15 doubles and 11 home runs -- the fourth-most in the Big Ten. Neustrom ranks in the top 13 in six offensive categories.

Neustrom is the second outfielder of the Heller era 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.

Despite missing the first 14 games of the season, Whelan garnered his first career All-Big Ten recognition at the designated hitter position. The Naperville, Illinois, native hit .315 in 36 regular-season games, where he ranked third on the team in hits (47) and fourth in runs (36). He also has four doubles, four home runs, and 10 RBIs.

Whelan, the Most Outstanding Player at the 2017 Big Ten Tournament, is the second Hawkeye designated hitter under Heller to earn All-Big Ten recognition, joining Dan Potempa, who was a third-team selection in 2014.

Guzzo, a senior infielder from Brooklin, Ontario, was Iowa's recipient for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The distinction is presented to student-athletes who display sportsmanship and ethical behavior, are in good academic standing, and demonstrate good citizenship outside of athletics.

For a complete list of All-Big Ten selections, visit www.bigten.org.

The sixth-seeded Hawkeyes open Big Ten Tournament play Wednesday, facing third-seeded Michigan at 9 a.m. (CT) in Omaha, Nebraska. The game will be televised on BTN.

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