Hard-Hitting Hawkeye

By Ben Frotscher
Raider Tello has led Iowa baseball’s offensive effort at the plate this season.
Raider Tello PHOTO: Jerod Ringwald/Hawkeyesports.com Iowa's infielder Raider Tello slides into home plate to score a run during the first inning of their game at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, April 19, 2024.

Sports fans express their diehard loyalty for their favorite teams in unique ways. Junior Raider Tello, a third baseman for Iowa’s baseball team, knows that all too well.

“I’m 100% named after the now Las Vegas Raiders football team,” he says. “My dad likes the Raiders, so it was as simple as that.”

While football was one of his dad’s favorite sports, baseball has proven to be a perfect fit for Tello. Growing up in El Monte, California, he started to play the game at age 3 and has grown over the years as both a hitter and defensive specialist. After stops at the University of Portland and Pasadena Community College—where he holds single-season records for hits, RBIs, and doubles—Tello found his way to Iowa because of one of Head Coach Rick Heller’s former players.

“My travel ball coach played for Coach Heller at Upper Iowa University,” says Tello. “He’s practically the reason I’m here, and I love it.”

Tello has been an integral part of Iowa baseball’s continued success on the diamond. This season, he’s started every game and led the Hawkeyes in batting average (.370), RBIs (60), and doubles (19) throughout the regular season.

“Raider has hit the ball well for us all season,” says Heller. “After hitting .315 last season, he’s made a big jump at the plate and has become one of the most important bats in the lineup.”

His production at the plate—whether it’s a home run in a road win over Ole Miss and going 4-for-9 with eight RBIs in a sweep over Rutgers—has improved from last season due to the extra effort that he put in during the summer.

“I worked on trying to lift the ball a bit more—and I’ve done that this year,” says Tello, whose childhood idol was Major League shortstop Ozzie Smith. “I try to go to the plate and help my team out in any way possible.”

Tello plans on returning to Iowa City in 2025 for his senior year, which will see Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington join the Big Ten Conference. He hopes to play a few games close to home in California—and use his final season as a Hawkeye as a springboard to professional baseball.

“Iowa gave me a chance,” says Tello. “I owe it to the coaches and staff to come back for one more year.”

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Raider Tello

#28 Raider Tello




Redshirt Junior


El Monte, California

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