Hawkeyes Set to Kick Off 2004 Season

Feb. 23, 2004

The Iowa baseball team will kick off the 2004 season with a three-game series against Centenary College in Shreveport, LA. The opener will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and a double-header will be played on Saturday starting at noon. The games will be played at Shehee Stadium.

The Hawkeyes ended the 2003 season with an 18-29 record, including a 10-21 mark in the Big Ten. Kyle Thousand, a second team all-Big Ten performer and Toronto Bluejays draft pick, led the team with a .355 average and swipped 20-of-24 stolen bases. Nathan Johnson emerged as Iowa’s ace in the rotation. The Oskaloosa, IA, native led the team with a 6-2 record with a 3.38 ERA.

Jack Dahm takes over as the new head coach of the Iowa Hawkeye baseball team. Dahm, former head coach at Creighton, replaces Scott Broghamer. Dahm comes to Iowa City as the Blue Jays’ all-time winningest manager with a record of 283-276 in 10 seasons.

The Iowa baseball team has played 113 season openers since beginning baseball in 1890. Iowa holds a .619 winning percentage (70-40-3) in season openers. In the last 10 years, the Hawkeyes have split their season openers with their last win coming in 2002 over Belmont, 1-0. Last season, the Hawkeyes dropped a 3-2 decision to Wichita State to start the season.

The three-game series will mark the first ever meeting between the two schools.

Centenary will enter the series against the Hawkeyes with eight games under their belts. The Gents currently hold a 3-4 record, after dropping two-of-three games against Friends College over the weekend. Centenary will travel to Alabama on Wednesday.

The Gents currently have five players on the roster that are batting .300 or better. Two players, SS Tony Cardone and 1B Blake Adkison, lead the team with a .400 average, while 2B Jesse Newell leads the team in four offensive categories: doubles (4), triples (2), homeruns (1) and RBI (9).

On the mound, senior Kevin Cassidy is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA after starting two games this season. The 6-2 righty has struck out 12 batters in 14 innings, while allowing three earned runs. Freshman Steven Rodriguez has appeared in one inning on the year and he struck out the side.

The Gents are led by sixth-year Head Coach Ed McCann.

Up to seven players could be making their Hawkeye debuts this weekend against Centenary. Four transfers (Kris Welker, L.J. Mims, Kevin Sunderman and Jesse Brownell) could make their first appearance in Black and Gold. Two redshirts, Ryan Dupic and Mike Mogard, are slated to play after sitting out last year. True freshman Jason White will get the start at second base.

The Hawkeyes return 17 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including five positional starters. The Iowa pitching staff returns eight players, including third team all-Big Ten pitcher and Iowa MVP Nathan Johnson.

Senior Nathan Johnson, the Bob Oldis Jr. Team MVP, will be counted on to anchor the Hawkeye rotation. Johnson led the Hawkeyes with a 6-2 record and 3.38 ERA in 2003. The righthander struck out 53 batters in 58 2/3 innings, while holding opponents to a .286 batting average.

Behind Johnson in the rotation the potential is enormous, however the hurlers lack experience. Sophomore Austin Seward and redshirt freshman Ryan Dupic pitched 5 1/3 innings combined last season. Junior southpaw Jeff Maitland returns after compiling a 2-3 record in 28 2/3 innings.

True freshmen Casey O’Rourke and Michael Washburn could come in and compete for innings this season. O’Rourke was an Iowa Elite Team all-Stater as a senior at Williamsburg HS, while Washburn set the Sioux City East HS strikeout record last year.

The Hawkeyes return 4/5 of their starting infield from the 2003 season.

Up the middle, junior Jeff Gremley returns after serving as Iowa’s iron man last season. Gremley started all 47 games last season at shortstop and was third on the team with a .313 average and led the team with 32 RBI.

Gremley’s double play parter, Andy Lytle, returns after starting 46 games at second base. Lytle scored 17 runs last season, while batting .257.

Junior Luis Andrulonis played 43 games, including 37 starts at third base. The Miami Lakes, FL, native batted .230 with 16 RBI.

At first base, senior Mike Best started all but three games for the Hawkeyes. Best belted two HR and and tallied 19 RBI.

Behind the plate, the Hawkeyes will turn to Kris Welker to handle the staff. Welker, a transfer from the College of Southern Idaho, batted .325 last season and was a SWAC all-conference selection.

Junior rightfielder Nate Yoho is the lone returnee in the Iowa outfield. Yoho started 42-of-47 games for the Hawkeyes last season. He batted .292 on the year and was second on the team with 28 RBI.

Sophomore L.J. Mims has the daunting task of replacing second team all-Big ten performer Kyle Thousand. Mims transferred to the Hawkeyes from Central Arizona College.

Junior Jesse Brownell replaces Iowa’s 2003 homerun leader in Lance Guyer. Brownell, a junior college transfer from Lamar CC, was an all-around performer last year as he batted .365 with 10 HR and swipped 35 bases.

Head Coach Jack Dahm and his staff signed his first recruiting class at the University of Iowa. The class, which was dominated by pitching, included 10 players, including the top-four pitching prospects in the state of Iowa. The Hawkeyes earned praise on the national level as Jerry Ford, the National Director of Perfect Game U.S.A, listed the class as “a top-50 and perhaps the top-25 class in the nation.” The class includes players from four states including Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Montana. Included in the class are: Danny Bales (Cedar Rapids, IA), David Conroy (Mount Vernon, IA), Travis Sweet (Cedar Rapids, IA), Josh Wheatley (Pocahontas, IA), Ben Geelan (Algona, IA), Dusty Napoleon (Wilmette, IL), Justin Berg (Antigo, WI), Cody Doonan (Cedar Rapids, IA), T.J. Cataldo (Carlisle, IA) and Kody McManis (Bozeman, MT).

The Iowa baseball team kicked off the 2004 season on Feb. 1 with its first annual Lead-Off Dinner at the Sheraton Hotel in Iowa City. Former Hawkeye and current Milwaukee Brewer pitcher Wes Obermueller and Iowa Cubs owner Michael Gartner were the guests of honor and each addressed the crowd of over 400 people.

Jack Dahm enters his first season as Iowa’s head baseball coach and has a 283-276 career record. Prior to coming to Iowa, Dahm spent 10 years as the Head Coach at Creighton University, where he is the school’s all-time winningest coach. Dahm also played for four years for the Bluejays under current Chicago Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry.

Assistant Coach Nick Zumsande is in his first season as Iowa’s pitching coach after collecting 14 years of coaching experience throughout the Midwest. Prior to joining the Hawkeyes, Zumsande served as the pitching coach for Indiana State. Before joining the Sycamores, Zumsande coached for one year at Iowa State University where he helped lead the team to their first Big 12 Tournament appearance in school history.

Assistant Coach Ryan Brownlee is in his first season as Iowa’s hitting/fielding instructor and recruiting coordinator. Prior to coming to Iowa, Brownlee was the hitting/fielding coach at James Madison University, where he led the Dukes to school records in fielding percentage. Before going to JMU, Brownlee served as an assistant at his alma mater, Evansville.

Volunteer Assistant Coach Spencer Allen is in his first season with the Hawkeyes. Allen will coach first base during game days and is responsible for outfield instruction. Allen earned his B.A. in 2001 from Iowa State, where he was a three-year starter at second base.

“Our players have been working extremely hard since practice began. They’ve had a high work ethic and they’re ready to play. We just hope to come out and play good solid, fundamental baseball.”

Complete Release in PDF Format
dot.gifspacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader