Iowa Ready For Big Ten Action

April 1, 2004

The Iowa baseball team will open up Big Ten play in East Lansing, MI, against Michigan State. The four-game series will be played at Kobs Field beginning at noon on Friday. A doubleheader (two-seven inning games) will be played on Saturday, followed by the series finale on Sunday at 11 a.m. All times are central.

The Iowa baseball team won the finale of the I-Cubs/Hawkeye Classic after dropping the first two games of the weekend.

In the finale, Iowa used a strong outing by redshirt freshman Ryan Dupic to defeat Northern Illinois (4-2). Dupic struck out four batters in six innings and allowed only two runs in picking up the first win of his Hawkeye career.

Iowa used a three-run fourth innning to take the lead against the Huskies. The Hawkeyes hit three doubles in the inning, including a two-run double by Nate Yoho. Kris Welker, who was 3-for-5 in the game, had an RBI double to tie the game at two.

Relievers Aaron Reasland and Tim Gudex pitched three innings of two-hit relief to secure the Iowa win. Reasland struck out two batters in the game and Gudex retired all four batters he faced to pick up his fourth save of the season.

In the opener of the Classic, the Hawkeyes fell to Northern Colorado (5-0). Iowa got a good outing from starter Austin Seward, who allowed three runs over seven innings. The Hawkeyes, however, couldn’t get their bats going against Bear pitcher Craig Ayers. The righty allowed two hits and struck out 11 batters in the complete game shutout.

Iowa fell to Minnesota (19-7) in a game that spanned over two days due to heavy rains at Sec Taylor Stadium. Iowa trailed 11-7 when play was suspended on March 27, and Minnesota scored eight runs in the final four innings to run away with the win. Gopher shortstop Matt Fornasiere, the tournament MVP, hit a grand slam in Minnesota’s five-run eighth inning.

Over the course of 13 innings on Sunday, three Iowa freshmen recorded “firsts” of their careers. In the final four innings against Minnesota, first baseman Cole Grandfield and centerfielder Matt Wooldrik recorded their first hits as Hawkeyes. Later in the day, redshirt freshman Ryan Dupic picked up the first win of his career in Black and Gold when he pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs in Iowa’s 4-2 win over Northern Illinois.

Iowa sophomore Tim Gudex has established himself as Iowa’s “stopper”. Gudex entered Sunday’s game against Northern Illinois with runners on first and third and two outs in the contest. Gudex got out of the jam when he forced Huskie lead-off hitter Jeremy Busch into an inning-ending groundout.

In the bottom of the ninth, the lefthander retired the side in the order, including a game-ending strikeout of all-Tournament team first baseman Mike Hochhauser.

Gudex leads the conference in saves with a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunites. On the year, he is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA and is tied for second in the Big Ten in runs allowed (2). He has tallied nine strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.

Sophomore Austin Seward and redshirt freshman Ryan Dupic are quietly having solid seasons for the Iowa baseball team.

Over his last three starts, Seward has allowed only five earned runs over 19 innings. During this stretch, he has struck out 14 batters, while allowing 21 hits.

The right hander has an 0-2 record on the year, but in his last three outings he has gotten virtually no run support as the Hawkeyes were only able to score four runs. On the year, Seward has a respectable 3.81 ERA in 28 1/3 innings of work.

Dupic has struck out a career-high four batters in back-to-back outings. Against Northern Illinois and Army, the righthander struck out four batters in each game.

Dupic is 1-2 on the year with an 8.41 ERA. He has struck out 13 batters in 20 1/3 innings.

Four Iowa regulars are batting above .300 on the season against left handed pitchers. Centerfielder L.J. Mims holds the top average on the team with a .556 (5-9). Jesse Brownell has a .462 (6-13), Kris Welker is batting .455 (5-11) and Jason White has a .333 mark (2-6).

Iowa left fielder Jesse Brownell launched his second homerun of the season on Saturday in the pouring rain against Minnesota. Brownell, an I-Cubs/Hawkeye Classic All-Tournament team selection, blasted the shot off the Wells Fargo sign above the luxury boxes in left field.

On the season, Brownell is batting .286 (18-63) and is tied for the team lead with 10 RBIs. He has two doubles and two triples to go along with his two homeruns.

Hawkeye catcher Kris Welker tied an Iowa record twice in a matter of three games in Florida. Against Maine on Mar. 13, Welker was hit by Black Bear pitcher Greg Norton on his first two at-bats of the game to tie an Iowa record for HBP in a game. Welker tied the record again two games later in the contest against Stetson.

In his home debut against Western Illinois, Welker got plunked yet again to push his season total to nine. He leads the Big Ten in the category and is more than half way to the season record of 16 HBP, which was set by former Hawkeye Ian Mattice in 2002.

Michigan State holds a 57-53-1 advantage in the all-time series against Iowa. Last season, the teams split the four-game series in Iowa City, with the Spartans winning the finale, 11-7.

Michigan State enters the contest with an 9-10 record and are in the midst of a season-high five-game winning streak. The team is a perfect 5-0 at Kobs Field.

The Spartan pitching staff heads into Big Ten play with a conference worst 7.14 ERA. Senior starter Bryan Gale, this week’s Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, leads the staff with a 3.00 ERA and has 33 strikeouts in 33 innings. The righthander has a 1-1 record, while starting five games this season.

The Spartan bats have a .280 team average, including five batters with a mark of .300 or better. Senior first baseman Scott Koerber is leading the charge with a .407 (24-59) average. On the season, he is tied for the team lead with 15 RBI and has a team-leading eight doubles to go along with a long ball.

Michigan State is led by ninth-year Head Coach Ted Mahan.

“This will be a new start to the season. We’ve done some good things over the first 18 games, but there are areas where we need to improve. The games against Michigan State will be a fresh start for us and we hope to go to East Lansing and have a solid weekend.

The non-conference schedule has been challenging. There have been a lot of close games that we may not have won, but they prepared us for the conference.”

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