Iowa Welcomes Michigan For Big Ten Home Opener

April 8, 2004

The Iowa baseball team will open its home portion of the Big Ten schedule with a four-game series against Michigan at Duane Banks Field. The Hawkeyes play at 6 p.m. on Friday, on Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. Friday and Sunday’s games are nine-inning contests, while Sunday’s doublheader is seven innings. Admission is $3 at the gate.

Every Monday night from 6-7 p.m. during the Iowa baseball season Iowa Head Coach Jack Dahm will join KXIC’s Brent Balbinot for a call-in show at Flannigans for “Hawk Talk with Jack Dahm”.

Fans can attend the show or call-in and talk Hawkeye baseball with Coach Dahm. Can’t attend? Listen to the broadcast on the radio at KXIC (AM 800).

The Hawkeyes used a four-run ninth inning to come from behind and beat Illinois State Tuesday night.

Jeff Gremley hit a two-run triple and scored on a fielding error by Redbird second baseman Brian Wilkin to give the Hawkeyes the win.

The Hawkeyes jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. It was the first time Iowa has scored first since March 19 against Dartmouth in Florida.

In the seventh inning, the Hawkeyes and Redbirds traded three spots. Illinois State got a solo and two-run shot to take the lead. Iowa responded with six hits to score three runs and retake the advantage (7-5).

Illinois State left fielder Jeremy Pickrel put a sting in the Hawkeye crowd when he hit a grand slam to give the Redbirds the 11-7 lead with Iowa going to bat in the ninth.

The Iowa Cubs escaped with a 4-2 victory over Iowa in an exhibition game at Sec Taylor Stadium Wednesday night.

The Hawkeyes jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on Jeff Gremley’s RBI single up the middle. Three Iowa pitchers held the Cubs bats in check through four innings. Pitchers Austin Seward and Ryan Dupic allowed one hit in one inning of work and both recorded a strikeout on I-Cubs slugger David Kelton.

The I-Cubs got on the board in the fifth on a towering two-run homer by Donny Leon that wrapped around the right field foul pole. Russ Johnson hit the second two-run shot in the sixth inning to stretch the lead to 4-1.

The Hawkeyes made a late charge and scored a run in the seventh on a Cole Grandfield RBI double down the leftfield line.

Iowa’s Kris Welker tied an Iowa record for the third time this season in the series opener against the Spartans.

In his first two plate appearances, Welker was plunked by Michigan State starter Bryan Gale. Earlier this year on the Florida trip, the junior catcher was hit twice in games against Maine and Stetson.

Welker leads the Big Ten with 12 HBP thru 23 games. He needs to be hit four more times this year to tie former Hawkeye Ian Mattice’s record of 16 HBP in a single season that was set in 2002.

The Hawkeye bats came alive in the 11-10 come from behind win over Illinois State. Iowa tallied a season-high 17 hits in the contest. The previous high was 16 in the third game of the season against Centenary.

Luis Andrulonis and Andy Lytle recorded three hits apiece for the Hawkeyes. Three others tallied two hits each.

Iowa has a .238 (142-596) batting average against right handed pitchers this season thru 23 games. In contrast, the Hawkeyes have a batting average that is .47 points higher against southpaws. Iowa has a .285 average against the lefties, including three batters (Kris Welker, .467, Jesse Brownell, .438, and L.J. Mims, .417) over the .400 mark.

Three players, shortstop Jeff Gremley, centerfielder L.J. Mims and right fielder Nate Yoho, have started every game this season for the Hawkeyes. Left fielder Jesse Brownell has started 22-of-23 games.

Junior Jesse Brownell extended his hitting streak to seven games after going 1-for-4 against the Redbirds. The leftfielder has been the Hawkeyes’ most consistent hitter as he has hit safely in 11 of Iowa’s last 13 contests.

The hitting streak is tied for the longest on the Iowa squad this season. Mike Best had a seven-game hitting streak earlier this season.

On the year, Brownell is leading the team (min. 15 AB) with a .309 batting average. He has 10 RBIs, four doubles, two triples and two homeruns. In addition, he has swiped 6-of-8 bases, which is the second most on the Hawkeye squad.

Senior Nathan Johnson and sophomore Austin Seward are becoming solid anchors at the top of the Iowa rotation.

Johnson, the Hawkeye ace, has a 2-2 record in a team-high seven starts. For the season, he is leading the team with 26 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings and has a 4.58 ERA.

Seward is leading the Iowa starting rotation and is tenth in the Big Ten with a 3.71 ERA in six starts this season. He has allowed 14 earned runs over 34 innings and has struck out 22 batters. The sophomore started and pitched one inning in the exhibition against the Iowa Cubs on Wednesday. He struck out slugger David Kelton swinging to end the first inning.

Michigan hold an 83-36 advantage over the Hawkeyes in the all-time series.

The Wolverines head into the weekend series with a 12-11 overall record and an even 2-2 mark in the Big Ten after splitting with Minnesota last weekend. On Wednesday, Michigan used a late-inning homerun to break up an Eastern Michigan no-hitter and send the Wolverines to a 5-1 victory.

Michigan is leading the Big Ten with a team batting average of .310 as two players, 1B Kyle Bohm and C Jeff Kunkel, are ranked in the top ten in individual batting. Bohm is tied for third with a gaudy .400 average to go along with 12 doubles and 20 RBIs on the year. Meanwhile, Kunkel is sixth with a .387 mark with 11 RBIs and one homer.

The Wolverine pitching staff has a 5.74 ERA, which is eighth in the conference. The rotation against the Hawkeyes is unclear as five guys are battling to take the ball. RHP Jim Brauer (1-2, 7.22 ERA) was the starting pitcher in the Big Ten opener against the Golden Gophers, but wasn’t involved in the decision. RHP Michael Penn (2-1, 4.71 ERA), RHP Bobby Garza (2-1, 5.88), Derek Feldkamp (2-3, 2.57 ERA) and LHP Paul Hammond (1-0, 7.36) all could start for Michigan.

The Wolverines are led by second-year Head Coach Rich Maloney. Maloney is just three wins shy of 300 for his career.

“The games on Tuesday and Wednesday gave us a lot of confidence and we put forward a great deal of effort.

We need to take the momentum we gained into the series against Michigan. The Wolverines are a talented ball club and it will be a tough battle. It is nice to be playing at home. I hope the weather cooperates and we get a nice crowd to watch us play in our Big Ten home opener.”

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