Hawkeyes To Face Co-Conference Leader

May 3, 2004

The Hawkeyes will have a week to prepare for the four-game series at Siebert Field in Minneapolis, MN. Play will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Friday and Sunday’s games will be nine innings and Saturday’s will be seven innings.

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 Bar & Grill 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).

Fans wishing to listen to the Iowa vs. Minnesota series can listen to a live broadcast on the Internet at www.gophersports.com.

After being rained out in the opener, the Hawkeyes swept the doubleheader on Saturday and fell in the twin bill on Sunday.

In the opener, Nathan Johnson continued his outstanding performance on the hill as he pitched his third consecutive complete game and his first shutout of the season in the 3-0 victory. Johnson allowed eight hits and struck out five Wildcat batters.

The Hawkeyes scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, including a solo home run by Mike Best.

In the second game, Iowa’s bats came alive as they pounded out 10 runs on 13 hits. Andy Lytle and Jeff Gremley each collected three hits in the game.

Senior Chris Maliszewski pitched a complete game allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits with five strikeouts for his second win of the season.

Looking for the first series win of the season, the Hawkeyes fell in both games of the doubleheader on Sunday. The Wildcat bats awoke and pounded out 24 hits on the day, while the Northwestern pitchers limited the Hawkeyes to 10 hits and only two runs in 16 innings as they won 8-2 and 3-0.

Iowa won the first two games of the series against Northwestern for its first true two-game winning streak of the season. Earlier this season, the Hawkeyes defeated Illinois State and Michigan for two straight wins, but lost an exhibition game to the Iowa Cubs in between the wins.

Starter Nathan Johnson is 3-0 in conference games and is leading the Big Ten with a 1.45 ERA. In 43 1/3 innings, the Iowa righthander has allowed seven earned runs and has a 37/8 K/BB ratio.

Against Northwestern on May 1, Johnson tallied his first shutout and pitched his third consecutive complete game. He allowed eight hits and struck out five Wildcat batters.

On the year, Johnson is 5-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 72 2/3 innings of work. He has struck out 59 batters to only 15 walks, while holding hitters to a .286 average.

Johnson has six complete games and two shutouts in his career as a Hawkeye, ironically, both have come against Northwestern.

Junior Kris Welker has caught 36 games for the Hawkeyes behind the plate this season. Over this span, Welker has thrown out 23-33 (.589) of the base runners attempting to steal on him.

At the plate, Welker has been batting in the clean-up hole since April 17. Since moving to the four spot, Welker is leading the team with a .409 (18-44) with 11 RBIs, seven runs and two home runs.

For the year, Welker is batting .277 and is second on the team with 20 RBIs. He has six extra base hits (4 doubles, 2 HR) and has nine multiple hit games.

Senior Chris Maliszewski pitched a seven-inning complete game in leading the Hawkeyes to the 10-4 victory on May 1.

The complete game was the first of his Iowa career. In two starts this season, Maliszewski is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA. The southpaw has struck out eight batters in 10 2/3 innings of work with six walks.

Mike Best hit a solo home run in Saturday’s win over Northwestern for the first offense of the day for the Hawkeyes. It was the second straight game that the senior first baseman had homered. On April 28 against Northern Iowa, Best connected on a pinch hit three-run shot down the left field line. Best is tied for the team lead in long balls with junior Jesse Brownell with three on the season.

The Hawkeyes are getting outscored in six of nine innings this season. Iowa holds the slight edge in the fifth (31-30) and seventh innings (32-31). In the ninth, the Hawkeyes have outscored their opponents by eight runs (17-9). In the opening two frames, Iowa is being doubled up on the scoreboard 48-24.

After pounding out 18 hits against three lefties in two games versus Northwestern, the Hawkeyes raised their batting average to .273 on the year. On the flip side, Iowa is batting .252 against righthanders this season.

Jim Reid is tops on the team against right handers with a .326 mark, while Mike Best, Jeff Gremley and Kris Welker are batting .333 against the southpaws.

The Golden Gophers hold a 152-97 advantage in the all-time series. Minnesota has won the last two meetings, including a 19-7 victory in the I-Cubs/Hawkeye Classic on March 27 in Des Moines.

Minnesota, who will play Hamline University on Tuesday, has a 26-16 overall record and is tied for the lead in conference play with a 13-7 mark. Last weekend, the Gophers took 3-of-4 games from Purdue at Siebert Field.

The Golden Gophers come into the contest leading the Big Ten in hitting (.313), team ERA (4.40) and they are second in fielding percentage (.971).

Three Minnesota hitters are in the top 10 in the conference in hitting: CF Sam Steidl (2nd, .395), SS Matt Fornasiere (3rd, .388), 1B/DH Mike Mee (9th, .358).

LHP Glen Perkins, the Co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, will get the ball on Friday night. Perkins is a perfect 12-0 all-time in Big Ten games and is 5-2 with a 2.84 ERA this season. LHP Jay Gagner (3-0, 2.42 ERA) will likely start game two and RHP Craig Molldrem (4-1, 2.64 ERA) could get the nod in game three.

The Golden Gophers are led by 23rd year Head Coach John Anderson.

“This was an exciting weekend, but at the same time it was a very disappointing one. We played two very complete games and picked up a pair of good wins. On Sunday, we played inconsistent and didn’t bring the same type of effort.

This weekend will be tough one as we are playing one of the premiere programs in the conference. We need to come out with some confidence and play solid fundamental baseball one game at a time.”

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