Iowa Ends Season Against Illinois

May 20, 2004

The Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini will play a four-game series to round out the Big Ten schedule and the 2004 season. Games will begin at 6 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 doubleheader will be seven innings. Admission is $3.

The Hawkeyes used an 8-2 victory over Illinois State on Wednesday night at Redbird Field to sweep the two-game series this season.

Four Iowa pitchers, Casey O’Rourke, Michael Washburn, Scott Brune and Tim Gudex limited the Redbird offense to two runs in nine innings. Washburn was credited with the victory, the first of his career, after allowing three hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Freshman Jeff Engel led the Hawkeyes at the plate going 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs in the game. In the seventh inning, Engel hit a Texas leaguer over the third baseman’s head. Being aggressive on the base paths, Engel stretched the hit into a double, the first of his Iowa career.

The Hawkeyes put the game away with five runs in the final three frames. In the ninth, Luis Andrulonis doubled to lead off the inning and pinch hitter Gabe Haugland followed with a single. After a pop out, Andy Lytle walked to load the bases and the first run of the inning crossed the plate on a catcher’s interference. Nate Yoho made the score 8-2 with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to knock in Haugland.

Iowa Head Coach Jack Dahm picked up his 300th career victory in the 8-3 win over Purdue on Saturday at Duane Banks Field. Dahm broke the 300 barrier with the 8-2 victory over Illinois State on Wednesday night. In 11 seasons as a head coach, Dahm has now compiled a 301-309 overall record between Creighton and Iowa.

The Hawkeyes are 3-11 in one-run games this season. In addition, the Hawkeyes are 1-4 in extra inning affairs.

Senior Nathan Johnson is leading the Big Ten with a 1.64 ERA in seven starts. The righthander has a 4-1 record and has an incredible 47/9 K/BB ratio in conference play.

Johnson hasn’t been relieved for in a game since April 9 against Michigan, a span of five complete games. Of a possible 63 innings in league starts, he has been on the hill for 60 1/3 innings.

On the year, Johnson has a 6-3 record with a 3.01 ERA. He has 69 strikeouts in 89 2/3 innings of work, the most innings in the conference.

On Wednesday night against Illinois State, six freshmen saw significant action in the 8-2 win. Jason White (SS), Cole Grandfield (1B), Jeff Engel (LF), Casey O’Rourke (SP), Michael Washburn (RP) and redshirt freshman Scott Brune (RP) all played key roles in the victory.

All three freshmen position players collected a hit at the plate. Engel led the way with a career best day going 3-for-4 with the first double and RBI of his career.

On the mound, O’Rourke pitched four innings of seven-hit ball with no walks and one strikeout. Washburn picked up his first career win after going 2 2/3 innings, while Brune manned the hill for 1 2/3 innings allowing only one hit.

Junior catcher Kris Welker tied an Iowa record on Wednesday night when he was hit by a pitch for the 16th time this season. Welker is leading the Big Ten in the category and this weekend will look to pass former Hawkeye Ian Mattiace (16 HBP, 2002) in the record books.

Jim Reid tied an Iowa record for the second time in as many weeks with a four-hit effort against Purdue on Sunday. Reid went 4-for-5 in the game with four singles to tie the mark. Last weekend, Luis Andrulonis tied the record for the first time this season with four singles in the series finale at Minnesota.

Reid is leading the team with a .315 average (min. 50 at-bats) and is currently on a six-game hitting streak. The senior designated hitter is tied for second on the team with three triples, third with nine doubles and has 15 RBIs.

Entering the month of May, Andy Lytle was batting .270. Thus far this month, the junior has caught fire as he is leading the team with a .347 (17-49) mark to be considered Iowa’s “Mr. May”.

For the season, Lytle is batting .297 with four doubles and 12 RBIs.

Junior Nate Yoho is leading the team with 56 hits this season including 14 doubles and two home runs. He is currently in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak and has a .298 average with a team-leading 35 RBIs. Yoho has a team-best 18 multiple hit games and 11 multi-RBI games.

Yoho is the only Hawkeye to start every game this season, starting all 51 games in right field.

Illinois leads the all-time series over the Hawkeyes 110-70-2. Last season, the two teams split the four-game series in Champaign.

The Fighting Illini enter the weekend with a 20-31 overall record and are ninth in the Big Ten with a 9-19 mark. Last weekend, Illinois split the four-game series with conference leading Minnesota.

At the plate, three batters are hitting over .300 this season. Catcher Chris Robinson is leading the team with a .359 average with nine home runs and is tied for the team-high with 34 RBIs. West Des Moines native Drew Davidson is leading the team with 10 long balls and has 34 RBIs.

The Fighting Illini pitching staff has a 5.35 team ERA. The rotation this weekend will be as follows:

RHP Joe Ziemba (2-8, 6.23 ERA, 52 K/23 BB)
RHP Ted Rowe (2-8, 5.40 ERA, 44 K/ 21 BB)
RHP Tim Gorski (5-2, 3.39 ERA, 5 CG/1 SHO)

Illinois is led by 14th year Head Coach Richard “Itch” Jones.

“Wednesday night’s effort against Illinois State was the best game that we’ve played all season. We were solid in all aspects of the game and the players all came with a great approach.

This weekend is important to continue the progress for this program. We want to send off the seniors the right way. I couldn’t be any prouder of this senior class this season. Their attitudes have been outstanding from day one and they’ve been outstanding leaders. They’ve been instrumental in building the foundation for the future of the Iowa baseball program.”

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