Feb. 22, 2005
IOWA CITY –
THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will open the 2005 baseball season at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic in Dothan, AL. Iowa will take on host school Troy State Friday at 6 p.m., Middle Tennessee State Saturday at 2 p.m. and Ohio State Sunday at 10 a.m. The Classic is a round-robin, three-day tournament that will be held at Dothan’s Northcutt Field. A three-day pass for the tournament is $20 per person. Individual tickets for each day are $10. Children under age 12 will be admitted at no charge.
HAWKEYES ON THE NET ? Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes this weekend, as live stats will be available on www.hawkeyesports.com. Just click on the Gametracker link found on both the front page and the baseball schedule page. Live stats are courtesy of the Hawkeyes’ official scorer Ray Gilmore.
LOOKING BACK ? The Hawkeyes finished the first year of the Jack Dahm era with a 20-35 record and a 12-20 mark in the Big Ten.
ALL-BIG TEN HONORS ? A pair of Hawkeyes were honored by the Big Ten Conference last season. Starting pitcher Nathan Johnson was named to the all-Big Ten first team after leading the conference with 96 1/3 innings pitched. He was 6-4 overall with a 3.36 ERA and 73 strikeouts. Rightfielder Nate Yoho was named to the second team after knocking in 31 RBIs in conference play, good for second in the league.
SCOUTING TROY STATE ? The Troy State Trojans enter the weekend with a 4-2 record after a three-game sweep of Samford last weekend. The Trojans are led by preseason all-Atlantic Sun Conference outfielder Adam Goodwin, who hit a team-best .384 last season with 28 stolen bases. He has already swiped eight bags this year. Sophomore first baseman Clint Robinson is also enjoying a fast start, hitting .345 with a home run and seven RBIs.
On the mound, Troy State’s ace is Landon Brazell, who heads into the weekend with a 1-0 record and 18 strikeouts. Last year, Brazell was 3-1 with a 3.65 ERA.
Troy State is coached by Bobby Pierce, who is 63-49 in two seasons with the Trojans.
SCOUTING MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE ? The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders come into the weekend with a 1-1 record. Last year, they went 40-22, winning the Sun Belt title and advancing to the NCAA Regional Tournament.
The Blue Raiders return a pair of first team all-Sun Belt infielders in shortstop Jeff Beachum and second baseman Eric McNamee. On the mound, Middle Tennessee State was hit hard with seven starters lost from last season.
The Blue Raiders are coached by Steve Peterson, who is 543-427-2 in his 18th season with the team. He is just four wins shy of his 700th career win (696-523-2).
SCOUTING OHIO STATE ? The Ohio State Buckeyes will open its 2005 season at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic. They have been the Big Ten runner-up each of the last three seasons.
Leading the way for Ohio State will be 2004 Big Ten Player of the Year Steve Caravati, who has already been named a preseason first team all-American. Joining him in the outfield will be 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Jacob Howell.
The Buckeyes return seven pitchers from last year, led by Mike Madsen and Trent Luyster.
Ohio State is coached by Bob Todd, who is in his 18th season with the team.
NON-CONFERENCE ACTION ? Sunday’s game between Iowa and Ohio State will not count in the Big Ten standings. This will be the only meeting between the two clubs, as the Buckeyes are off Iowa’s Big Ten schedule this season.
IF SMOLTZ CAN DO IT ? Junior Tim Gudex is making the move to the starting rotation after serving as the Hawkeye closer last season. He was 3-2 with four saves on the year and held opposing hitters to a team-low .258 batting average. He will be the Opening Day starter for Iowa this Friday.
DOUBLE PLAY COMBO ? The Hawkeyes figure to be solid up the middle with the return of shortstop Andy Lytle and second baseman Jason White. The two split time at second base last season, but both will see the field at the same time this year with Lytle’s move to shortstop.
FRESH FACES AT FIRST ? The Hawkeyes will have a newcomer at first base this year, with freshman Dusty Napoleon and sophomore transfer Brian Burmester battling for playing time. Napoleon is a talented youngster who was named Chicago Sun-Times Athlete of the Year as a high school senior, while Burmester was an all-NWAACC pick at Edmonds Community College last season.
YOHO PACES THE TEAM ? Last season, Hawkeye outfielder Nate Yoho led the Iowa offense in nine offensive categories, including games started (55), at bats (202), hits (63), doubles (15), home runs (4), RBIs (48), total bases (90), stolen base attempts (19) and sacrifice flies (6).
WELKER BEHIND THE PLATE ? Iowa will once again look to senior Kris Welker to handle the catching duties this season. Last year, Welker strapped on the gear for 50 of Iowa’s 55 games. He hit .284 and scored a team-high 35 runs.
FREE PASS ? Centerfielder L.J. Mims led the team with 19 walks last season. He made the free passes count, scoring 32 runs and stealing seven bases.
ONLY ON THE MOUND ? Last season, Kevin Sunderman was the only Hawkeye to pitch and play the field. This year, Sunderman will give up his third baseman’s glove and concentrate solely on pitching. He will be looked to in short relief for the Hawkeyes.
TRITON CONNECTION ?The Hawkeyes have forged a strong connection with JuCo power Triton Junior College. Nathan Price, Luke O’Loughlin and Brian Furlong all came to Iowa via Triton. First base coach Grady Symonds also played two years at Triton and coached there before joining the Hawkeyes. His father, Bob, is the Titans’ head coach.
RECRUITS RANKED ? The University of Iowa baseball team’s 2004 recruiting class has been ranked as the top class in the Big Ten Conference and 45th in the country by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (www.baseballnews.com).
LSU had the No. 1 class in the nation, while Arizona State, Texas, Oklahoma State and Tulane rounded out the top five. Other Big Ten schools ranked were Minnesota (No. 51), Michigan (No. 52), Ohio State (No. 63) and Illinois (No. 65).
The 2004 Hawkeye recruiting class included Danny Bales, Brian Burmester, T.J. Cataldo, David Conroy, Ryan Considine, Ben Geelan, Kody McManis, Dusty Napoleon, Luke O’Loughlin, Nate Price, Travis Sweet and Josh Wheatly.
HAWKEYE SIGN FOUR FOR 2006 ? After a banner recruiting year in 2004, the Hawkeyes kept the ball rolling by signing four prep standouts to National Letters of Intent this spring. Jordan Auerbach, Wes Freie, Ryan Gryzwa and Kevin Hoef all signed National Letters of Intent to attend the University of Iowa this fall.
JOHNSON IN THE DRAFT ? Former Hawkeye pitcher Nathan Johnson was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 20th round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. Johnson, a first team all-Big Ten pick in 2004, was the 602nd player chosen overall.
ACADEMIC AWARDS ? Eight Hawkeyes earned Academic all-Big Ten honors last season for their work in the classroom. Tim Gudex, Aaron Reasland, Austin Seward, Ryan Dupic and Mike Mogard earned spots on the team, along with Brent Jackson, Nathan Johnson and Jim Reid.
HOMEGROWN HAWKEYES ? Twenty-two of the 41 players on the 2005 Hawkeye team are native Iowans. Then next closest state is Illinois, with seven.
THE ASSISTANT COACHES ? Head Coach Jack Dahm will be assisted by batting coach Ryan Brownlee and pitching coach Nick Zumsande, along with volunteer assistant coach Grady Symonds and undergraduate assistant Chris Maliszewski.
Brownlee, who also serves as the teams recruiting coordinator, is in charge of the Hawkeye hitters and infield play. Before coming to Iowa, Brownlee was an assistant at James Madison for four years. His father, James, is the head coach at Illinois State
Zumsande enters his second year as the Iowa pitching coach. Before joining the Black and Gold, he was an assistant at Indiana State and Iowa State, while serving as the head coach at Muscatine Community College.
Symonds is in his first year with the Hawkeyes after working for his father, Bob, at Triton Junior College. He will be Iowa’s first base coach. Maliszewski will make the transfer to the coaching ranks after pitching for the Hawkeyes for four years. He will serve as the team’s bullpen coach and assist with the pitching staff.
THE NEXT GENERATION ? Hawkeye assistant coaches Ryan Brownlee and Grady Symonds are the sons of extremely successful coaches. Brownlee’s father Jim coached the Evansville Purple Aces for 23 years before taking over the job at Illinois State in 2003. He has won 745 games in his career.
Symonds is the son of Bob Symonds, the head coach at Triton Junior College, where he has been for 33 years. He is a member of the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY ? Hawkeye baseball ties run deep, and it shows in the support staff. Baseball administrator Fred Mims and baseball academic advisor Troy Wulf are both former Iowa baseball players.