March 1, 2005
IOWA CITY –
THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will travel to Springfield, MO, for a three-game series with the Southwest Missouri State Bears. The games will be played at Hammons Field. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
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 dropped a pair of games at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic in Dothan, AL. Iowa fell to Troy State in its 2005 season opener, 6-1, then lost to Middle Tennessee State, 11-9, on Saturday. Sunday’s scheduled game with Ohio State was rained out.
Against the host Trojans, the Iowa offense struggled in its first shot at live pitching this season, picking up just two hits on the day. Hawkeye hitters struck out 13 times on the day. Starter Tim Gudex threw well in the loss, giving up two earned runs in five innings.
Things were different against Middle Tennessee State, where Iowa pounded out 16 base hits on the day. With Iowa leading 7-4 in the fifth, the Blue Raiders put five runs on Hawkeye reliever Ryan Dupic to take a two run lead. The Hawkeyes tied things up in the top of the sixth, but Middle Tennessee State came back with runs in the bottom of the sixth and eighth to seal the win.
SCOUTING SOUTHWEST MISSOURI STATE ? Southwest Missouri State enters the week with a 1-5 record. The Bears play Kansas State in a single game Tuesday afternoon.
Southwest Missouri State returns seven pitchers from a 2004 staff that was one of the top in the Missouri Valley Conference. 2004 Freshman all-American Brett Sinkbeil and second team all-MVC starter Paul Marsala anchor the top of the Bear rotation. Sinkbeil is currently averaging a strikeout per inning.
In the outfield, SMS returns five players with starting experience. Jeff Hilgendorf is a career .353 hitter, but missed most of last season with an injury.
SMS leads the all-time series 13-29, and swept the Hawkeyes in a three-game set last season.
The Bears are coached by Keith Guttin, who is in his 22nd year at the helm.
HAWKEYES ON THE AIR ? College Sports Television announced last week that the Iowa-Nebraska game on April 6 will be televised to a national audience on CSTV. The game, to be played in Lincoln, NE, will start at 6 p.m.
GRAND START ? Junior outfielder Nate Price picked a great way to get his first hit as a Hawkeye, hitting a grand slam against Middle Tennessee State. Price was a two-time all-conference pick at Triton Junior College before coming to the University of Iowa.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER ? Hawkeye sophomore Casey O’Rourke was scheduled to make his 2005 debut against Ohio State, but the game was rained out. Now, O’Rourke is scheduled to start Friday’s series opener against Southwest Missouri State.
LYTLE LIGHTS `EM UP ? Senior Andy Lytle is currently leading the team with a .444 batting average. He picked up one of only two Hawkeye hits against Troy State, then went 3-for-6 against Middle Tennessee State.
SINGLES CLUB ? The Hawkeyes have been playing small ball so far this season, with 17 singles on the year. Nate Price’s grand slam has been the only extra base hit for the Hawkeyes.
LITTLE SMOLTZ ? 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 is currently 0-1 after throwing five innings in Iowa’s first game.
SWEET DEBUT ? Hawkeye freshman Travis Sweet made his first appearance in a black and gold uniform in the eighth against Troy State and looked good. The Cedar Rapids native allowed just one hit and no runs in his first inning of work for Iowa.
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 ? Hawkeye catcher Kris Welker has picked up where he left off last season, and is second on the team with a .429 batting average.
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.
In his first action of the year, Sunderman threw a hitless eighth against Middle Tennessee State, striking out one and walking one.
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.
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.