Hawkeyes Head to Florida

March 7, 2005


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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will head down to sunny Florida to begin their spring break trip. Iowa will open on the campus of Jacksonville University with a Saturday game against Toledo at 11 a.m., then play Rider Sunday at 1:30 p.m. On Monday, Iowa will head across town to North Florida University for a 4 p.m. rematch with Rider and a 7 p.m. game against the host Ospreys.

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 two out of three games at Southwest Missouri State last weekend, winning Friday’s matchup 11-1, then falling 8-6 Saturday and 8-7 in 12 innings Sunday.

In game one, the Hawkeyes pounded out 12 hits and got solid pitching out of starter Casey O’Rourke and junior Luke O’Loughlin.

In game two, the Hawkeyes led 6-5 heading into the bottom of the fifth, when the Bears loaded the bases off Iowa relief pitcher Travis Sweet and got a two-run double off the bat of Matt Weglarz. The Southwest Missouri State pitching staff dug in after that, allowing just a ninth-inning single the rest of the way.

In the series finale, the Hawkeyes took a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth, and Iowa closer Scott Brune retired the first two hitters before giving up a game-tying home run to Zach Harris.

After a scoreless tenth, the Hawkeyes took a 7-6 lead in the top of the 11th. Andy Cox led off with a walk, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Dusty Napoleon. Brian Burmester then came off the bench and ripped a single that scored Cox.

The Bears came right back in the bottom of the 11th, when Kirk McConnell hit a leadoff home run. After Iowa went 1-2-3 in the 12th, Jacob Hilgendorf tripled, then scored on an error by Iowa second baseman Jason White to end the game.

SCOUTING TOLEDO ? The Toledo Rockets come into the week with a 1-5 record, but will play three games before meeting the Hawkeyes on Saturday.

The Rocket offense was hit hard by graduation, losing five of its top six hitters from last season. Catcher Dan Ruth will anchor the offense this year after hitting .387 with two home runs and 29 RBIs last season. This season, Dan Stong is currently leading the starters with a .318 average.

On the hill, Nick Szczur has been most effective, going 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA and 12 strikeouts.

The Rockets are coached by Cory Mee, who is in his second season.

SCOUTING RIDER ? The Rider Broncos come into the week with a 0-4 record, and will play a pair of games before taking on Iowa this weekend.

Tom Letizia is leading the way offensively this year, hitting .364 with a pair of RBIs.

They are coached by Barry Davis, who is in his first season at the helm.

SCOUTING NORTH FLORIDA ? The North Florida Ospreys are 12-6 and will play five games before taking on Iowa next Monday.

The UNF offense is led by University of Florida transfer Jon Skorupski, who is hitting .343 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. Marian Knowles is hitting .311 with four home runs and 15 RBIs.

On the hill, the Ospreys have a 2.95 team ERA. Kyle Aylor is 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA and 27 strikeouts, while Colin Fender is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA.

North Florida is coached by Dusty Rhodes, who is in his 17th season.

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.

BACK-TO-BACK ? Hawkeye seniors Nate Yoho and Kris Welker hit back-to-back home runs in Iowa’s 11-1 win over Southwest Missouri State last weekend.

HOT HAND LUKE ? Junior pitcher Luke O’Loughlin had a great weekend, throwing four 2/3 innings of hitless relief in two games. O’Loughlin earned his first save in Iowa’s win over Southwest Missouri State. On the season, opponents are hitting just .105 off him.

After two weeks in the bullpen, O’Loughlin is expected to make his first start next weekend in Florida.

O’ROURKE SOLID ? Sophomore hurler Casey O’Rourke looked great in his 2005 debut, allowing just one run and five hits in picking up the win over Southwest Missouri State Friday. The victory was the first of O’Rourke’s career. He was 0-3 as a freshman.

SENIOR THIEVES ? Senior rightfielder Nate Yoho has been burning up the basepaths this season, and is a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts. Classmate Andy Lytle is second on the team, going 4-of-4.

NICE DEBUT ? Freshman Kody McManis started his first game in black and gold at third base and went 1-for-2 with a run scored.

WHITE IN THE CLUTCH ? Sophomore second baseman Jason White is hitting a team-best .600 with runners in scoring position.

WELKER KNOCKS `EM IN ? Senior catcher Kris Welker is hitting well this season, and has a team-best six RBIs. His .350 average is tops among Hawkeyes with more than ten at bats.

FINDING HIS WAY ON ? Freshman Dusty Napoleon is hitting just .100 so far, but he has a team-leading .500 on base percentage due to his team-best seven walks.

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).

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.