March 16, 2005
IOWA CITY –
THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will finish their spring break trip with a pair of games against Illinois-Chicago. Iowa will battle the Flames Friday and Saturday night, with each game starting at 7 p.m. (ET).
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 have enjoyed a successful spring break so far, going 3-1 in Jacksonville, FL. Iowa ran off three-consecutive wins over Toledo (13-9) and Rider (16-2, 20-4), before falling at the hands of North Florida, 5-4, in a rain-shortened game.
Against Toledo, Andy Lytle came through in a big way with a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth. Down a run heading into the inning, the Hawkeyes scratched one across to tie the game, then loaded the bases to set the stage for Lytle’s heroics.
In game one against Rider, the Hawkeyes exploded for 16 runs off 16 hits. Iowa got home runs from Lytle, Andy Cox and Skylar Moss, while Nate Yoho was just a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Casey O’Rourke picked up the win.
In Monday’s game against Rider, Iowa once again cranked up its offense and pounded out 20 runs on 19 hits. Cox and Yoho each had a pair of home runs, while Kris Welker smashed a pair of doubles. Tim Gudex picked up the win for Iowa.
Tuesday brought rain and Iowa’s first loss of the trip. The Hawkeyes had a 4-2 lead in the third, but the Ospreys tied things up in the fourth and took the lead in the sixth before rains ended the game in the bottom of the eighth.
SCOUTING ILLINOIS-CHICAGO ? The University of Illinois-Chicago Flames are 3-8 on the season and riding a three-game winning streak.
The Flames’ offense is paced by former Hawkeye shortstop Jeff Gremley, who is hitting .375 with five doubles, two triples, a home run and eight RBIs. Gremley started 148 games in his three years at Iowa before transferring to UIC.
UIC’s pitching has struggled so far this season, allowing opposing batters to hit .343 against them. Ryan Zink is the team’s top hurler, and currently has a 4.91 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings.
The Flames are coached by Mike Dee, who is in his seventh season.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK ? Hawkeye senior Andy Cox was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week Monday after a monster weekend at the plate in Florida. Cox was 8-for-12 (.667) with four home runs in the three games over the weekend. He is the first Hawkeye to earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors this season.
WELKER ON BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST ? Iowa catcher Kris Welker has been named to the 2005 Johnny Bench Award watch list. The Johnny Bench Award is given annually to the top collegiate catcher.
Thirty-seven catchers from 16 different conferences were nominated for the award by their coaches. The list will be narrowed down to ten on May 17, and three finalists will be named on June 1 before the winner is announced at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 29.
DOUBLE DOUBLE ? Iowa seniors Andy Cox and Nate Yoho each hit a pair of home runs in Iowa’s 20-4 romp over Rider Monday. Cox now has a Big Ten-leading four home runs, while Yoho is right behind him with three.
O’ROURKE DEALS ? Hawkeye sophomore Casey O’Rourke picked up his second win of the season against Rider last Saturday. The Iowa hurler is 2-0, and has given up just three runs in 12 2/3 innings pitched. All three runs have come off first inning home runs, a solo shot against SMS and a two-run homer against Rider.
TWENTY RUNS ? Iowa’s 20-4 win over Rider was the most runs scored by a Hawkeye team since a 20-16 win over Grand View on March 21, 1999.
SCORING EXPLOSION ? The Hawkeyes scored a combined 36 runs in two games against Rider last weekend. That is more runs than any opponent last season, including eight four-game Big Ten series.
HITTING HAWKEYES ? The Hawkeyes are currently the third best hitting team in the Big Ten with a team batting average of .300. Only Indiana (.341) and Michigan (.308) are ahead of Iowa.
WALK-OFF ? Senior shortstop Andy Lytle provided some dramatic fireworks against Toledo Saturday, hitting a walk-off grand slam to give Iowa a 13-9 win. The homer was Lytle’s second of the season.
FIRST ONE’S THE HARDEST ? Junior Skylar Moss has seen limited action so far in his Hawkeye career, but made a big splash last weekend by hitting a home run for his first-career hit.
SENIOR SPEEDSTER ? Senior shortstop Andy Lytle currently leads the Big Ten with eight stolen bases. The Denver native was thrown out for the first time Tuesday against North Florida. He is 8-for-9 in stolen base attempts this year.
HE’S BAAAAACK ? All-Big Ten rightfielder Nate Yoho struggled at the plate a bit the first couple weeks of the season, but he came back in a big way down in Florida, raising his batting average 153 points in four games, while upping his slugging percentage 359 points over the same span. He is 8-for-16 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and eight RBIs in Florida so far.
O’LOUGHLIN HOLDS `EM DOWN ? Junior pitcher Luke O’Loughlin has been tough to hit this year, holding opposing batters to a .189 average.
PITCHING AND HITTING ? Two Iowa players have seen action both on the mound and in the batter’s box this season, freshmen Ben Geelan and Travis Sweet. Geelan is a perfect 2-for-2 on the season at the plate, and has four strikeouts in two innings pitched on the mound. Sweet is hitting .500 (3-for-6) at the plate and has thrown 4 1/3 innings in three appearances on the hill.
GOOD EYE ? Hawkeye freshman Dusty Napoleon is leading the Big Ten with 11 walks. He also has a team best three hit by pitches. Napoleon has an on base percentage of .500, despite hitting just .167.
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.
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.