Hawkeyes Set to Battle Wichita State

March 21, 2005


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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes head to Kansas this weekend for a three-game series with the No. 21 Wichita State Shockers. Friday’s game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., with Saturday’s game following at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s at 1 p.m. All times are Central.

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 their spring break trip with a pair of extra-inning losses to the Illinois-Chicago Flames. Iowa fell 2-1 Friday night, then 5-4 Saturday.

With the score knotted at one in Friday’s game, relief pitcher Tim Gudex struck out the first batter in the bottom of the tenth then gave up a triple to Larry Gempp. Kevin Sunderman replaced Gudex, and picked up the second out via strikeout. Iowa was unable to get out of the inning, however, as a wild pitch allowed the winning run to cross the plate.

The Hawkeyes out-hit Illinois-Chicago 10-7, but were unable to get the timely hit and left 11 men on base. Senior Andy Lytle continued his hot hitting for the Hawkeyes, going 3-5 with a double.

With the scored tied 4-4 in the tenth of game two, former Hawkeye Jeff Gremley started things off for the Flames with a walk. Bryan Nolte then managed a one-out single off Hawkeye reliever Sunderman, which moved Gremley to third. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Gempp to give Illinois-Chicago a 5-4 lead.

The Hawkeyes managed to get the tying run in scoring position with a single from Nate Yoho and sacrifice bunt by Kris Welker in the bottom of the tenth, but a pop out and ground out ended the night for Iowa.

SCOUTING WICHITA STATE ? The Wichita State Shockers are 19-5 and ranked 21st by Collegiate Baseball.

The Shocker offense has a lack of long ball power, but make up for it with speed. Wichita State has hit just six home runs as a team, but has 45 stolen bases already. Freshman Tyler Hill is hitting a team-best .377 with 15 RBIs. Sophomore Derek Schermerhorn is hitting .319 with a team-best 22 RBIs and nine doubles.

On the hill, all-American and 2004 MVC Pitcher of the Year Mike Pelfrey anchors the staff. He is 3-2 on the season with a 1.80 ERA. Sophomore Kris Johnson is 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA. Three Wichita State starters have an ERA below 2.00.

The Shockers are coached by Gene Stephenson, who has a 1,474-470-3 overall record in his 27 seasons at Wichita State, which ranks him first in winning percentage (.757) among active coaches and second in wins.

Wichita State leads the all-time series 0-7.

JUST ONE MORE RUN ? The Hawkeyes are currently on a three-game losing streak, with all three games being decided by one run. Iowa’s last two games have gone into extra innings.

O’ROURKE STILL DEALING ? Hawkeye sophomore Casey O’Rourke is currently 2-0 and fourth in the Big Ten with a 1.96 ERA. He has given up just four earned runs in 18 1/3 innings.

LYTLE IN THE BIG TEN ? Senior shortstop Andy Lytle is currently sixth in the Big Ten with a .438 batting average. He is also tied for the conference lead with eight stolen bases on the year.

GUDEX THE UTILITY PITCHER ? Hawkeye southpaw Tim Gudex has proven to be one of the most versatile arms on the Iowa staff. After starting three games this season, the junior came out of bullpen in both of Iowa’s games against Illinois Chicago. Gudex fared well, striking out six in four and 2/3 innings of relief.

The trip back to the bullpen was due to the Hawkeyes having a short weekend of just two games. Gudex is expected to re-join the starting rotation.

WORKOUT WARRIOR ? Hawkeye outfielder Mike Mogard was named 2005 All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete by the National Strength and Conditioning Associations. The awards are given to the athletes nominated by their strength and conditioning coaches who’s workout habit highlight their dedication to the sport.

SPRING BREAKERS ? The Hawkeye bats heated up in Florida, hitting .319 as a team. Seniors Andy Lytle and Nate Yoho led the way for Iowa. Lytle hit .545 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and ten RBIs, while Yoho hit .440 with three doubles, a triple, two home runs and nine RBIs.

O’LOUGHLIN HOLDS `EM DOWN ? Junior pitcher Luke O’Loughlin has been tough to hit this year, holding opposing batters to a .206 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 2-for-3 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 five innings in four appearances on the hill.

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.

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.

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.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK ? Hawkeye senior Andy Cox was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week March 14 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.

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 was ranked as the top class in the Big Ten Conference and 45th in the country by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (www.baseballnews.com).

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.