Hawkeyes Set to Open Big Ten Season

March 29, 2005


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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will play a single game at Illinois State Wednesday (6 p.m.) before opening the Big Ten Conference schedule and the 2005 home season with a four-game set against Michigan State. Friday’s game will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a doubleheader Saturday (2 p.m.) and a single game Sunday (1 p.m.). All games will be played at Banks Field. Tickets are $3 for adults and $2 for kids 18 and under. University of Iowa students receive free admission.

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 were swept in a three-game series by No. 21 Wichita State. Iowa lost the first game 6-1, then fell 17-6 and 7-3 in the final two games.

In game one, Iowa and Wichita State each had seven hits, but the Hawkeyes were unable to get the timely knock and left 13 runners stranded. Junior Luke O’Loughlin took the loss for Iowa, throwing six and 2/3 innings. He allowed seven hits and six runs (four earned). Sophomore Chris Zinn pitched an inning and a third of hitless relief.

On Saturday, things started well for Iowa, who took a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth on five singles and a wild pitch. The Hawkeyes had a chance for more runs in the inning, but left the bases loaded.

Wichita State came back in a big way in the bottom of the inning, posting five runs on six hits to take a 6-3 advantage. Iowa tied the game with a run in the fifth and two in the sixth, but the Shockers then opened the offensive floodgates and put the game out of reach. Wichita State scored four in the bottom of the sixth, five in the seventh and two in the eighth to take a 17-6 lead.

In the series finale, the Hawkeyes led 3-2 before giving up five runs in the seventh. Zinn took the loss for Iowa. Austin Seward started on the hill, scattering six hits in five and 1/3 innings.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE ? The Illinois State Redbirds are 9-12 on the season and 0-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The offense is led by Chris Frank, who is hitting .361 on the season. Matt Bolt is hitting .309 with a team-best three home runs and 11 RBIs. Jay Molina leads the team with 15 runs batted in.

For Wednesday’s game, Illinois State will be throwing Kitt Kopach, who is 1-3 with a 7.18 ERA. The Hawkeyes faced Kopach last season, with Iowa winning 8-2.

Illinois State is coached by Jim Brownlee, who is in his third season with the Redbirds and 26th season as a head coach.

The all-time series between the two schools is tied 5-5, with Iowa winning the last four.

WHO’S YOUR DADDY? ? Hawkeye assistant coach Ryan Brownlee will notice a familiar face in the opposing dugout Wednesday, as his father Jim is the head coach of the Redbirds.

SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE ? The Michigan State Spartans come into the week with a 8-9 record on the year. They will play at Toledo Tuesday, then host Wayne State Wednesday before making the trip to Iowa City.

The Spartan offense is led by a pair of sophomore outfielders. Ryan Basham has a .333 average to go with four home runs and 13 RBIs. Adam Tripp is hitting .329 with three home runs and 14 RBIs.

On the hill, Iowa can expect to see Craig Brookes (1-1, 3.60 ERA and 16 K), Chris Malec (2-2, 4.44, 19 K) and Tim Day (2-2, 5.59, 16 K).

Michigan State leads the all-time series, 61-53-1, and swept the Hawkeyes in a four-game set in East Lansing last season. Two of the games went into extra innings.

The Spartans are coached by Ted Mahan, who is in his tenth season at Michigan State.

MIMS ON THE SHELF ? The Hawkeyes will be without the services of junior L.J. Mims, who suffered a broken arm after being hit by a pitch in Friday’s game with Wichita State. He will be out six to eight weeks.

Mims had started ten games in centerfield, and was the Hawkeye leadoff hitter. He was hitting .273 with seven RBIs and four stolen bases. Freshman Ryan Considine and junior Nate Price will handle the centerfield duties while Mims is out.

CONROY TO START ? Freshman pitcher David Conroy is expected to make his first career start Wednesday against Illinois State. The Mount Vernon native has made two relief appearances this season, allowing no hits in two innings, striking out one and walking three.

LYTLE IN THE BIG TEN ? Senior shortstop Andy Lytle is ranked in the top ten of eight offensive categories in the Big Ten Conference. He is second in batting average (.441), fourth in on base percentage (.507), fifth in stolen base attempts (10), sixth in stolen bases (8), tied for eighth in runs scored (15) and hit by pitch (3), tenth in RBI (15) and slugging percentage (.610), and tied for tenth in hits (26).

McMANIS HURT ? Freshman third baseman Kody McManis suffered a broken finger last weekend and could be unavailable for up to four weeks. The Bozeman, MT, native has seen action in four games, including two starts. He is hitting .222 with a pair of hits and one RBI.

BACK TO THE PEN? ? 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 has come out of the bullpen four times. He leads the team with seven appearances.

In his seven innings of relief work, Gudex recorded eight strikeouts, the same number he had in 13 2/3 innings as a starter.

MOSS PRODUCING ? Hawkeye junior Skylar Moss has done well when given the opportunity this season, hitting .300 with a home run and two RBIs in 20 at bats. He has played in nine games, starting four. Before this season, Moss had only two career at bats. He sat out all of last season due to injury.

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.

O’LOUGHLIN HOLDS `EM DOWN ? Junior pitcher Luke O’Loughlin has been tough to hit this year, holding opposing batters to a .222 average.

HAWKEYES ON THE AIR ? College Sports Television announced 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 6:05 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.

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. The 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.