April 4, 2005
IOWA CITY –
THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes play some strong competition this week with a Wednesday game at No. 4 Nebraska and a four-game series at Michigan. Wednesday’s game in Lincoln is set to begin at 6:05 p.m. Friday’s game in Ann Arbor will start at 3 p.m., with Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s single game starting at 1 p.m. All times are Central.
HAWKEYES ON THE SMALL SCREEN ? Wednesday’s matchup with the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers will be broadcast to a national TV audience on CSTV. Mediacom Cable does not carry CSTV in Iowa City, but dish owners with the DirecTV Sports Pack will be able to catch the game on channel 610.
HAWKEYES ON THE AIR ? If you can’t make the road trip to Lincoln and you don’t have CSTV, you can still catch all the Hawkeye action on AM 800 KXIC. The pregame show will begin a half hour before the game. Voice of the Hawkeyes Brent Balbinot will call the play-by-play, with West High assistant baseball coach Tom Cronk supplying color commentary.
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.
LOOKING BACK ? The University of Iowa baseball team split a four-game series with the Michigan State Spartans. The Hawkeyes lost game one 3-1, then came back to take Saturday’s first game 7-6. The Spartans took game two of the doubleheader 11-5, but Iowa rebounded to win Sunday’s game 10-7.
Friday’s game was a classic Big Ten pitcher’s dual between Iowa’s Luke O’Loughlin and Michigan State’s Tim Day. O’Loughlin scattered 10 hits over 8 1/3 innings, striking out nine while walking just one. Day was just a notch better, picking up the win by throwing a complete game and striking out five.
The Hawkeyes made things very interesting in game one Saturday, blowing a three-run seventh inning lead only to come back and win the game in the bottom of the inning.
Leading 6-3 in the final inning, the Hawkeyes gave up three runs to let the Spartans tie things up.
The Hawkeyes came into the bottom of the seventh determined not to let their first conference win slip away, quickly loading the bases with one out. Pinch hitter Skylar Moss ripped a line drive off the second baseman’s glove, allowing Jesse Brownell to come home with the winning run.
In game two, the Spartans pounded out 12 hits on five different Hawkeye pitchers. Down 11-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the Hawkeyes did what they could to get back in the game, scoring a trio of runs in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough.
The Hawkeyes were impressive at the plate in Sunday’s win, pounding out 11 hits on the day. Senior designated hitter Kris Welker led the way for Iowa, going 3-5 with three RBIs. The Montana native was a triple short of the cycle, picking up a single, double and home run.
SCOUTING NEBRASKA ? The Nebraska Cornhuskers are 25-3 and ranked fourth by Collegiate Baseball. The Huskers are coming off a three-game sweep of Oklahoma State, and will play Creighton Tuesday before entertaining the Hawkeyes.
The Husker offense is paced by 2004 Big XII Player of the Year and first team all-American Alex Gordon, who is hitting .417 with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs. As a team, Nebraska is hitting .324.
On the hill, the Huskers have a team ERA of 2.15.
The all-time series between Nebraska and Iowa is tied 7-7.
Nebraska is coached by Mike Anderson, who is in his third year at the helm.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN ? The Michigan Wolverines are 16-7 (0-4) and coming off a four-game opening weekend sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The Wolverine offense is led by Chris Getz, who is fifth in the Big Ten with a .414 batting average and tied for second with 13 stolen bases. Michigan has four players hitting better than .350, and a team average of .309. That total is good for third in the Big Ten.
On the hill, the Wolverine ace is Jim Brauer, who is 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched. After Brauer, the Hawkeyes will probably face Paul Hammond (1-1, 4.12), Michael Penn (2-1, 3.18) and Derek Feldkamp (4-1, 3.64).
Michigan holds a commanding lead in the all-time series, 87-36. They are coached by Rich Maloney, who is in his third season.
WELKER MASHING ? Hawkeye catcher Kris Welker had a big series at the plate, knocking home a Big Ten best seven RBIs during the conference’s opening weekend. The senior had three RBIs in both Iowa wins, and was a triple short of the cycle in Sunday’s win.
O’LOUGHLIN LOOKING FOR FIRST WIN ? Junior hurler Luke O’Loughlin took a tough loss in Iowa’s Friday night game against Michigan State. He allowed three runs in eight and 1/3 innings, striking out nine and walking just one. The Chicago native is 0-2 on the season, despite posting a team-low 3.18 ERA. He also leads the Big Ten in strikeouts in conference play (9).
REASLAND SPELLS RELIEF ? With the Hawkeyes looking to hold on to a win Sunday, junior Aaron Reasland came in and retired all nine batters he faced in three innings. The Libson, IA, native lowered his ERA to 4.82. Opposing batters are hitting just .229 off him.
NAPOLEON PRODUCING ? Hawkeye freshman Dusty Napoleon did well in his Big Ten debut. He is the conference leader in on base percentage in Big Ten play with .643, along with being third in batting average (.545). In all games, he is tied for the lead with 16 walks.
Despite having a .217 batting average, Napoleon is third on the team with a .455 on base percentage.
CLUTCH TIME ? While senior Andy Lytle leads the team with a .403 batting average, he has also been a very clutch player for the Hawkeyes. He is hitting .463 with runners on base and .462 with runners in scoring position. Lytle is also likely to keep a rally going, as he is hitting .450 with two outs.
O’ROURKE SOLID AGAIN ? Sophomore pitcher Casey O’Rourke had another good outing Saturday, giving up just five hits in six 1/3 innings while striking out seven and walking one. The Williamsburg, IA, native missed out on his third win when the Spartans tied the game up off the Hawkeye bullpen.
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.
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.
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.
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.