Hawkeyes Set For Big Ten Tournament

May 23, 2005

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will travel back to Champaign, IL, for the 2005 Big Ten Tournament. Iowa is the No. 3 seed, and will take on No. 6 seed Minnesota in its first round game Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. If Iowa wins, the Hawkeyes will battle second-seeded Purdue Thursday at 3:35 p.m. If Iowa loses, it will play the loser of No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Ohio State in an elimination game Thursday at 12:05 p.m.

HAWKEYES ON THE AIR ? If you can’t make it over to Champaign this weekend, you can still catch all the Hawkeye action on AM 800 KXIC. Each game Iowa plays at the Big Ten Tournament will be broadcast. Voice of the Hawkeyes Brent Balbinot will call the play-by-play, with Iowa City West High Assistant Baseball Coach Tom Cronk supplying color commentary.

HAWKEYES ON THE NET ? Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes this week, 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.

TOURNEY TIME ? The Hawkeyes return to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2002 and only the second time in the last 15 years. In 2002, the Hawkeyes went 0-2 and were the first team eliminated. Overall, Iowa has been in five Big Ten Tournaments and has a 4-10 record. The Hawkeyes’ best finish was runner-up in 1983.

IOWA AGAINST THE FIELD ? The Hawkeyes are 9-6 against the Big Ten Tournament field this season, having won 3-of-4 games against Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota. The Hawkeyes lost 3-of-4 against Purdue and didn’t play Ohio State during the Big Ten season.

THREE OUT OF FOUR AINT BAD ? The Hawkeyes won three-of-four games at Illinois last weekend, giving them their fifth series win of the year. It is the first time Iowa has won five Big Ten series since 1990, when it won six.

DOMINATION ? Hawkeye closer Tim Gudex was nothing short of dominant during the 2005 Big Ten season, and it shows in the final stats.

In conference play, Gudex led the league in wins (7), saves (6), ERA (1.11), appearances (19), games in relief (19), games finished (19) and opposing batting average (.205). He is believed to be the first pitcher in Big Ten history to lead the league in wins and saves in the same year.

Gudex also led the league with an overall ERA of 2.56.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK ? Catcher Kris Welker was named Big Ten Player of the Week after hitting .600 with four runs batted in and three runs scored in the season-ending series with Illinois. The senior catcher produced a slugging percentage of .867 and recorded three multi-hit games and was a home run short of the cycle in the series finale when he had three RBI in the 7-1 triumph. It is his first Player of the Week honor.

BACK ON THE HORSE ? After blowing his first save of the year against Purdue, Hawkeye closer Tim Gudex came right back and picked up a pair of saves against Illinois.

LAST TIME AGAINST MINNESOTA ? The Hawkeyes took three-of-four games against Minnesota earlier this season at Banks Field. Iowa rebounded from a 2-3 loss on Friday to storm back and sweep the doubleheader Saturday 3-1 and 10-9, then take the series by winning Sunday’s game 7-3. Skyler Moss hit .500 (5-for-10), while Nate Yoho hit .364 (4-of-11) with a pair of home runs against the Gophers. Tim Gudex picked up both wins in Saturday’s doubleheader, despite not getting to the park until the third inning due to illness. His efforts earned him Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors.

LAST TIME IN THE TOURNAMENT ? In 2002, the Hawkeyes won four-of-their-last-five games to clinch a spot in the Big Ten Tournament.

In game one against Indiana, the Hawkeyes jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before the Hoosiers came storming back to win 7-4 and push Iowa into the consolation bracket.

In the Hawkeyes’ second game, Michigan State put Iowa in a 9-0 hole in the third inning and cruised the rest of the way to end the Black and Gold’s season, 13-9. Brad Carlson managed to make history in the loss, hitting a pair of home runs to give him an Iowa record 45 for his career. The record still stands.

TIES TO 2002 ? Iowa bullpen coach Chris Maliszewski was a member of the last Iowa team to make the Big Ten Tournament. In fact, Maliszewski was the winning pitcher in the win over Illinois that clinched the playoff berth for Iowa.

LET HIM AT `EM ? Iowa second baseman Jason White and catcher Kris Welker must be excited to face the Big Ten Tournament field, as both have had tremendous success. White hit .442 with four doubles, three triples and seven RBIs against the teams that made the tournament. Welker hit .418 against the them this season with seven doubles, two triples, a home run and 14 RBIs.

WHITE HOT ? Second baseman Jason White has been on fire lately, and has upped his average in conference play to a team-best .383. That total is good for eighth in the conference.

19 CONFERENCE WINS ? The Hawkeyes went 19-13 in the Big Ten this year, which is the second-most wins Iowa has ever earned in the conference. Iowa’s best season in the Big Ten was 1990 when the Hawkeyes went 22-6 en route to the regular season championship.

NEXT STEP IS REGIONALS ? If the Hawkeyes can win the Big Ten Tournament, they will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional Tournament. The last time Iowa was a member of the NCAA Tournament field was 1990. The Hawkeyes went 0-2 and were eliminated after losses to North Carolina and Maine.

YOHO GOES DEEP ? Iowa rightfielder Nate Yoho hit a pair of home runs at Illinois last weekend, giving him a team-leading seven on the season.

O’LOUGHLIN HURTING ? Hawkeye ace Luke O’Loughlin’s status for the Big Ten Tournament is unknown. He is still day-to-day after leaving his May 13 start at Purdue after one pitch in the second inning with an injury.

300 CLUB ? As a team, the Hawkeyes are hitting .313 in Big Ten play while holding opposing batters to a .283 average. Overall, Iowa is hitting .298 as a team.

LUCKY SEVEN ? Junior designated hitter Skyler Moss comes into the Big Ten Tournament riding a seven game hitting streak. He is hitting .385 during the streak.

The longest hitting streak in an Iowa uniform this season was by Nate Price, who hit safely in 19 consecutive games. Dusty Napoleon had a 16-game streak.

CLUTCH HITTERS ? Hawkeye freshman Travis Sweet is hitting .571 with runners in scoring position, best on the team. Jason White is second, hitting .442 with a runner on second or third. As a team, Iowa is hitting .312 with runners in scoring position.

RUN PRODUCTION ? Hawkeye catcher Kris Welker is tied for second in the Big Ten with 33 RBIs in league play. He is also tied for the league lead with 12 doubles.

Overall, Welker leads the Hawkeyes with 44 RBIs, 16 doubles and 13 hit by pitch.

EXTRA BASES ? Senior infielder Andy Cox has a higher percentage of extra base hits than anyone on the team, with 45% (20 of 44) of his hits going for extra bases.

DON’T STRAY TOO FAR ? Iowa has picked off 19 baserunners so far this season, tops in the Big Ten.

BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE ? Sophomore Jeff “Boomer” Engel is holding on to the leftfield spot, starting eight of the last ten games. Engel has delivered, hitting .375 with a home run and six RBIs.

BIG TEN HONORS ? The Hawkeyes have had three players earn Big Ten weekly honors this season. Andy Cox was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week on March 15. Tim Gudex was named co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on April 11 and Big Ten Pitcher of the Week May 10. Kris Welker was named Big Ten Player of the Week this week.

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. Three finalists will be named on June 1 before the winner is announced at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet June 29.

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 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 academic advisor Troy Wulf are both former Iowa baseball players.