Hawkeyes Ready For First Pitch

Feb. 22, 2006

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will kick off the 2006 season this weekend at the Austin Peay Tournament in Clarksville, TN. Iowa will open with host Austin Peay at 2:30 p.m. Friday. The Hawkeyes then take on Illinois State Saturday at 11 a.m. and finish with Dayton Sunday at 11 a.m.

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 ? Last year, the Hawkeyes had one of their most successful seasons in years. Iowa went 28-29 against a very tough schedule, and finished just a game out of first place in the Big Ten Conference.

TOURNEY TIME ? Last year, the Hawkeyes returned to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2002 and only the second time in the last 15 years.

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 winningest season in the Big Ten was 1990 when the Hawkeyes went 22-6 en route to the regular season championship. The 1972 Hawkeye team had a school record .812 winning percentage in Big Ten play (13-3).

THREE OUT OF FOUR AINT BAD ? The Hawkeyes won five Big Ten series last season for the first time since 1990, when they won a school-record six. Iowa took three-of-four games from Indiana, Michigan, Penn State, Minnesota, and Big Ten Regular Season Champion Illinois.

SCOUTING AUSTIN PEAY ? Austin Peay is 1-0 on the season after winning its opening game in dramatic fashion against Birmingham-Southern last Friday. With the game tied 2-2, The Governors loaded the bases for senior Ryan Kane, who drew a walk-off walk to win the game.

Austin Peay was picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference this season after reaching the NCAA Regional Tournament last year. The pitching staff is led by ace Rowdy Hardy, the 2005 OVC Pitcher of the Year. He was selected as Baseball America’s preseason conference Player of the Year, after an OVC best 11 wins and 96 strikeouts in 2005.

Jacob Shroeder returns after racking up a team-best 15 doubles and seven home runs. Cody Youngblood hit .293 in the leadoff spot for the Govs in 2005, led the Govs in runs (57) and stole an OVC-best 29 bases.

The Governors are coached by Gary McClure.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE ? The Illinois State Redbirds will be playing its first games this week after the team’s trip to Texas was cancelled due to inclement weather last weekend.

The Redbirds return seven-of-eight position players from last year’s team, led by outfielder Matt Bolt who was an all-Valley pick last year and hit .323. Junior Kyle O’Brien and sophomore Ryan Anetsberger were also named to the preseason all-Valley team.

Illinois State is coached by Jim Brownlee, who is in his fourth year with the Redbirds and 27th year as a head coach. He previously coached for 23 years at Evansville.

FAMILY TIES ? Illinois State head coach Jim Brownlee is the father of Hawkeye assistant coach Ryan Brownlee. Ryan played for his father at Evansville, and then coached with him for two years.

SCOUTING DAYTON ? The Dayton Flyers are 0-2 on the season after dropping a doubleheader to Wofford last weekend. They were picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic-10 preseason poll.

First team all-Atlantic 10 second baseman Galen Schumm returns to the field, as does leadoff hitter Michael Massa.

On the hill, the Hawkeyes expect to see freshman southpaw Quinn Haselhorst, who will be making his first career start.

Dayton is coached by Tony Vittorio, who is in his seventh year with the Flyers.

PRESEASON HONORS ? Hawkeye closer Tim Gudex has been named the preseason Big Ten Pitcher of the Year by Collegiate Baseball. Purdue’s Mitch Hilligoss was named preseason Player of the Year, while the Ohio State Buckeyes were picked to win the league. Iowa was picked to finish fifth.

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.

O’LOUGHLIN STARTS IN THE PEN ? Senior ace Luke O’Loughlin will begin the 2006 season in the bullpen for the Hawkeyes while recovering from offseason back surgery. O’Loughlin was Iowa’s Friday starter last year, posting a 1-4 record and a 3.86 ERA in 67 2/3 innings pitched. He made four appearances in relief, picking up two saves.

WHITE MOVES TO SHORT ? Junior Jason White will move to shortstop this season after earning third team all-Big Ten honors last year at second base. He will replace departing Andy Lytle, who graduated and was drafted by the Cleveland Indians.

White was a monster in conference play last year, hitting a team-best .383 with three triples and 18 RBIs. Overall, White had a .977 fielding percentage at second base.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT ? Senior Nate Price will be back in centerfield for the Hawkeyes this year. Last year, Price was a second team all-Big Ten selection after hitting .351 in conference play. At one point during the season, the Battle Creek, MI, native had a team-best 19-game hitting streak.

BACKSTOP BATTLE ? The Hawkeyes have a pair of catchers battling for chance to replace departing backstop Kris Welker. Sophomores Dusty Napoleon and Ben Geelan are both good young players capable of handling duties behind the plate.

Napoleon hit .295 as Iowa’s primary first baseman last year. Geelan hit .375 in limited action behind the plate. Napoleon will still play first base when not catching.

O’ROURKE OUT ? Junior pitcher Casey O’Rourke has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. He will sit out the 2006 season and hopefully return to the team in 2007.

O’Rourke was Iowa’s No. 2 starter last season and finished with a 2-5 record. Over the summer, he was an all-star in the Northwoods League and led the league in wins.

2005 HONORS ? The Hawkeyes racked up the awards last season.Closer Tim Gudex was named to the 2005 American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings NCAA All-Mideast Region Second Team, along with being a first team all-Big Ten pick. Nate Price was named to the all-Big Ten second team, while Andy Lytle, Kris Welker and Jason White were both named to the third team.

OFFSEASON ALL-STARS ? University of Iowa baseball players Casey O’Rourke and Austin Seward were named to the North Division All-Star Team in the Northwoods League.

The Northwoods League is one of ten summer collegiate baseball leagues affiliated with the National Association of Summer Collegiate Baseball (NASCB). Team rosters of the CICL and all other NACSB leagues are comprised solely of players who have completed one year of college and who still have college eligibility.

CLUTCH HITTERS ? Hawkeye freshman Travis Sweet hit .571 with runners in scoring position, best on the team. Ben Geelan was second at .429, while Jason White hit .422 with a runner on second or third.

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

HAWKEYES GO PRO ? A pair of University of Iowa baseball players were selected in Major League Baseball’s 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Shortstop Andy Lytle was taken by the Cleveland Indians in the 25th round, while catcher Kris Welker was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 41st round. Additionally, Nate Yoho (Milwaukee Brewers) and Jesse Brownell (Colorado Rockies) signed free agent contracts.

BIG TEN WEEKLY HONORS ? The Hawkeyes had three players earn Big Ten weekly honors last 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 on May 23, the final week of the regular season.

HAWKEYE SIGN FIVE FOR 2007 ? The University of Iowa Baseball team signed five new recruits this spring. Brock Alberts, Tyson Blaser, Kyle Heim, Michael Jacobs and George Rasiarmos all signed National Letters of Intent to attend the University of Iowa in the fall of 2006.

HOMEGROWN HAWKEYES ? Twenty of the 41 players on the 2006 Hawkeye team are native Iowans. The next closest state is Illinois, with ten

THE ASSISTANT COACHES ? Head Coach Jack Dahm is assisted by batting coach Ryan Brownlee and pitching coach Nick Zumsande, along with volunteer assistant coach 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 third 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.

Maliszewski will serve as the team’s bullpen coach and assist with the pitching staff.

STAFF ADDITION ? The Hawkeye coaching staff has a new addition this year in Director of Baseball Operations Matt Haddy. He will assist the coaching staff with the day-to-day operations and administrative areas of the program. Haddy will also serve as the co-director of Hawkeye Baseball Camps.

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.