Undefeated Hawkeyes Travel to Louisiana

Feb. 28, 2006

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will head south to take part in the Louisiana Cajun Classic, hosted by the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Iowa will open with Northwestern State Friday at 2 p.m., then battle the host Ragin Cajuns Saturday at 2 p.m. The Hawkeyes will close with the Evansville Purple Aces Sunday at noon.

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.

LAST TIME OUT ? The Hawkeyes opened the season with a bang last weekend, winning the Austin Peay Tournament with a 3-0 record. Iowa toppled the host Governors, 12-10, then blew out Illinois State 10-0. On Sunday, the Hawkeyes captured the title with a 6-3 win over Dayton.

Trailing 10-7 in the ninth against Austin Peay, the Hawkeyes scored five runs in the final inning. Brian Burmester led off with a pinch hit single, and Iowa loaded the bases when Ryan Considine and Jason White were hit by pitch. Senior Nate Price then brought Burmester home with an RBI groundout and stole second. Junior Matt Wooldrik then walked and Travis Sweet tied the game up with a single to right. With runners at first and third, Dusty Napoleon smacked a ground ball to second, which was booted and allowed Wooldrik to score the go-ahead run. Iowa picked up an insurance run with a double steal involving Sweet and Napoleon.

All-Big Ten closer Tim Gudex then came in and struck out the side to get his first save of the year. Freshman Steve Turnbull picked up the win in relief.

Against Illinois State, senior righthander Austin Seward threw six strong innings in picking up the win. He allowed just two hits and just one walk, while striking out a pair. Price jump started the Iowa offense, going 3-of-4 with a stolen base and three RBIs.

Like Friday’s win over Austin Peay, the Hawkeyes came from behind and scored five runs in the top of the ninth Sunday against the Flyers. Trailing 3-1, Skyler Moss started things off with a pinch-hit single, followed by Burmester drawing a pinch-hit walk. White moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt, and Considine plated Moss with a sacrifice fly to center. Price, Wooldrik and Sweet each picked up two-out RBI singles to give Iowa the lead. Two walks and a wild pitch loaded the bases for Moss, who drew a walk to give the Hawkeyes an insurance run.

Gudex, who ended the eighth without throwing a pitch by picking off Joe McSoley, threw a hitless ninth to pick up his first win of the season.

Wooldrik led the offense, going 3-for-5 and picking up his second three-hit game of the season.

ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS ? Winning has its advantages, as six Hawkeyes were named to the Austin Peay all-tournament team.

Travis Sweet, Nate Price, Matt Wooldrik, Austin Seward, Tim Gudex and Wes Freie were all named to the all-tournament team for their performances over the weekend.

SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN STATE ? Northwestern State is currently 7-4 on the year after a two-game weekend sweep of Oakland. The Demons will play Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday before taking on the Hawkeyes Friday. Northwestern State will be the second 2005 NCAA Tournament team Iowa faces this year.

The Demon offense is led by leftfielder Michael Palermo, who is hitting a team-best .364 with three doubles, a home run and two RBIs.Junior Miles Durham is hitting .308 with three triples, two home runs and a team-best 13 RBIs. He also has four stolen bases.

Northwestern State’s ace is junior southpaw Frasier Robinson, who is 2-0 with a 0.42 on the year. He has 18 strikeouts and just four walks in 21 2/3 innings pitched this season.

Friday will be the first meeting between Iowa and Northwestern State.

The Demons are coached by Mitch Gaspard, who is in his fifth season.

SCOUTING LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE ? The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns are 2-1 on the season and coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2005.

Their offense is led by senior outfielder John McCarthy, who is hitting a team-best .364 with a double, two RBIs and three stolen bases.

On the hill, the Ragin’ Cajun ace is sophomore southpaw Hunter Moody, who is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA so far this season. He has struck out eight in 11 innings, while walking just two.

Louisiana-Lafayette is coached by Tony Robichaux, who is in his 12th season at the helm.

Saturday will be the first meeting between Iowa and Louisiana-Lafayette.

SCOUTING EVANSVILLE ? The Evansville Purple Aces are 6-3 on the year and have a pair of games this week before heading to the Louisiana Cajun Classic.

Junior outfielder Ken Watts is pacing the offense with a .353 average. He also has three doubles and seven RBIs. Junior Pat Tumilty is hitting .333 with two home runs and eight RBIs.

The ace of the Purple Ace pitching staff is Adam Rogers, who is 1-1 with a 2.21 ERA on the season. He has struck out 18 while walking just one in 20 1/3 innings pitched.

Evansville is coached by Dave Schrage, who is in his fourth year. He previously coached at Waldorf College in Forest City, IA, and at UNI.

JUMP START THE OFFENSE ? If the old saying that you can tell how a season will go by the first batter is true, the Hawkeyes are in for a good time this year. Leadoff hitter Nate Price kicked off the 2006 season with a base hit to center, then promptly stole second base. He then pulled the same feat in Saturday’s game against Illinois State.

PICKING UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF ? Senior closer Tim Gudex wasted no time in picking up where he left off last year, getting a save and a win in two appearances last weekend. The first team all-Big Ten closer faced six hitters and struck out five. Only one batter put the ball in play against Gudex, a weak groundout to second.

BIG WEEKEND ? Junior outfielder Matt Wooldrik has waited patiently for his chance to shine, and took advantage of it this weekend. The Iowa City native matched his career total of three hits in the season opener. He didn’t stop there, finishing the weekend hitting .636 with a team-best seven hits.

SEWARD DEALS ? Senior starter Austin Seward looked good in his first action of the year, allowing just two hits and a walk over six shutout innings against Illinois State.

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.

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.

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 has moved to shortstop this season after earning third team all-Big Ten honors last year at second base. He replaces Andy Lytle, who 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.

BACKSTOP BOYS ? 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.

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.

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.