Hawkeyes Head For Spring Break

March 8, 2006

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will take off on their Spring Break Trip this week. The first stop will be the Baseball Express Collegiate Classic in San Antonio, TX, where Iowa will battle Texas-San Antonio, Notre Dame and Louisiana-Lafayette. The Hawkeyes open with the host Roadrunners Friday at 3 p.m. On Saturday, Iowa will take on the Fighting Irish at 11 a.m., then play Louisiana-Lafayette at 11 a.m. Sunday. The Hawkeyes will wrap-up the tournament with a Monday rematch with Notre Dame at 7 p.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.

LAST TIME OUT ? The Hawkeyes continued their winning ways last weekend, taking the Louisiana Cajun Classic title in Lafayette, LA. Iowa went 2-1 on the weekend, defeating Northwestern State (2-0) and Evansville (6-4), and losing to Louisiana-Lafayette (14-9).

Senior southpaw Jeff Maitland threw a gem against Northwestern State, allowing just two hits over six shutout innings. The Palatine, IL, native struck out four and walked three.

The Hawkeyes got both runs off the bat of freshman designated hitter Wes Freie. In the top of the fourth, Iowa loaded the bases when Matt Wooldrik reached on an error, Travis Sweet had a bunt single and Dusty Napoleon drew a walk. Freie then drove home the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right.

In the sixth, Iowa got an insurance run on an RBI single from Freie. Sweet walked and stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Napoleon, then scored when Freie ripped a single to right-centerfield.

Louisiana-Lafayette roughed up starting pitcher Austin Seward with five runs in the bottom of the second. The Hawkeyes picked up a run in the top of the fifth when Jason White scored on an error by the catcher. However, the Cajuns picked up six more runs in the bottom half of the fifth.

The Hawkeyes picked up five runs in the top of the eighth. Kevin Hoef scored on a Freie triple. Kody McManis and Freie both scored on an error. After pinch-hitting, L.J. Mims scored on another error, along with Ryan Considine. The Hawkeyes picked up two runs in the top of the ninth when Freie scored on an error by the centerfielder and Wooldrik scored on a wild pitch.

Junior Chase Stephens picked up his first win of the season, pitching the fifth through eighth innings. In four innings work, Stephens struck out five of 12 batters-faced and allowed only one hit. Senior Tim Gudex recorded his third save of the year, striking out two of three batters in the top of the ninth.

The Hawkeyes first run came in the bottom of the third when Considine scored on a Skyler Moss ground out. In the bottom of the seventh, Hoef scored on an error after a Ben Geelan single to left. Nate Price scored on a Sweet bunt-single. Geelan scored when Napoleon singled and Sweet scored the next at-bat on a Freie single to left. Napoleon scored the final Iowa run on a passed ball.

TWO-FOR-TWO ? The Hawkeyes have been in two tournaments this season and came home with two trophies. Iowa went 3-0 and won the Austin Peay Tournament on their first weekend, then posted a 2-1 record to win the title at the Louisiana Cajun Classic last weekend.

SCOUTING TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO ? Texas-San Antonio is currently 7-7 on the year and coming off a three-game sweep of Dallas Baptist University. The Roadrunners will play Texas-Pan American Tuesday before squaring off against the Hawkeyes at the Baseball Express Collegiate Classic.

Their offense is led by Michael McKennon, who is hitting a team-best .398 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. Ryan Saltzgaber is hitting .352 with a home run and nine RBIs.

On the hill, Steven Vasques is 2-0 with a 3.90 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 30 innings pitch. Blake Brannon is 2-4 with a 4.94 ERA and 25 strikeouts.

The Roadrunners are coached by Sherman Corbett, who is in his fifth year.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams.

SCOUTING LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE ? The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns are 5-3 on the season and coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2005.

The Ragin’ Cajuns handed Iowa it’s only loss of the year last weekend at the Louisiana Cajun Classic, topping the Hawkeyes 14-9.

Jefferies Tatford is hitting a team-best .444 with three doubles. Senior outfielder John McCarthy is hitting a .419 with eight stolen bases.

On the hill, the Ragin’ Cajun ace is sophomore southpaw Hunter Moody, who is 1-2 with a 2.37 ERA so far this season. He has struck out 16 in 19 innings. The Hawkeyes were bested by Jason Fernandez, who allowed just three hits in six and two-thirds innings.

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

The Ragin’ Cajuns have a 1-0 series advantage over Iowa.

SCOUTING NOTRE DAME ? The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 2-5 on the season, and have lost their last five games.

The offense is led by a trio of preseason all-BIG EAST picks, seniors Craig Cooper and Matt Bransfield, and sophomore Brett Lilley.

On the mound, the Irish ace is Jeff Samardzija, who is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA. Samardzija is a two-sport star and was a unanimous first team all-American wide receiver on the Notre Dame football team.

The Fighting Irish are coached by Paul Mainieri, who is in his 11th season at the helm.

Notre Dame holds a 37-23-1 advantage in the all-time series.

GET TO KNOW `EM ? The Hawkeyes and Fighting Irish will have plenty of time to get familiar with each other, as they will play four times in six days while in Texas. Iowa will battle twice at the Baseball Express Collegiate Classic, then twice more at the Notre Dame Tournament in San Antonio next week.

OFF TO A GREAT START ? The Hawkeyes are off to a good start this season at 5-1. It is the best start for Iowa since 1985, when the Hawkeyes started off 8-1.

DOMINATION ? Senior closer Tim Gudex has been literally unhittable this season. The first team all-Big Ten closer has yet to allow a baserunner in four appearances. In fact, only four batters have put the ball in play against him.

Gudex has a team-best 10 strikeouts in just five innings pitched.

MAITLAND DEALS ? Senior starter Jeff Maitland had a strong outing against Northwestern State last Friday, picking up his first win of the year. The southpaw allowed just two hits over six innings, striking out four.

FREIE DAYS ? Freshman Wes Freie is enjoying a strong freshman campaign, and is currently leading the team in hitting with a .467 batting average. That total is good for fourth in the Big Ten. Freie is also fourth in the conference with a .667 slugging percentage.

He has seen action at third base and designated hitter so far.

FINDING HIS WAY ON ? Senior Skyler Moss doesn’t have the highest batting average yet (.167), but he has one of the higher on base percentages on the team at .412, thanks to a team-best five walks.

Last season, Moss hit a career-best .350.

STEPHENS SOLID ? Junior transfer Chase Stephens has impressed in his short tenure with the Hawkeyes. The righthander is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three appearances. He has five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings pitched.

Stephens was a two-time all-conference pick at Blackhawk Community College, and had a 12-5 career record with 143 strikeouts.

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.

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.

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.

I-CUB TICKETS ON SALE ? Tickets are now on sale for the University of Iowa baseball team’s exhibition against the Iowa Cubs, the AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The game, which takes place on Tuesday, April 4, will be the first played in the newly renovated Principal Park in Des Moines. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

Tickets are on sale at the I-Cubs Box Office or by phone, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fans also may purchase tickets online at www.iowacubs.com. Adult tickets are $10 for club box seats, $8 for field box seats and reserved grandstand seats, and $6 for general admission. Ticket prices for children (13-under) are $10 for club box seats, $8 for field box seats, $6 for reserved grandstand seats and $4 for general admission. University of Iowa students can attend the game for free by showing a valid student ID at the ticket window. For more information, contact the Iowa Cubs at 1-800-464-2827.

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.