Iowa Continues Spring Break

March 14, 2006

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will continue their Spring Break by playing in the Notre Dame Tournament, which is held in San Antonio, TX. Iowa will open with Southern Illinois Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Hawkeyes will play a pair of games Thursday, battling Notre Dame at noon, then taking on Southern Illinois at 4 p.m. A Friday rematch with the Fighting Irish will round out the tournament for Iowa. First pitch is set for 5:30 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 ? After a strong start to the season, the Hawkeyes struggled last weekend at the Baseball Express Collegiate Classic in San Antonio, TX, dropping all four games against tough competition. Iowa fell to Texas-San Antonio (3-1), Notre Dame twice (16-2 and 2-6) and Louisiana-Lafayette (3-2).

Against Texas-San Antonio, the Roadrunners took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on an RBI single, but the Hawkeyes tied things up on Travis Sweet’s single in the top of the eighth. Iowa attempted to take the lead in the inning, but Sweet was thrown out at home trying to score on a Brian Burmester single. Texas-San Antonio re-claimed the lead in the bottom of the eighth with a pair of singles and a Hawkeye error.

In the first meeting with the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame scored early and often, putting up two or more runs in six of eight innings. In the bottom of the first, the Irish put a pair of run on the board without a hit. Hawkeye starter Austin Seward hit three of the first four batters he faced, then issued a walk, a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch.

The Hawkeyes came back to tie things up in the top of the second, when Dusty Napoleon led off with a single up the middle, moved to third on an RBI double from Burmester, then scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Jeff Engel. Burmester later scored on an infield single from Jason White.

From then on, it was all Notre Dame. They took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the second, then added three in the third, three in the fifth, two in the sixth and four in the seventh.

Against Louisiana-Lafayette, the Hawkeyes took an early 1-0 lead when freshman Kevin Hoef ripped an RBI single in the bottom of the second. Iowa stretched the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Hoef was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by White, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a fielder’s choice from Nate Price.

Louisiana-Lafayette tied things up the next half inning on RBIs from Josh Landry and Tim Santiago. Things remained knotted at 2-2 until the eighth, when the Ragin’ Cajuns used a pair of hits and a sacrifice fly to push a run across.

In the rematch with Notre Dame, Iowa starter Sweet was throwing well until he was hit in the pitching hand by a comebacker and forced to leave the game. Notre Dame then jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the third against Hawkeye reliever Luke O’Loughlin. An RBI groundout in the fourth stretched the lead to 6-0.

The Hawkeye bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth, sparked by a leadoff double from L.J. Mims. Centerfielder Nate Price followed that with a triple, giving Iowa its first run of the game. Matt Wookldrik brought Price home with a groundout to second, but it was all the Hawkeyes could manage. Iowa got just one hit the rest of the way, a two-out, pinch-hit single by Burmester in the bottom of the ninth.

SCOUTING SOUTHERN ILLINOIS ? The Southern Illinois Salukis come into the week with a 13-5 record and recently took two-of-three games against Middle Tennessee State.

The offense is sparked by all-MVC leadoff hitter Kevin Koski, who is hitting .360 with a team-best 27 hits this year. He is also 4-4 in stolen base attempts. The power source for the Salukis is Dean Cademartori, who is hitting .348 with two home runs and 14 RBIs.

The ace of the staff is senior southpaw Tyler Norrick, who is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. He was a second team all-MVC pick last year. Dusty Baker serves as the team closer, and is 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA and four saves on the season.

The all-time series between the two teams is tied 3-3.

Southern Illinois is coached by Dan Callahan, who is in his 12th season.

SCOUTING NOTRE DAME ? The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 6-5 on the season, and are on a four-game winning streak.

Iowa and Notre Dame played twice last week, with the Irish winning 16-2 and 6-2.

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 4.11 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 39-23-1 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 play four times in six days while in Texas. Notre Dame won a pair of games over Iowa at the Baseball Express Collegiate Classic, and the two teams will play twice more at the Notre Dame Tournament in San Antonio this week.

DUCK!!! ? Notre Dame hitters took a toll on the Hawkeye pitching staff, drilling both Austin Seward and Travis Sweet with line drives. Seward was hit in the arm, while Sweet was hit in the thumb of his pitching hand, forcing him out of Monday’s game. Neither sustained a serious injury, and should miss little if any time.

NOBODY’S PERFECT ? It took four appearances, but senior closer Tim Gudex finally allowed a baserunner when he walked one and gave up two hits in one and a third innings of work against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Gudex still hasn’t given up a run, however, and has 11 strikeouts in seven and a third innings pitched.

MAITLAND ROLLING ? Senior starter Jeff Maitland is coming off a pair of solid starts for the Hawkeyes. The Palatine, IL, native lowered his ERA over two runs to 2.76 during his outing last week.

Maitland is 1-0 on the year with 12 strikeouts and just six walks. He is holding opposing hitters to a .203 batting average.

IN A PINCH ? Junior Brian Burmester is having a solid season, hitting .318. He has started five-of-ten games, but has been great as a bat off the bench as well. Burmester is hitting .750 (3-of-4) as a pinch hitter so far this season.

CONROY SOLID ? Sophomore David Conroy has been throwing well for Iowa so far. In three starts, Conroy has yet to earn a decision, but is holding a 3.27 ERA. A big reason for his success is the fact that with runners on, opposing batters are hitting just .059 against him.

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.

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.