Hawkeyes Stepping Up to Professional Ranks

April 3, 2006

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will play a pair of mid-week games, including a Tuesday exhibition against the Iowa Cubs, the AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, at Principal Park in Des Moines. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Iowa will then hit the road for a Wednesday game at Illinois State. Gametime is 6 p.m.

HAWKEYES ON THE AIR ? If you can’t make it out to the ballpark this week, you can still catch all the Hawkeye action on AM 800 KXIC. Voice of the Hawkeyes Brent Balbinot will call the play-by-play, with former Hawkeyes Troy Wulf and Kurt Vitense 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.

LAST WEEKEND ? The Hawkeyes struggled in their Big Ten opener last weekend, dropping three-out-of-four to Ohio State. Iowa lost Friday’s game 12-5, then split Saturdays doubleheader, winning 7-1 before falling 6-4. The Buckeyes took Sunday’s finale in a big way, pounding the Hawkeyes 15-1.

In game one, the Hawkeye defense struggled and committed three costly errors. That, combined with 14 Buckeye hits, got Ohio State out to a big lead early. The Hawkeyes posted a run in the eighth and two in the ninth in an attempted comeback, but it was too little, too late.

On Saturday, Ohio State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in game one, only to see the Hawkeyes storm back with three runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth to take the six-run win.

In the fourth, Iowa got its trio of runs off three hits, two stolen bases and a pair of Buckeye throwing errors. In the fifth, it was more of the same. The Hawkeyes got one hit, a pair of walks, three stolen bases and a passed ball to stretch the lead to 6-1.

Iowa added an insurance run in the sixth when Jason White singled, stole second and scored on a throwing error. White was 2-of-3 with a pair of runs scored.

Jeff Maitland went the distance, scattering eight hits in picking up his team-best third win of the year.

Game two brought high drama to Banks Field, with the Hawkeyes falling behind early then staging a ferocious comeback in the final inning. Trailing 6-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Iowa loaded the bases with no outs and forced Buckeye closer Rory Meister into the game.

Skyler Moss plated the first run with a pinch-hit, bases-loaded walk to cut the lead to 6-3. Nate Price then had an RBI fielder’s choice to make the score 6-4. With runners on the corners and one out, Meister struck out White. Price then stole second to put the tying run in scoring position, and Travis Sweet drew a walk to put the winning run on base. It wasn’t meant to be, however, as Meister got Dusty Napoleon swinging to end the game.

Sunday was all Ohio State, as the Buckeyes out-hit Iowa 17-1 and took the 15-1 lead. The lone bright spot for the Hawkeyes was Ben Geelan’s towering home run in the eighth inning.

SCOUTING THE I-CUBS ? The Iowa Cubs, the AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are fresh off spring training.

The I-Cubs have seven players on their roster who have played in the Major Leagues, including pitchers Rich Hill and Roberto Novoa, catcher Geovany Soto, infielder Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot, and outfielders Michael Restovich and Jamal Strong.

Another player to watch is outfielder Felix Pie, who is one of the top prospects in the Chicago organization.

The I-Cubs will start 24-year-old righthander Angel Guzman against Iowa. Guzman is recovering from a torn labrum in 2003 and a strained forearm in 2005. Last season, he struck out 24 in just 18 1/3 innings of work.

Guzman was rated the number four prospect in the Cubs organization by Baseball America entering 2006.

The I-Cubs play in the American North division of the Pacific Coast League. They are managed by Mike Quade.

The Hawkeyes have played the I-Cubs once before, losing 4-2 in 2004.

I-CUB TICKETS ON SALE ? Tickets are still available 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, 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.

GREENWAY AND HINKEL AT I-CUBS GAME ? Former University of Iowa football stars Chad Greenway and Ed Hinkel will make a special appearance at Principal Park on Tuesday.

Greenway and Hinkel will sign autographs at Principal Park from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and then will throw out the ceremonial first pitches before the Iowa Cubs meet the Iowa Hawkeyes. Fans will be allowed one autograph per player at a time but may get back in line if they wish to obtain an additional autograph.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE ? The Illinois State Redbirds are 8-16 on the year. The Hawkeyes and Redbirds have played twice this season, with Iowa winning a 10-0 game at the Austin Peay Tournament and Illinois State taking a 7-3 victory at Banks Field.

Illinois State is led by junior infielder Jesse Griswold, who is hitting .370 with two home runs and 14 RBIs.

On the mound, the Hawkeyes will once again see Luke Baughman, who is 1-2 with a 7.09 ERA. He allowed just two hits and one run in three innings of work against the Hawkeyes last Wednesday.

Illinois State is coached by Jim Brownlee, who is in his fourth season with the Redbirds. He is the father of Iowa assistant coach Ryan Brownlee.

The Redbirds lead the all-time series 7-6.

GEELAN GOES DEEP ? Sophomore catcher Ben Geelan hit the team’s first home run of the season over the weekend, hitting a towering bomb off the light pole in left field Sunday at Banks Field.

Geelan is swinging the bat well since returning from a minor knee injury, and leads the team with a .444 batting average.

GUDEX DEALING ? Hawkeye closer Tim Gudex has been dominant all season, and sports a perfect 0.00 ERA in 12 appearances. He has 14 strikeouts and just three walks in 13 1/3 innings pitched, and opponents are hitting just .075 off him.

In 11 Iowa wins this year, Gudex has recorded a win or a save in seven contests (three wins, four saves).

ROUGH LUCK ? Hawkeye junior Scott Brune has been a lot better out of the bullpen this season than his 0-2 record suggests. Brune has been on the wrong end of some tough-luck decisions this year, but has an ERA of 0.71. He has allowed just two runs (one unearned).

MAITLAND GOES THE DISTANCE ? Senior Jeff Maitland threw his first complete game Saturday when he threw seven solid innings in leading the Hawkeyes to a 7-1 win over Ohio State.

Maitland (3-0) is third in the Big Ten with a 2.10 ERA.

HAWK TALK WITH Jack Dahm ? Hawkeye coach Jack Dahm will be back on the airwaves this year with his call-in show, Hawk Talk with Jack Dahm. The show, hosted by the Voice of Iowa Baseball Brent Balbinot, will run from 6-7 p.m. and is broadcast on AM-800 KXIC from Flannigan’s Sports Bar & Grill in Coralville.

Hawk Talk with Jack Dahm will air on the following dates: April 3, 10, 17, 27, May 2, 8, 15 and 29.

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.

CORRIDOR CLASSIC TICKETS ON SALE ? Tickets for the Corridor Classic are available at the University of Iowa (1-800 IA HAWKS) and Cedar Rapids Kernels (1-319 896-7560) ticket offices. Prices are $25 for mezzanine and pavilion, $9 for premier, $8 for club, $7 for plaza and $6 for lawn seating. Groups of 25 or more will receive a $2 per ticket discount on plaza and club level seats.

First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26. The game should be thrilling on the field, as each school will be hosting promotions and giveaways throughout the night – making the Corridor Classic a must-attend spring event.

OVER 50 FREE ? Men and women ages 50 and older will receive free admission to all softball and baseball games (not post-season events) played at Pearl Field and Banks Field during the month of May. This is part of an agreement with the Johnson County Chapter of AARP.

Individuals simply need to show proof of their age (AARP card or driver’s license) upon arrival at the ticket gate.

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.