Hawkeyes Set For Corridor Classic

April 24, 2006

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes play in the third annual Corridor Classic against Northern Iowa, Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., with gates opening at 5 p.m.

This weekend, Iowa returns to Big Ten action with a four-game home series against Northwestern. Friday’s game will start at 6 p.m. at Duane Banks Field.

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.

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 WEEK ? The Hawkeyes had a tough week, winning just two of six games played. Iowa split a two-game, midweek stint at Banks Field with North Dakota State, falling 11-8 and winning 13-8, then dropped three-of-four at Illinois. The Hawkeyes lost their first three games with the Figthing Illini (12-3, 4-3 and 10-2) before rebounding to win the series finale on Sunday 17-3.

In game one against North Dakota State, Iowa got in a big hole early and didn’t have enough in the tank to mount the big comeback. The Bison raced out to a 10-3 lead in the third. Iowa cut the lead to 10-7 in the bottom of the inning, then the teams traded runs in the fourth before the scoring stopped.

On Wednesday, the Hawkeyes scored in seven of eight innings, led by Skyler Moss, who went 3-for-4 with five RBI and three runs scored.

In Champaign, the Hawkeyes struggled early and dropped their first three games.

On Sunday, however, the Hawkeyes pounded out 23 hits in their 17-3 win.

Sophomore Travis Sweet had a monster game for Iowa, going 5-for-6 with three runs scored and an RBI.

Junior Brian Burmester also had a career game, going 2-of-4 with his first career home run. The designated hitter had three RBIs and three runs scored on the day.

Senior closer Tim Gudex earned the win after getting a surprise start. He allowed just three hits over five and 2/3 innings while striking out four. The Appleton, WI, native didn’t allow a baserunner until the bottom of the fifth.

After a scoreless first, the Hawkeyes posted four runs off four hits and an error in the top of the second to jump out to an early lead. Iowa never looked back from there, scoring two in the third, three in the fourth, four in the fifth and three in the sixth. Iowa also added a run in the eighth on an RBI single from Burmester.

Moss ended the day 4-of-5 with a pair of RBIs, while Jason White and L.J. Mims each had three hits each. In all, seven Hawkeye hitters ended the day with multiple hits.

SCOUTING NORTHERN IOWA ? The Northern Iowa Panthers are 19-21 on the year with a 4-8 record in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Panthers are coming off a week in which they topped Minnesota 9-6, then dropped two-of-three at Indiana State.

The offense is led by redshirt freshman Brandon Douglas, who is hitting a team-best .373 with three home runs and 23 RBIs. Another bat to watch out for is Brett Featherston, who is hitting .333 with a team-high six home runs and 42 RBIs.

On the hill, the Panthers will throw sophomore southpaw Aaron Jenkins. He is 1-0 on the year with a 4.01 ERA and 38 strikeouts. Jenkins has 12 appearances on the year, with three starts.

The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 64-20-1. Last year, the two teams split a pair of games.

Northern Iowa is coached by Rick Heller, who is in his seventh year with the Panthers.

CORRIDOR CLASSIC HISTORY ? Wednesday’s game will be the third annual Corridor Classic.

In each of the last two years, the game has been a great event for Iowa baseball fans, with fan giveaways, spirit squads from both teams and the “Kiss a Pig” competition, where fans are able to see local celebrities lip-lock with a pig while getting a change to win a trip valued at over $5,000.

Northern Iowa has a 2-0 record in the Corridor Classic, winning 8-3 in the inaugural classic and 8-6 last year.

A GOOD CAUSE ? The Corridor Classic is sponsored by the American Diabetes Association, which raises money for diabetes research and education. In its two years of existence, the Corridor Classic has raised over $170,000 for diabetes research.

SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN ? The Northwestern University Wildcats are 14-22 overall, and tied with Michigan for first place in the Big Ten Conference with a 11-5 record.

The Wildcat offense is led by Antonio Mule, who has a .375 batting average with six home runs and 27 RBIs. All totals are a team-best. In Big Ten play, Caleb Fields is hitting .414 with a pair of home runs and 12 RBIs.

Northwestern is expected to start Mike Folan (1-1, 7.43), George Kontos (2-6, 4.82), Dan Brauer (4-1, 3.60) and Julio Siberio (1-2, 3.86) during the weekend.

Iowa leads the all-time series 121-89-2. Last year, Northwestern won three-of-four games in Evanston.

The Wildcats are coached by Paul Stevens, who is in his 19th season.

RECORD PERFORMANCE ? Sophomore Travis Sweet tied a Hawkeye record with five hits Sunday against Illinois. The Cedar Rapids native went 5-of-6 on the day with three runs scored and an RBI.

Sweet became the sixth Hawkeye to get five hits in a game. The last had been current Hawkeye color man Kurt Vitense, who pulled the feat against Penn State in 2000. Sweet would have had a chance to break the record, but he was replaced by a pinch hitter in the top of the ninth.

GUDEX GETS A START ? Having not seen any action during the week, Hawkeye closer Tim Gudex made his first start in over a year Sunday against Illinois. As usually, Gudex was highly effective, allowing just three hits in five and 2/3 innings and earning the win.

Gudex is now 4-1 on the year with a 1.78 ERA.

MOSS ROLLING ? Senior Skyler Moss started the season slow, but is on fire recently. Last week, Moss hit .529 (9-of-17) in six games. He had a team-high seven RBIs over that span, including his first home run of the season.

BURMESTER BLASTING ? Junior Brian Burmester led the team in hitting over the last week with a .533 batting average. In four starts, Burmester was 8-of-15 with a double, triple and home run.

McMANIS GETTING A LOOK ? Sophomore Kody McManis got four starts at third base last week and made the most of his shot, hitting .357. He went 5-of-14 with a triple and pair of RBIs.

Last year, McManis missed much of the year with a broken finger.

METZGER GETS FIRST START ? Hard work has paid off for catcher Chase Metzger, who got the first two starts of his collegiate career over the weekend. Metzger is hitting .273 in five games and has three RBIs.

HAWK TALK WITH Jack Dahm ? Hawkeye coach Jack Dahm is 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 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.

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 coach first base 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.