Hawkeyes Head to Hoosierland

May 2, 2006

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will hit the road this weekend for a four-game series in Bloomington against the Indiana University Hoosiers. Friday’s game will start at 3 p.m., followed by a Saturday doubleheader at 1 p.m. and a Sunday game at 1 p.m.

WESTERN ILLINOIS GAME CANCELLED ? Due to a scheduling conflict, Wednesday’s scheduled game with the Western Illinois Leathernecks has been cancelled.

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 had a heartbreaking weekend, dropping three of four games in which they held a lead in the mid-to-late innings. Iowa dropped the first two games 9-5 and 9-8, then came back to split Sunday’s doubleheader. The Hawkeyes won 16-2, then lost 7-6.

In game one, The Hawkeyes jumped onto the scoreboard early, taking a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Northwestern got an RBI single from Tommy Finn in the top of the second to cut the lead to 3-1, but Brian Burmester got the run back for Iowa in the bottom of the frame with his second double of the day.

The Wildcats cut the lead to 4-3 on an RBI triple from Antonio Mule and a run-scoring double from Pat McMahon. Northwestern then took a 6-4 lead with a trio of runs off just one hit in the top of the seventh.

L.J. Mims had an RBI single in the ninth to cut the lead to 9-5 before Ben Geelan grounded out to end the game.

After a four-hour rain delay on Saturday, the Hawkeyes took an 8-4 lead into the final inning, only to have the Wildcats come storming back. Hawkeye closer Tim Gudex got two outs, and with two outs induced a groundball to shortstop Jason White. The junior’s throw to first base was wild, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue. The next batter, Anthony Wycklent, blasted a game-tying home run over the leftfield fence. Michael Mann followed that up with a go-ahead solo shot over the rightfield fence.

With half of the doubleheader rained out Saturday, Iowa played a seven-inning game and a nine-inning game Sunday afternoon. In game one, the Hawkeyes used a boatload of offense and a complete game gem from starter Austin Seward to take the win. Iowa scored in every inning, while pounding out 20 hits on the day. Seward scattered eight hits over seven innings, struck out six and lost his bid for the shutout in the bottom of the seventh.

In game two, Northwestern got on the board in the third, only to have Iowa claim a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth off five hits and an error. The Wildcats tied thing up in the fifth by posting three runs off five hits of their own. Northwestern took a 7-4 lead with three runs in the top of the seventh on a two-run single and sacrifice fly.

The Hawkeyes made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, scoring a pair of runs off RBI-hits from Nate Price and Travis Sweet to cut the lead to 7-6.

CORRIDOR CLASSIC RECAP ? The Hawkeyes got Northern Iowa where they wanted it, down by a run with two innings to go, but the Panthers manufactured two runs in an excruciating eighth inning to win their third-straight Corridor Classic, 4-2, Wednesday night.

UNI sophomore Brett Douglas executed a sacrifice bunt to drive in Pat Moran for the winning run before 2,386 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium in the third-annual classic between the two schools.

The Hawkeyes got the game started right, with two runs in the first thanks to an RBI triple by junior Jason White. That was matched with a strong performance by freshman pitcher Justin Toole, who got his first collegiate start, and kept the Panthers scoreless until the fourth.

It was slim pickings the rest of the night for both teams until Northern Iowa used its short game late the matchup. Scott Brune picked up the loss for Iowa with one inning of relief.

SCOUTING INDIANA ? The Indiana University Wildcats are 17-25 on the year with a 7-13 record in the Big Ten. Last weekend, they earned a split in their series at Penn State, the team’s first road split since 2004.

The Hoosiers run wild on the basepaths, with three players stealing 20+ bases. Leadoff man Reggie Watson leads the way with 37. He also has a .331 batting average. Keith Haas has a team-best .359 average to go with his 20 stolen bases, while Jay Brant has five home runs, 15 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.

The Indiana rotation for the weekend will be senior southpaw Clint Crosier, (1-2, 4.81 ERA), senior Josh Lewis (4-5, 4.98), freshman Tyler Tufts (1-3, 6.75) and sophomore Doug Fleenor (2-2, 3.31).

The Hoosiers are coached by Tracy Smith, who is in his first season at the helm.

BURMESTER BLASTING ? Junior Brian Burmester has vaulted himself in to the team batting lead over the last two weeks. Burmester is now hitting a team-best .338 after a torrid ten-game stretch in which he is hitting .500 (16-of-32) with five doubles, a triple and two home runs.

MOSS MASHING ? Over the last nine games, Senior Skyler Moss has been on fire. He is hitting a team-best .533 (16-for-30) during that span and has 11 RBIs. Moss raised his batting average over 150 points during that span.

TOOLE SHINES ? Freshman Justin Toole got his first collegiate start at the Corridor Classic and impressed. Toole allowed four hits over four innings with just one run crossing the plate. On the year, Toole is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. He has a 13-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

WHITE FOR THREE ? Junior shortstop Jason White hit his fifth triple of the season Wednesday night at the Corridor Classic. The Hawkeye record for triples in a season is eight, by Kyle Thousand (2002), Rob Eddie (1985) and Brad Trickey (1974).

SEWARD DEALS ? Senior Austin Seward had his best start of the year Sunday, throwing a complete game against Northwestern. The righthander scattered eight hits and took a shutout into the final inning.

LOCKAS ENTERS THE LINEUP ? Junior college transfer Brett Lockas saw his first Hawkeye action over the weekend and made the most of it. The outfielder went 2-of-4 with an RBI.

HOEF HEATING UP ? A big week has pushed freshman third baseman Kevin Hoef’s batting average above the .300 mark once again. Hoef hit .778 in three games against Northwestern, ripping three doubles.

WHITE RIPPING UP THE BIG TEN ? For the second-straight year, Jason White is tearing up Big Ten pitching. White is hitting .385 in conference play, which ties him for eighth on the Big Ten charts. He also has 11 RBIs and seven stolen bases against conference foes.

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: 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.

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY ? Hawkeye baseball ties run deep, and it shows in the support staff. Baseball administrator Fred Mims and academic advisor Troy Wulf are both former Iowa baseball players.

WHISTLIN’ RAY ? Of all the members of the Hawkeye baseball program, the longest tenured is “Whistlin'” Ray Gilmore, who serves as Iowa’s official scorekeeper. Gilmore started as a batboy in 1978, and has since served as manager, public address announcer and unofficial mascot for Iowa Baseball. Iowa record since Gilmore joined the program is 797-738-4 (.519).