Hawkeyes Wrap-up Regular Season

May 15, 2006

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will head into the final week of the regular season fighting for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa will play a non-conference game with intra-state rival Northern Iowa Tuesday in Cedar Falls (6:30 p.m.), before heading to Michigan for a crucial four-game weekend series. Friday’s game will start at 5:35 p.m., followed by a Saturday doubleheader at 3:05 p.m. Sunday’s regular season finale will begin at 12:05 p.m. All times are Central.

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 split a four-game series with the Purdue Boilermakers last weekend at Banks Field. Iowa won the opener, 4-2, then split a doubleheader – losing 1-0 and winning 2-0. The Hawkeyes then dropped Sunday’s finale, 4-2.

The Hawkeyes took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second of Friday’s game, getting RBI base hits from Kevin Hoef and Nate Price, then a sacrifice fly off the bat of Travis Sweet.

Purdue loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third, but starter Luke O’Loughlin got out of the jam with just one run on a sacrifice fly from Ryne White.

Iowa got that run back on a Boilermaker error in the bottom of the fourth.

Purdue cut the lead to 4-2 with a bases-loaded walk in the top of the fifth, and were threatening to score again when the rains forced the game to be suspended.

When the game resumed Saturday, the Hawkeye bullpen kept Purdue off the board and gave Iowa the win.

Purdue came back to take game one of the scheduled doubleheader in a pitcher’s dual between Iowa’s Jeff Maitland and the Boilermakers’ Trae Dauby. The Purdue senior was outstanding, not allowing a baserunner past second base the entire game in the win.

The only run of the game came in the top of the fifth when all-American Mitch Hilligoss led off with a triple, then scored on an RBI single from Ryne White.

Iowa threatened with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, getting singles from Ben Geelan and Hoef to set the table for L.J. Mims. The Hawkeye senior laced a line drive directly down the right field line, but the Boilermakers had shifted their outfield in anticipation of an opposite field shot and rightfielder Neal Gorka was in perfect position to rob Mims of the potential game-winning hit.

The second half of the doubleheader was another pitching dual, but this time Iowa’s Austin Seward came out on top. The senior, making his final start at Banks Field, allowed three hits in six shutout innings on the day.

Sweet provided all the offense Iowa needed for the game, getting the only two Hawkeye hits. The sophomore kicked things off in the first with a single, then moved all the way to third on a wild pick-off attempt. Sweet came home on a sacrifice bunt from Jason White. The Hawkeyes added an insurance run in the sixth when Matt Wooldrik hit a sacrifice fly.

Closer Tim Gudex came in and threw a scoreless seventh to give Iowa the win and pick up his second save of the day.

On Sunday, Purdue jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, loading the bases on two hit batsmen and a single. Alex Jaffee ripped a single up the middle to plate the first two runs of the game.

Iowa tied things up in the third, loading the bases with no outs on a walk and two bunt hits. Brian Burmester cut the lead to 2-1 with a groundout to second, and Skyler Moss tied things up with a sacrifice fly.

Jordan Comadena re-took the lead for the Boilermakers in the top of the fouth with a single to left. Mims gunned down Jaffee at the plate on Comadena’s single, keeping it a one-run game.

Before the start of the sixth, the game was delayed for an hour due to heavy rains. Purdue loaded the bases after the game resumed, but Gudex entered the game and ended the threat with a strikeout.

The Boilermakers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when freshman Ryne White hit a solo home run.

SENIOR DAY ? The Hawkeyes used Sunday’s series finale served as Senior Day for the Hawkeyes, when they honored thier departing seniors. Jack Dahm and the Hawkeyes celebrated the careers of Tim Gudex, Jeff Maitland, L.J. Mims, Skyler Moss, Luke O’Loughlin, Nate Price, Aaron Reasland, Austin Seward and Kevin Sunderman.

SCOUTING NORTHERN IOWA ? The Northern Iowa Panthers are 25-26 on the year and 8-13 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Earlier this season, the Panthers defeated the Hawkeyes in the third annual Corridor Classic at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, 4-2.

The Panther offense is led by Brandon Douglas, who is hitting a team-best .364 with four home runs and 29 RBIs. The power source for UNI is Brett Featherston, who leads the team with six home runs and 48 RBIs. He also sports a .333 batting average.

Northern Iowa’s starter for Tuesday is unknown and will very likely be a gameday decision.

UNI leads the all-time series 26-29.

The Panthers are coached by Rick Heller, who is in his seventh year at the helm.

SCOUTING MICHIGAN ? The Michigan Wolverines are currently 33-18 and on top of the Big Ten Conference with a 19-9 record. Michigan plays Notre Dame on Tuesday before facing off with the Hawkeyes.

The Wolverine offense is led by Nate Recknagel, who is hitting a team-best .371 with four home runs and 30 RBIs. Adam Abraham and Doug Pickens are tied for the team lead with five home runs.

As a team, the Wolverines are hitting .304.

On the hill the Hawkeyes can expect to see southpaw Paul Hammond on Saturday and Chris Fetter in game one on Saturday. Hammond is 6-3 with a 2.60 ERA and 46 strikeouts, while Fetter is 4-1 with a team-best 2.21 ERA.

Michigan’s starting pitcher for game two on Saturday and Sunday’s game is still undetermined.

The Wolverines lead the all-time series 89-39. Iowa took three-of-four games in Ann Arbor last season, but Michigan defeated Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament, ending the Hawkeyes’ season.

Michigan is coached by Rich Maloney, who is in his fourth season at the helm.

SEWARD’S BEEN ELECTRIC ? In his last three starts, senior hurler Austin Seward has been virtually unhittable. The Cedar Rapids native is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA. He has allowed just two runs (both in the same inning) and walked just one while striking out 13 in 20 innings of work.

For the year, Seward is 6-4 with a 3.95 ERA. In Big Ten play, he is 5-2 with a 2.13 ERA and 20 strikeouts.

GUDEX TWO-FER ? Hawkeye closer Tim Gudex worked overtime on Saturday, picking up a pair of saves on the day. The senior from Appleton, WI, saved Iowa’s 4-2 win (which was suspended by rain on Friday night) then came back and closed out the team’s 2-0 win in game two of the scheduled doubleheader.

CLOSING IN ON A RECORD ? Senior closer Tim Gudex has 20 career saves, just two shy of the University of Iowa record, held by Kurt Belger (1993-97).

Last year at Michigan, Gudex earned three saves as Iowa won three-of-four games.

HOW SWEET IT IS ? Sophomore Travis Sweet is hitting a team-best .320. The secondbaseman is hitting .414 with runners on and .382 with runners in scoring position.

WHITE IN THE BIG TEN ? All-Big Ten shortstop Jason White is once again torching Big Ten pitching. The junior is second on the team with a .348 average in conference play. He also has 14 RBIs and 12 stolen bases against Big Ten foes.

TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM ? Freshman Kevin Hoef would be excused if he is a bit sore, as he leads the team and is second in the Big Ten with 15 hit-by-pitch. That total is the third-highest single-season total in Iowa history and just two shy of the school record set by Kris Welker in 2004.

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 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.

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.