Hawkeyes Open Home Season

March 20, 2007

THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will kick off the 2007 home season with a four-game series against the North Dakota State Bison this weekend at Banks Field. Iowa will open the series Friday at 3 p.m., then play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. The two teams will wrap things up Sunday with a single game at 1 p.m.

LETS PLAY TWO ? Iowa and North Dakota State were originally scheduled to play just a single game on Saturday, but with the Hawkeyes getting a pair of rainouts earlier this season, it was changed to a doubleheader.

HAWKEYES ON THE NET ? Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes every week, as live stats will be available on www.hawkeyesports.com. Just click on the Gametracker link found on the baseball schedule page.

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

You can also listen to the broadcast and on the internet at www.hawkeyesports.com. It is available for free in the Hawkeye All-Access section.

LAST WEEK’S ACTION ? The Hawkeyes went 2-4 on their six-game Spring Break trip to Fresno, CA. The Hawkeyes played a pair of games against Fresno State, then battled the Bulldogs and Dallas Baptist in the Pepsi-Johnny Quick Classic. Iowa started the trip on a sour note, dropping its first two games to Fresno State, 13-10 and 14-6, and the first game of the tournament to the Bulldogs, 4-2.

The Hawkeyes came back strong on Friday, however, winning a pair of games. Iowa topped Dallas Baptist 17-13 in a ten-inning affair, then beat Fresno State 10-8. The Hawkeyes then lost the final game of the tournament, 18-5, to Dallas Baptist on Saturday.

Iowa, Fresno State and Dallas Baptist all ended the tournament with a 2-2 record. The Bulldogs earned the title, having allowed the least runs during tournament play.

WHITE EARNS TOURNAMENT HONORS ? Senior shortstop Jason White has been named Defensive Player of the Tournament for the Pepsi Johnny Quik Classic.White made eight putouts and 10 assists without an error during the tournament.

Fresno State centerfielder Brian Lapin was named Offensive Player of the Tournament, Fresno State’s Clayton Allison was named Pitcher of the Tournament, while Dallas Baptist infielder Garrett Baker was named MVP.

SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA STATE ? The North Dakota State Bison come into the weekend with a 2-9 record. They have lost seven-consecutive games after starting the season 2-2. North Dakota State is a Division I Independent, and not a member of a conference.

The Bison offense is led by junior infielder Matt Mossey, who was an honorable mention all-Independant selection last season. He is currently hitting .293 with a home run and six RBIs. Catcher Gavin Hofer is also enjoying a good start to the year, hitting a team-best .313 with a pair of doubles.

On the hill, the Hawkeyes can expect to see southpaw Jake Laber (1-2, 4.74 ERA) on Friday, Jeff Hille (0-2, 10.22) and Mossey (0-1, 5-75) on Saturday, and Seth Foley (1-2, 13.00) on Sunday.

North Dakota State is coached by Dr. Mitch McLeod, who is in his 15th season at the helm.

Iowa leads the all-time series 4-1. Last year, the two teams split a pair of games in Iowa City.

NAPOLEON GONE WILD ? Catcher Dusty Napoleon had a great Spring Break trip, hitting .429 with a home run and team-best nine RBIS. The hot streak upped his battin>g average from .188 to .324. The junior from New Treir, IL, leads the team with five doubles and 15 RBIs.

POWER SURGE ? In their first ten games, the Hawkeyes have hit eight home runs – just two short of the team’s total from last year. Last season, Iowa didn’t hit its first home run until April 2 (Ben Geelan vs. Ohio State).

Three players – Travis Sweet, Jason White and Wes Freie – have two each, which ties them for last year’s team lead.

JACOBS SHINES IN DEBUT ? Hawkeye freshman Mike Jacobs impressed in his first action in an Iowa uniform.

Against Fresno State, Jacobs took the mound and threw four innings in relief, allowing just five hits and two runs. He also struck out seven and walked just one. The effort was good enough to earn him his first-career collegiate win.

Jacobs, a southpaw from Lenexa, KS, was named the 2006 Kansas Pitcher of the year while pitching for St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

WHITE STARTS HOT ? Senior shortstop Jason White is enjoying a fast start to the season. The Denver native is hitting .368 with two home runs and 11 runs scored. He has been an on base machine with a .510 on base percentage (drawing 11 walks), and leads the team with a .658 slugging percentage.

TOOLE STEPS UP ? Hawkeye sophomore Justin Toole elevated his game over Spring Break, hitting .500 to raise his batting average to a team-best .429.

BRUNE THE STARTER ? Hawkeye senior Scott Brune has worked exclusively out of the bullpen the last two years, but this weekend the coaching staff will see what he can do at the start of the game. He is scheduled to start game two of Saturday’s doubleheader against North Dakota State.

So far this season, Brune has made five relief appearances and has a 3.00 ERA with nine strikeouts. He has served as Iowa’s primary setup man the last two seasons.

TRIPLE PLAY ? Senior designated hitter Brian Burmester leads the team with two triples. Jason White and Kevin Hoef also have a three-bagger. Brian Lapin was named Offensive Player of the Tournament, Fresno State’s Clayton Allison was named Pitcher of the Tournament, while Dallas Baptist infielder Garrett Baker was named MVP.

DRIVIN’ EM IN ? Hawkeye junior Dusty Napoleon and sophomore Wes Freie are tied for the team lead with six RBIs.

SCHURZ THE STOPPER ? Closer Mike Schurz is doing well in his new role as the Iowa closer. So far, he is 2-0 with a save. He has seven strikeouts, just one walk and has yet to give up a run in five 2/3 innings pitched.

Schurz transferred from Radford University during the offseason.

SPEED KILLS ? The Hawkeyes have been doing well on the basepaths this season, going 19-of-23 in stolen bases so far. Travis Sweet leads the way and is a perfect 6-for-6.

GRYZWA SEES ACTION ? Sophmore infielder Ryan Gryzwa made a pair of starts at second base over Spring Break and didn’t disappoint. He is currently tied with fellow second baseman Justin Toole for the team lead with a .429 batting average.

SWEET NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK ? Junior Travis Sweet was named Big Ten Player of the Week on March 6 for his play in the Stetson Tournament.

Sweet led the Hawkeye offense to wins over Notre Dame and No. 8 Nebraska, hitting .750 for the weekend.