Hawkeyes Head to Illinois State, Ohio State

March 27, 2007

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will head to Bloomington, IL, to take on the Illinois State Redbirds Wednesday at 3 p.m. This weekend, the Hawkeyes will kick-off the 2007 Big Ten season with a four-game series against the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus. Friday’s game is set for 5:35 p.m., followed by a 12:05 p.m. doubleheader Saturday and a 1:05 p.m. game Sunday. All times are Central.

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 earned a four-game sweep in their home opener against North Dakota State. Iowa swept a Friday doubleheader, 6-5 (11 inn.) and 8-0, then won Saturday, 5-3, and Sunday, 9-7.

With the score tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 11th inning Friday, senior shortstop Jason White stole home with two outs to give the Hawkeyes a thrilling 6-5 win.

Caleb Curry was 2-of-4 with a double, a triple and three RBIs. Wes Freie was 2-of-4 with a double and a triple.

Hawkeye closer Mike Schurz allowed one hit over two innings to pick up his third win of the year. He struck out four.

In game two, sophomore starting pitcher Steve Turnbull threw a gem for the Hawkeyes, allowing just two hits in a seven-inning shutout. The White Bear Lake, MN, native faced just one batter above the minimum, striking out seven and walking none.

On Saturday, Hawkeye senior Scott Brune started out strong on the hill, not allowing a run to cross until the North Dakota State sixth inning, ending 15 1/3 scoreless innings for Iowa. Brune went 6 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking one. Mike Jacobs got the win for the Hawkeyes, throwing 1 2/3 innings. Schurz struck out two in the ninth inning for the save.

The Iowa offense started off slow on Sunday, but caught fire in the bottom of the fourth, bringing home seven runs. Sophomore Ryan Gryzwa drove in Dusty Napoleon with a single to center. With the bases loaded, Ben Geelan was hit by a pitch, allowing Brian Burmester to score. Tyson Blaser drove in two runs with a single to left. Travis Sweet singled through the left side of the infield to drive in Blaser.

Gryzwa hit his first home run of the season in the home half of the seventh inning, and Napoleon had an RBI single in the eighth to finish the scoring.

SCHURZ NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK ? Iowa junior Mike Schurz was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week Monday.

Schurz, the Hawkeye closer, had a busy weekend during Iowa’s four-game sweep of North Dakota State. The junior factored into the decision in three of the Hawkeye wins, nabbing a win and two saves. He also extended his scoreless streak to seven appearances and 10 innings.

On the year, Schurz is 3-0 with three saves and a 0.00 ERA. He has 14 strikeouts, while allowing just five hits and two walks.

Schurz is the second Hawkeye to earn Big Ten Weekly honors this year, with Travis Sweet being named Big Ten Player of the Week on March 6.

He was also named one of the College Baseball Foundation Honor Roll’s Players of the Week.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE ? The Illinois State Redbirds are 9-12 on the year and 0-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Redbird offense is led by Ryan Andesberger, who leads the team with a .400 batting average, four home runs and 17 RBIs. He is also dangerous on the basepaths, where he has five stolen bases. Another hitter to watch for Illinois State is Jesse Griswold, who it batting .333 with three home runs and 16 RBIs.

On the hill, the Hawkeyes will face southpaw Dan Sorce. He is 1-2 with a 7.88 ERA on the year. Sorce has nine strikeouts and 17 walks.

The Redbirds are coached by Jim Brownlee, who is in his fourth season at the helm.

Illinois State leads the all-time series 8-6. Last season, they won 2-of-3 meetings.

FAMILY TIES ? Illinois State Head Coach Jim Brownlee is the father of Hawkeye assistant Ryan Brownlee. Ryan’s brother Tim is an assistant coach with the Redbirds.

SCOUTING OHIO STATE ? Ohio State University enters the week with a 13-3 record. They will host Toledo Wednesday.

The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with a 3.11 team ERA, and are second with a .320 team batting average.

J.B. Shuck is fourth in the league with a .423 batting average. He also has a double, two triples, a home run and 17 RBIs.

On the hill, the Hawkeyes will most likely see Cory Luebke (4-0, 1.47 ERA, 33K) on Friday, Theron Minium (1-0, 7.04, 8K) and Josh Barerra (2-0, 2.31, 13 K) in Saturday’s doubleheader, and Shuck (1-0, 2.82, 20K) on Sunday.

Ohio State is coached by Bob Todd, who is in his 20th season.

Iowa leads the all-time series 69-51-1, but the Buckeyes won three-of-four games last season in Iowa City.

KNOCKING THEM IN ? Junior catcher Dusty Napoleon leads the Big Ten with 22 RBIs. Over the weekend, he had a career-high five in Friday’s second game.

Napoleon has been on fire lately, raising his batting average to .388.

POWER SURGE ? In their first 14 games, the Hawkeyes have hit nine home runs – just one 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.

SCHURZ THE STOPPER ? Closer Mike Schurz is doing well in his new role as the Iowa closer. So far, he is 3-0 with a pair of saves. He has 14 strikeouts, just two walks and has yet to give up a run in 10 innings pitched.

GRYZWA GOES DEEP ? Hawkeye sophomore Ryan Gryzwa has been clubbing the ball in limited action this season, and is hitting a team-high .429. This past Sunday, Gryzwa hit his first-career home run.

WHITE WALKS ? Senior shortstop Jason White has been demonstrating a keen eye this season, and leads the team with 18 base on balls. He is 10 walks ahead of Kevin Hoef and Dusty Napoleon, who are tied for second.

SWEET ON THE BASEPATHS ? Hawkeye junior Travis Sweet has been a terror for opponents on the basepaths, leading the team with 12 swipes. That total ties him with Andrew Means of Indiana for second in the Big Ten.

BRUNE THE STARTER ? Hawkeye senior Scott Brune made his first start in two years after working exclusively out of the bullpen the last two years.

The Peosta, IA, native impressed, scattering seven hits over six and 1/3 innings, allowing three runs.

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

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