Hawkeyes Finish Homestand, Hit the Road

April 23, 2007

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will play a pair of home games at Banks Field before hitting the road for a four-game series at Northwestern this weekend. Iowa battles Illinois State Tuesday at 6 p.m., then welcomes Cornell College Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The weekend series with the Wildcats begins Friday at 3 p.m., with Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s finale each starting at 1 p.m.

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. 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 won three-of-four games against conference rival Illinois last weekend. After dropping the first game 6-2, Iowa stormed back to win the next three, 10-9, 10-4 and 17-12.

On Saturday, Jason White carried the Hawkeyes in game one by hitting a career-best three home runs, including a walk-off shot. With the score tied 9-9 and one out in the bottom of the seventh, White lifted a towering fly ball into leftfield. Illinois left fielder Ryan Snowden drifted back to the warning track, only to watch the ball bounce off the top of the fence and end the game. He ended the day 3-of-4 with three home runs and four RBIs.

After making good use of the long ball in game one, the Hawkeyes took an early 2-0 lead in game two by manufacturing a pair of runs in the bottom of the first.

White was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Travis Sweet – who reached on the play due to a throwing error. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch, and White scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Dusty Napoleon. Caleb Curry then plated Sweet with a sacrifice fly.

Iowa added another two in the bottom of the second when Sweet and Napoleon each recorded an RBI single. In the third, the Hawkeyes picked up three runs with two outs.

Illinois began chipping away in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of a Hawkeye throwing error to score a trio of runs. The Fighting Illini added another in the fifth to cut the lead to 7-4.

Hawkeye reliever Kyle Hiem, who replaced starter Casey O’Rourke in the fifth, pitched his way out of a one-out jam in the top of the sixth to turn away a potential Illinois rally. In the bottom of the inning, Iowa added three insurance runs, highlighted by triples from Sweet and Curry.

On Sunday, White continued his torrid streak, hitting for the cycle by going 4-of-6 with a single, double, triple and home run. He drove in four runs and scored four.

The game was a wild one, with Iowa building an early lead before Illinois came storming back against a shaky Iowa bullpen. Reliever Jason Belk came in to right the ship for Iowa, throwing two shutout innings before giving way to Mike Jacobs and Mike Schurz, who closed out the win.

WHITE NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK ? Senior shortstop Jason White was named Big Ten Player of the Week Monday.

He hit .611 against the Fighting Illini with four home runs, nine RBIs, nine runs scored and a 1.444 slugging percentage. In game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, White had a career-best three home runs, including a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh off Illinois closer Jake Toohey.

For an encore Sunday, White hit for the cycle with four RBIs and four runs scored.

White is Iowa’s third player to be honored by the Big Ten this season. Travis Sweet was named Big Ten Player of the Week on March 6, while Mike Schurz earned Pitcher of the Week honors March 26.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE ? The Illinois State Redbirds are 17-20 on the year and 8-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Illinois State offense is led by Ryan Anetsberger, who is hitting .377 with four home runs and 25 RBIs.

The Redbirds will throw southpaw Tyler Cox Tuesday, who is 2-0 with a 3.45 ERA.

Illinois State is coached by Jim Brownlee, who is in his fifth season with the Redbirds.

Illinois State leads the all-time series 7-8. Iowa defeated the Redbirds 15-3 earlier this season in Bloomington, IL.

SCOUTING CORNELL COLLEGE ? The Cornell College Rams are 13-16 and 5-12 in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Iowa City native Kyle Noesen leads the offense with a .349 batting average.

Cornell is coached by Frank Fishler, who is in his sixth year at the helm. Iowa leads the all-time series 59-10.

HISTORY WITH CORNELL ? The Hawkeyes played Cornell in the very first baseball game in University of Iowa history – a 9-6 win in 1890.

SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN ? The Northwestern Wildcats come into the week with a 9-25 record and a 3-13 mark in the Big Ten.

Jake Owens is the Wildcats’ top hitter at .353. He also has 23 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. Antonio Mule is hitting .339 with three home runs and 20 RBIs.

On the hill, the Hawkeyes can expect to see Ryan Myers (2-4, 3.44 ERA, 43 K), Dan Schwartz (3-2, 4.01, 36 K), Cole Livermore (2-6, 5.86) and Joe Maraski (1-3, 6.15). Iowa leads the all-time series 122-92-2. Northwestern took 3-of-4 games in Iowa City last year.

TOOLE MASHES ? Hawkeye second baseman Justin Toole had a great weekend against Illinois. The sophomore hit .700 (7-of-10) on the weekend with two doubles, a triple and five RBIs. Toole also added three walks, two hit-by-pitches and a stolen base.

NAPOLEON DRIVES THEM IN ? Hawkeye junior Dusty Napoleon knocked in another five runs last week and remains on top of the Big Ten. Napoleon now has 44 RBIs, nine ahead of Zach Putnam of Michigan.

Napoleon is also leading the Big Ten in walks (31) and on base percentage (.531).

He is hitting .481 with runners in scoring position and .625 with the bases loaded.

HITTING WITH THE BEST ? The Hawkeyes have four players ranked in the top ten in the Big Ten in batting average. Matt Wooldrik (.398) is sixth, Travis Sweet (.385) is seventh, Dusty Napoleon (.376) is eighth and Caleb Curry (.375) is ninth.

STEPHENS RETURNS ? Hawkeye pitcher Chase Stephens earned the win in his first action of the year last Wednesday. He had missed the first half of the season with an injury.

Stephens threw two perfect innings and added a strikeout.

CURRY IN THE CLEAN-UP SPOT ? Junior leftfielder Caleb Curry was moved to the clean-up spot two weeks ago and has been an immediate success. In the 11 games Curry has batted in the No. 4 spot, he is hitting .447 with three doubles, two triples, a home run and 13 RBIs.

WHITE SCORES ? Shortstop Jason White currently leads the Big Ten with 45 runs scored. He is six ahead of Michigan’s Brad Roblin. White also leads the league with 20 runs scored, five home runs and total base (39) in conference play.

WOOLDRIK KEEPS HITTING ? Senior Matt Wooldrik is enjoying a career season so far. The Iowa City native leads the team with a .398 batting average. He has seven doubles and 11 RBIs.

Wooldrik was a career .185 hitter coming into this season.

BELK THROWS WELL ? The Hawkeyes may have found another option in middle relief, as junior Jason Belk threw seven and 1/3 innings without giving up an earned run in three appearances last week.

On the year, he has posted a 2.38 ERA in six appearances.

Before joining the Hawkeyes, Belk pitched one year at Kirkwood Community College and one year at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

HAWKEYE SIGN FIVE FOR 2008 ? The University of Iowa Baseball team has signed five players for the 2008 season. Nic Jensen, Zach Kenyon, Phil Keppler, Kevin Lee and Tony Manville all signed National Letters of Intent to attend the University of Iowa.

HOMEGROWN HAWKEYES ? Eighteen of the 39 players on the 2006 Hawkeye team are native Iowans. The next closest state is Illinois, with nine.

THE ASSISTANT COACHES ? Head Coach Jack Dahm is assisted by batting coach Ryan Brownlee and pitching coach Nick Zumsande.

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 fourth 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.

WELCOME BACK ? The Hawkeyes welcome back former catcher Kris Welker, who will serve as the team’s volunteer assistant. Welker will work with the Hawkeye catchers and outfielders, prepare scouting reports and coach first base.

OPERATIONS MASTER ? The Hawkeye coaching staff will once again rely on the efforts 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.

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 814-749-4.