Hawkeyes Home For Five Games

April 30, 2007

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will play five home games this week, welcoming Western Illinois, Upper Iowa and Indiana to Banks Field.

Tuesday’s game with the Leathernecks is set for 6:30 p.m., and Iowa will battle Upper Iowa Wednesday at 6 p.m. This weekend’s series with Indiana will be played Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday (DH) at 2 p.m. and Sunday 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 swept the Northwestern Wildcats in a four-game Big Ten series last weekend in Evanston. Iowa won 16-6 Friday, then took the Saturday doubleheader by scores of 15-10 and 13-8. The Hawkeyes completed the sweep with a 14-10 win Sunday.

On Friday, things were knotted at 6-6 in the late innings before the Hawkeye offense exploded for five runs in each of the final two frames, highlighted by Brian Burmester’s three-run, pinch-hit home run.

In game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Hawkeye offense once again pounded the Wildcat pitching staff by rapping out 17 hits in seven innings. Kyle Riffel led the way by going 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Six other Hawkeyes (Travis Sweet, Dusty Napoleon, Caleb Curry, Matt Wooldrik, Kevin Hoef and Justin Toole) had two hits each. Sweet added his second home run of the series in the second inning.

Starting pitcher Danny Bales gave up seven runs on eight hits in three and 2/3 innings, but earned the win. He struck out five.

In game two, Iowa tied things up at 5-5 in the top of the fourth on a two-run, two-out triple from Toole. Northwestern came back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, re-taking a two-run lead on an RBI single and a run-scoring balk.

The Hawkeyes put up four runs in the top of the fifth, using four hits and a Wildcat error to take a 9-7 lead.

White hit his team-leading eighth home run in the sixth, and Iowa added three more in the seventh on a two-run triple off the bat of Ben Geelan and an RBI single from Toole.

Northwestern got one run in the bottom of the inning off Hawkeye reliever Mike Jacobs, but closer Mike Schurz came in and slammed the door with a pair or strikeouts.

On Sunday, Geelan had a big day, going 2-of-5 with a home run and five RBIs. Sweet was 3-of-5 with a home run and three RBIs, while White was 3-of-6 with two runs scored.

Sophomore starting pitcher Nick Erdman had a rocky start, allowing three runs in each of the first two innings, but settled in after that and threw five shutout innings to keep the Wildcat bats in check. He picked up his team-leading fourth win of the season.

SWEET NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK ? Junior centerfielder Travis Sweet was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week along with Michigan’s Eric Rose.

It is the second time he earned the award this season and the second-consecutive week a Hawkeye earned the honors (Jason White).

Sweet hit a team-high .588 with a 1.294 slugging percentage this weekend. He doubled his season home run total with three, giving him six on the year. He also drew six walks and had a .696 OBP for the series. Over the course of four back-and-forth games, Sweet either drove in or scored a tying or go-ahead run six times.

SCOUTING WESTERN ILLINOIS ? The Western Illinois Leathernecks are 27-18 on the season and 8-4 in the Mid-Continent Conference.

Brett Pendell leads the Leatherneck offense with a .370 batting average. He also has 13 doubles, three home runs, 29 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. The power source in the lineup is Travis Check, who has a team best seven home runs and 42 RBIs to go with his .341 average and 16 stolen bases.

The Leathernecks are coached by Stan Hyman, who is in his sixth season. Iowa leads the all-time series 55-22-2.

SCOUTING UPPER IOWA ? The Upper Iowa Peacocks are 28-17 on the year and 17-8 in the NCAA Division II Northern Sun Conference.

The Peacock offense is spearheaded by Mitch Walser, who is hitting .448 with 10 home runs, 14 doubles and 56 RBIs. Dan Berg is second on the team with a .358 average. He also has five home runs and 30 RBIs.

Upper Iowa is coached by Mark Danker, who is in his seventh season. Iowa leads the all-time series 21-7.

SCOUTING INDIANA ? The Indiana Hoosiers are 16-25 overall and 6-14 in the Big Ten. They are coming off a series split with Penn State.

Sophomore Andrew Means paces the team with a.369 batting average. He also has 20 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. Jon Fixler is hitting .310 with two home runs and a team-high 31 RBIs.

Indiana is coached by Tracy Smith, who is in his first year. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 68-51, and took three-of-four games last year in Bloomington.

HOW SWEEP IT IS ? Iowa’s four-game sweep of the Northwestern Wildcats was the team’s first in 16 years. The last time Iowa took four from a conference opponent was in 1990 when the Hawkeyes took four from Illinois.

DOUBLE TROUBLE ? The weekend also marked the first time in school history the Hawkeyes scored in double-digits in each game of a four-game series.

NAPOLEON DRIVES THEM IN ? Hawkeye junior Dusty Napoleon knocked in another six runs last weekend and remains on top of the Big Ten. Napoleon now has 50 RBIs, seven ahead of Zach Putnam of Michigan.

Napoleon is also leading the Big Ten in walks (34) and on base percentage (.527).

He is hitting .483 with runners in scoring position and .600 with the bases loaded.

HITTING WITH THE BEST ? The Hawkeyes have three players ranked in the top ten in the Big Ten in batting average. Travis Sweet (.408) is fourth, Matt Wooldrik (.390) is seventh and Dusty Napoleon (.386) is eighth.

As a team, the Hawkeyes are second in the Big Ten with a .334 batting average.

CATALDO STEPS UP ? Hawkeye sophomore T.J. Cataldo has hit his way into the lineup for Iowa, starting five of the last seven games at first base and designated hitter.

In that time, Cataldo has hit .438 to raise his season average to .344. In Big Ten play, he is hitting a team-best .421.

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY ? The Hawkeyes have gotten no luck in the weather department this season. Iowa has lost five games so far, including two last week – one of which was a game scheduled to make up for a previous rainout.

WHITE SCORES ? Shortstop Jason White currently leads the Big Ten with 52 runs scored. White also leads the league with 27 runs scored, six home runs and total base (54) in conference play.

WOOLDRIK KEEPS HITTING ? Senior Matt Wooldrik is enjoying a career season so far. The Iowa City native is second on the team with a .390 batting average. He has 10 doubles and 15 RBIs.

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

HOEF WARMING UP ? After a slow start to the season, third baseman Kevin Hoef has been heating up recently and raised his batting average over the .300 mark to .303. In Big Ten play, he is hitting .350 with 12 RBIs.

Over the last three weeks, Hoef is hitting .386.

GEELAN GOES DEEP ? Hawkeye catcher Ben Geelan hit his first home run of the season over the weekend. Over the last two weeks, Geelan is hitting .289 with eight RBIs.