Hawkeyes Ready For Corridor Classic

May 14, 2007

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THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will play a pair of non-coference games this week before finishing the Big Ten regular season this weekend.

Iowa will battle Northern Iowa in the fourth annual Corridor Classic presented by Cedar Rapids Toyota-Scion, Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, then take on Western Illinois Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Macomb, IL. This weekend, Iowa will welcome Michigan for a four-game weekend series.

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.

IOWA CLINCHES POSTSEASON SPOT ? Iowa’s 10-9 win over Purdue Sunday clinched a spot in the 2007 Big Ten Tournament for the Hawkeyes. It is the second time Iowa has reached the conference tournament in the Jack Dahm era, and the third time in the last 17 years. Seedings are still up for grabs, however, and Iowa could end up anywhere from No. 1 to No. 6.

LAST WEEK’S ACTION ? The University of Iowa baseball team split a four-game series with the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette last weekend. Iowa dropped the first two games, 13-4 and 11-6, then came back to win the final two 6-5 and 10-9.

Iowa struck first on Friday with four runs in the top of the second inning.

Purdue notched its first run of the contest in the bottom of the third on a one-out RBI-single up the middle by Eric Osborn, scoring Nick Overmyer.

The Boilermakers posted a four-spot of their own in the bottom of the fifth when Ryne White blasted a three-run home run to right field to even the score, 4-4, then took the lead on an Eric Nielsen RBI-single.

Purdue collected three unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth to stretch its advantage to 8-4, then added five runs on four hits and one Hawkeye error in the bottom of the eighth.

On Saturday, the Hawkeyes jumped out to an early lead in game one with a three-run first inning. The runs came from a pair of sacrifice flies by Curry and Wooldrik. Cataldo knocked in the third run of the inning with a single to right field. Purdue responded in the third inning, taking a two-run lead on back-to-back home runs.

In the top of the fifth, White smashed a solo shot to centerfield, his 10th of the season. Napoleon followed with a walk, he eventually scored on a fielder’s choice. Curry scored the third run of the inning on a past ball giving Iowa the lead 6-5. The Boilermakers responded with three in the bottom of the inning, then posted another three runs in the sixth inning.

In game two of Saturday’s doubleheader, Iowa fell in an early 2-0 hole, but came back with four runs in the top of the fifth. Purdue cut the lead to 4-3 in the sixth, but Iowa responded with two runs in the top of the seventh to get a 6-3 advantage. The Boilermakers got a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Hawkeyes escaped with a one-run victory.

The game started out great for Iowa on Sunday, as they posted three runs in the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Curry and a two-run double from Cataldo. The hit parade continued in the second, with Iowa posting six runs on five hits.

Purdue wasn’t about to go quietly in the ninth, getting a pair of singles, a sacrifice bunt and a walk loaded the bases with one out. The Boilermakers then got an RBI base on balls and a run-scoring single to chase reliever George Rasiarmos from the game. Hawkeye closer Mike Schurz came in with the bases loaded and gave up a two-run single, got a strikeout, then allowed a two-run double to cut the Hawkeye lead to 10-9. Another walk loaded the bases before Schurz ended the game with a strikeout.

DIRTY DOZEN ? Iowa’s winning streak was snapped at 12 games Friday. That streak is the second-longest winning streak in Iowa baseball history. The Iowa record is 20 in a row, set in 1979. The loss also snapped a 10-game Big Ten winning streak, which was the longest in school history.

THE CORRIDOR CLASSIC ? The Corridor Classic is in its fourth year of existance, and pits the only two NCAA Division I baseball teams in the state of Iowa against each other annually at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids.

The game raises money for the American Diabetes Association. In its three-years of existence, the Corridor Classic has helped raise over $300,000 for the ADA with contests like Kiss-a-Pig and the annual raffle. This year’s prize will be a $4,900 travel voucher good for anywhere in the world.

A variety of ticket options are available. The list includes mezzanine seating at $25, a price that includes a game ticket and all-you-can-eat-and-drink privileges. Tickets for seating in the stadium are priced at $9, $8, $7 and $6.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Cedar Rapids Kernels Ticket Office at Veterans Memorial Stadium and at (319) 896-7560.

CORRIDOR CLASSIC HISTORY ? Iowa is 0-3 in the Corridor Classic, with UNI winning by scores of 8-3, 8-6 and 4-2.

SCOUTING NORTHERN IOWA ? The UNI Panthers are 21-26 on the year and 6-15 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Panther offense is led by Eric Hoffman, who is hitting a team-best .361 with 28 RBIs. Second-team all-conference pick Brett Featherston is hitting .258 with nine home runs and 45 RBIs.

On the basepaths, watch out for speedster Deric Manrique, who is hitting .344 and 26-of-28 in stolen base attempts.

The Panthers will start Taylor Sinclair on the hill. He is 3-5 with a 6.14 ERA on the season.

Northern Iowa is coached by Rick Heller, who is in his eighth season.

Iowa leads the all-time series 64-23-1, but dropped a 15-10 game in Iowa City earlier this season. UNI has won four-straight over the Hawkeyes.

WHITE GOES DEEP ? Senior shortstop Jason White hit his Big Ten-leading 10th home run of the season Saturday against Purdue.

The solo shot made him the first Hawkeye to hit double-digits in home runs since 2002, when Brad Carlson hit 16.

ALBERTS IMPRESSES ? Junior Brock Alberts impressed in his first start with the Hawkeyes last Sunday against Purdue. The righty held the Boilermakers to four hits and one run in six innings of work, picking up his second win of the season.

While it was Alberts’ first official start, he started the would-be series finale against Indiana two weeks ago, sitting the Hoosiers down in order in the top of the first before rains washed the game away.

THE 27th OUT ? Hawkeye closer Mike Schurz has been great for the Hawkeyes this season. The junior owns a 5-1 record with nine saves. He has been on the hill for the final out of the game a Big Ten-best 23 times this season.

WHITE SCORES ? Shortstop Jason White currently leads the Big Ten with 64 runs scored and is fifth nationally with 1.4 runs per game.

HOW SWEET IT IS ? Centerfielder Travis Sweet has been clubbing the ball all over the field this season, and is currently fourth in the Big Ten with a .413 batting average.

He is also third in runs scored (55) hits (74) and total bases (12), and fourth in on base percentage (.483) and stolen bases (21).

NAPOLEON DRIVES THEM IN ? Hawkeye junior Dusty Napoleon remains on top of the Big Ten with 53 RBIs.

Napoleon is also leading the Big Ten in on base percentage (.522) and walks (44).

SLUGGING IT OUT ? Travis Sweet, Iowa’s No. 2 hitter, leads the Big Ten with a .688 slugging percentage in conference play. The team’s leadoff hitter, Jason White, is third at .655.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK ? The Hawkeyes have had three players honored by the Big Ten so far this season. Travis Sweet was named Big Ten Player of the Week on March 6 and again on April 30, while Jason White was earned the award April 23. Closer Mike Schurz was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week March 26.

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 825-751-4.