May 17, 2007
THIS WEEKEND ? The Hawkeyes will wrap-up the 2007 regular season with a four-game series with the Big Ten-leading Michigan Wolverines.
Friday’s game will start at 6 p.m., with a Saturday doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. Sunday’s finale will begin at 1 p.m.
SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE ? The Hawkeyes still have an outside shot at the Big Ten Regular Season Championship, but they will need some stellar play and a lot of help. For Iowa to take the top spot, the Hawkeyes must sweep Michigan, second-place Minnesota must lose at least 3-of-4 at Indiana, while third-place Penn State must lose at least two against Ohio State.
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.
EARLIER THIS WEEK ? The University of Iowa baseball team split a pair of non-conference games this week, nabbing its first win in the Corridor Classic with a 5-4 victory over Northern Iowa, then falling at Western Illinois 9-2.
With the game tied 4-4 in the ninth inning of the Corridor Classic Tuesday, Travis Sweet walked and Dusty Napoleon looked to give Iowa the lead with a towering fly ball to right-centerfield that was caught up against the fence for the second out. Sweet then stole second. Caleb Curry followed that with a high chopper to short that he beat out at first. Sweet, who never broke stride from second, came around to score the go-ahead run.
Mike Schurz earned the win to run his record to 6-1. Andrew Porter pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.
Wednesday’s non-conference game at Western Illinois started off as a pitcher’s dual and ended up a 9-2 blowout loss.
For the first five innings, Hawkeye starter Chase Stephens and Leatherneck hurler Mark DiBernardo took turns posting zeros on the scoreboard. Western Illinois was first to crack the scoreboard, getting a two-run double from Dan Johnson to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
Iowa finally solved DiBernardo in the seventh, using a sacrifice fly from Tyson Blaser and an RBI single off the bat of Kevin Hoef to tie the game.
Kyle Heim, who replaced Stephens in the sixth, threw a pair of scoreless innings until the Leathernecks refused to go away in the eighth, scoring seven runs with two outs. The Hawkeyes used four pitchers in the inning, and only Joe Singer was able to stop the bleeding and get the final out. By then, it was too late, as Western Illinois had blown the game open with a 9-2 lead.
Iowa went 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to end the game.
HAWKEYES FIGHT DIABETES ? This Tuesday’s Fourth Annual Corridor Classic helped raise over $135,000 for the American Diabetes Association of Eastern Iowa. To date, the Corridor Classic has raised over $435,000 in its four years of existance with contests like Kiss-a-Pig and the annual raffle.
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.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN ? The Michigan Wolverines are 36-13 on the season and 18-6 in the Big Ten. They are a game and a half ahead of Minnesota for the conferene lead.
As a team, the Wolverines are leading the conference with a .338 batting average. Eight players (with 50 or more AB) are hitting .330 or better, and every hitting in their starting lineup is hitting above .300.
Individually, Zach Putnam is hitting .364 with five home runs and 50 RBIs. Nate Recknagel is hitting .345 with nine home runs and 48 RBIs. Eric Rose has been a terror on the basepaths with 29 stolen bases.
Michigan’s rotation is up in the air at this point, but the Hawkeyes will face Putnam (7-3, 3.80 ERA, 57 K) on Friday night, then Mike Wilson (7-0, 2.33 ERA, 46 K).
The Wolverines are coached by Rich Maloney, who is in his fifth season at the helm.
Michigan leads the all-time series 89-39, and swept a four-game set in Ann Arbor last season.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION ? There should be plenty of hits at Banks Field this weekend, with Iowa and Michigan ranked among the best offensive teams in the country.
Michigan is ranked fifth in the nation with a .338 team batting average, while Iowa is just behind them at sixth with a .335 average.
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 6-1 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.
UNSELFISH PLAY ? The Hawkeyes can’t be called a selfish team, as Iowa players are ranked 1-2 in the Big Ten in sacrifice flies. Caleb Curry leads the league with seven, while Kevin Hoef is just behind him with six.
Travis Sweet is third in the league with 12 sacrifice bunts.
WHITE SCORES ? Shortstop Jason White currently leads the Big Ten with 65 runs scored and is fourth 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 .415 batting average.
He is also tied for second in runs scored (58), third in hits (76) and total bases (116), and fourth in on base percentage (.495) and stolen bases (23).
NAPOLEON DRIVES THEM IN ? Hawkeye junior Dusty Napoleon remains on top of the Big Ten with 54 RBIs.
Napoleon is also leading the Big Ten in walks (45) and is second in on base percentage (.514).
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. .