Hawkeyes to Open in Blustery Ann Arbor

March 28, 2008

SERIES INFORMATION ? The Hawkeyes travel to blustery Ann Arbor, MI, this weekend to take on the Michigan Wolverines and kick off the Big Ten season.

Iowa’s Big Ten opener at Michigan today has been postponed due to an overnight snowfall. Weather permitting, the four-game series against the Wolverines will now consist of noon (CDT) doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday (March 29-30) at the Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex, home to Ray Fisher Stadium. The first game each day will be a nine-inning contest, followed by a seven-inning game.

HAWKEYES THIS WEEK ? The Hawkeyes will travel to Ann Arbor, MI, to take on the No. 25 Michigan Wolverines and kickoff the Big Ten season. Iowa trails the all-time series against Michigan, 92-40. Under Coach Jack Dahm, Iowa is 5-12 against the Wolverines.

HAWKEYES ON THE AIR ? Starting with Iowa’s first home game on March 25, tune into 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.

HAWKEYES ON THE NET ? Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes this week, as live stats will be available on www.hawkeyesports.com. Just click on the Gametracker link found on both the front page and the baseball schedule page.

SCOUTING MICHIGAN: The No. 25 Wolverines are 10-6 and 2-0 at home so far. There most notable win was against currently No. 22 Coastal Carolina 4-1. They have lost to No. 1 Arizona State twice and tied the New York Mets in an exhibition game. Michigan is led by offensive threat Nate Recknagel, who is hitting a solid .383 to lead the Wolverines. He leads the Big Ten in slugging percentage (.767), is seventh in runs scored (17), eighth in on-base percentage (.466) and leads the league in home runs (7), runs batted in (22) and total bases (46). As a team, the Wolverines are hitting .299. The Michigan pitching staff has a collective 5.36 ERA and are led by Chris Fetter, who has started four games and is 3-0. Travis Smith and Zach Putnam are also pitchers to lookout for. In the series between the two schools, Iowa trails, 92-40.

WESTERN ILLINOIS SUMMARY: The Hawkeyes won their home opener Tuesday night over Western Illinois, 7-4, at Duane Banks Field. In the win, the Hawkeyes took advantage of four Leatherneck errors and strung together seven hits. In the Iowa win, Kevin Hoef was 1-for-4 with two RBIs and scoring two Iowa runs. Kyle Riffel extended his hitting streak to eight games tonight, going 1-for-3 with three RBIs and Wes Freie continued to swing the bat well going 2-for-4. Kurtis Muller utilized the bunt in the Iowa win, laying down two sac bunts.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS SUMMARY: Northern Illinois led start-to-finish en route to a 5-4 victory over the Iowa Wednesday at Duane Banks Field. Leading the Hawkeyes were Justin Toole, Kyle Riffel and Kody McManis. Toole went 2-for-5, driving in three RBI. Today marked Toole’s team-leading seventh multi-RBI game. Riffel went 2-for-4 with an RBI, extending his hitting streak to nine games. It also marked the fifth game this season the senior recorded two hits or more in a game. McManis posted his first multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-3 and scored a run.

BIG TEN OPENER: COMPARISONS: Iowa’s team batting average is slightly higher than Michigan’s .303 to .299. The Hawkeyes have 28 hit-by-pitches, compared to Michigan’s mere 12. Iowa is more patient in the box, drawing 73 walks to Michigan’s 68. The Black and Gold have a higher team on-base percentage, .407 to the Wolverines’ .381. Both teams are close in hits, Michigan has the edge with 169, to Iowa’s 165. The Black and Gold have a slight lead over the Wolverines in doubles, 33-32. The Hawkeyes have fielded more double plays this season, 11-9. The two team’s pitching staffs have similar earned run averages, the Wolverines have the advantage, 5.36 to 5.69. However, Iowa pitchers manage the bases well, having picked off eight runners, to Michigan’s five.

HAWKEYES SWING THE BAT:The Hawkeyes are hitting .303 as a team on the year. The Black and Gold are led by Caleb Curry, who is hitting .452, and sophomore Justin Toole, who has hit .364 on the year.

IOWA OFFENSE IS STREAKING: After two home games, Kyle Riffel is currently on a nine game hitting streak, going 3-for-7 on the week with four RBIs. On top of that, Caleb Curry leads the team with nine multi-hit games, followed by Justin Toole who has eight. Toole leads the team with multi-RBI games with seven, after picking up one at Duane Banks Field this past week.

SUCCESSFUL WITH RUNNERS : The Iowa offense has taken advantage of base runners this season. Currently, the Hawkeyes are hitting .591 with runners on third and less then two outs. The Black and Gold is also hitting .521 when there are runners to advance.

DIAMOND THIEVES:This season the Hawkeyes have out-run their opponents, going 42-for-54. Leading Iowa in steals is Caleb Curry with 12. Kevin Hoef, Justin Toole and Kyle Riffel each respectively have six.

SOLID BULLPEN OUTING:In the Hawkeyes’ two game homestand, eight pitchers were used in the Black and Gold bullpen. Together they pitched 13 innings only allowing four runs on 13 hits and striking out four. An astounding 13 Iowa pitchers have seen action so far this year, throwing 137 and two-thirds innings.

CURRY RECEIVES HONOR: Senior Caleb Curry received CollegeBaseballHub.com’s Heartland Hitter of the Week honor for his performance against Rutgers. Curry went 8-for-13 with seven RBI, two walks and three runs scored in the series.

BY THE NUMBERS IN THE BIG TEN:Caleb Curry has taken the Big Ten by storm, when compared with the league’s players he ranks in the top five in: batting average (.452), slugging percentage (.532), on base percentage (.514), hits (28), runs batted in (21) and stolen bases (12). Other Hawkeyes who rank well in the conference include: Justin Toole is tied for first in runs batted in (22), Kevin Hoef leads the league in hit-by-pitches (8), is fourth in runs scored (19) and is tied for fifth in walks (10). Kyle Riffel is second in the league in hit-by-pitches (5) and Matt Mossey is tied for fifth in doubles (6). Kurtis Muller leads the league in sac bunts (5). Andrew Porter is tied for first in appearances (10), while Zach Kenyon and Nick Erdman are tied for first in pick-offs (2). Brock Alberts is tied for seventh in the league in strikeouts (21).

ON DECK FOR IOWA: Iowa Cubs – Apr. 1

The Hawkeyes will take on the I-Cubs, in an exhibition, for the third time in Iowa baseball history. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Iowa baseball program.

The I-Cubs are the Chicago Cubs Class AAA affiliate.

Illinois State – Apr. 2

The Redbirds are currently 9-10. They were swept in a four-game series to No. 16 Witchita State last weekend and are set to take on Creighton this weekend.

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