Iowa to Compete Against Iowa Cubs and Redbirds

March 31, 2008

SERIES INFORMATION ? The Hawkeyes travel to Principal Park in Des Moines,IA Tuesday to take on the Iowa Cubs in an exhibition game. Iowa will then come back to Iowa City Wednesday to host the Illinois State Redbirds.

HAWKEYES THIS WEEK ? After a rough weekend in Ann Arbor, MI the Hawkeyes travel to Principal Park in Des Moines, IA, Tuesday to take on the Iowa Cubs in an exhibition game.

This is the third time Iowa has taken on the I-Cubs and are currently trailing, 2-0.

Iowa will then return to Iowa City Wednesday to entertain the Illinois State Redbirds, who are riding an eight-game losing streak.

With Coach Jack Dahm at the helm, Iowa is 4-3 against the Redbirds.

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 Director of Baseball Operations, Matt Haddy supplying color commentary.

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

SCOUTING IOWA CUBS: The Hawkeyes will take on the AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs for the third time since Head Coach Jack Dahm took the helm.

The game will be the first of a ten-game home stand for the I-Cubs and marks the organization’s first game of the year. The Iowa Cubs will take on Round Rock and Albuquerque in a four-game series, each.

The last time the Black and Gold took on the minor league team, they competed against active MLB players: Ryan Theriot, Rich Hill, Mike Fontenot, Felix Pie and Geovany Soto.

Iowa is currently 0-2 in the series. In 2004, they lost 4-2 and in 2006 they lost, 20-0.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE: The Redbirds are currently 9-13 and 0-6 in the MVC. They are currently on an eight game losing streak after being swept in a three-game series to No. 16 Wichita State and last weekend against Creighton.

Illinois State is led offensively by Kevin Dubler, who has a .353 batting average with eight doubles, two triples and three home runs.

Leading the Redbirds on the mound is Ryan Copeland with a 3-3 record and 2.43 ERA. Copeland is a strike throwing southpaw, who has 30 strikeouts on the year and only a mere three walks.

The Redbirds lead the series between the two schools, 8-7.

SLUGGING WITH WOOD: In Tuesday’s exhibition game, the Hawkeyes will swing the major league way: with wood. The Hawkeyes will put away their trusty aluminum bats and sport the traditional wooden bats that their opponents use regularly. Iowa will be bringing the heavy lumber, having used wooden bats in their fall series and also in practice.

MICHIGAN SUMMARY: The Hawkeyes were swept in their Big Ten opening series against No. 25 Michigan last weekend in Ann Arbor, MI.

Kevin Hoef led the Black and Gold offensively, going 4-for-14 (.286) with a double, triple, two-RBIs and scoring three Iowa runs. Justin Brauer was 3-for-8 (.375) and scored a run. Kody McManis was 1-for-4 (.250) and was hit by two pitches.

Iowa lost 3-2 Sunday in the nightcap of a doubleheader against Michigan. Despite the rainy and cold Ann Arbor weather, Iowa scattered five hits and fell to 7-12 and 0-4 in the Big Ten. Michigan got its first Big Ten sweep of the year, improving to 13-6 and 4-0 in the conference.

Tony Manville started on the hill for Iowa and held the Michigan offense off balance for three scoreless innings in his second start as a Hawkeye. He allowed two runs, one of them earned, on six hits in four innings.

The Hawkeyes dropped their third game Sunday, 6-3 in seven innings. In the loss Iowa scattered nine hits, including three doubles, and utilized the sacrifice.

Nick Erdman started on the mound for Iowa and received the loss. He went five innings, allowing five earned runs on 11 hits.

The Black and Gold lost the second game of a doubleheader against No. 25 Michigan Saturday, 5-3. In the loss, Iowa utilized the sacrifice and scored the first three runs.

Brock Alberts received the loss and pitched six innings allowing two earned runs on five Wolverine hits. Alberts kept the Michigan offense scoreless for the first four innings.

The Hawkeyes fell to Michigan in their Big Ten season opener in ten innings, 4-3. In the loss, Iowa capitalized on three Wolverine errors in the seventh and manufactured runs against Zach Putman.

In the Hawkeye loss, the Iowa pitching staff threw consistently throughout the ten innings. Michael Jacobs went seven and one-third innings allowing two earned runs on seven hits and walking no one. The Black and Gold bullpen included Andrew Porter. Porter got the loss, dropping his record to 1-1.

FORMER HAWK ALERT: Former Iowa Hawkeye basketball players, and current Iowa Energy players, Jeff Horner, Adam Haluska and Doug Thomas will be signing autographs and throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Iowa vs. Iowa Cubs baseball exhibition game.

FAMILY RIVALRY: Assistant Coach Ryan Brownlee has worn many hats with his father, Redbird Coach Jim Brownlee, including: son, player, assistant coach and rival. Jim coached Ryan at Evansville and later gave him a position as assistant coach, under him, at Evansville for a few years. The Illinois State head coach is in his 29th career season with the Redbirds. With his 820 victories as head coach, Jim ranks in the top-40 among all NCAA Division I coaches.

McMANIS BATTLES: Junior Kody McManis showed off his versatility this past weekend as he battled from behind the plate. The infielder turned catcher got sufficient playing time in Ann Arbor due to a nagging thumb injury sustained by Tyson Blaser and from a re-sprained ankle by Ben Geelan in game one. McManis was 1-for-4 on the weekend and is hitting .357 on the year.

I-CLUB RECEPTION: On Tuesday there will be a reception at the Cub Club in Principal Park from 4-5:30 p.m. To enter the reception a game ticket is needed. Coach Jack Dahm will speak breifely at 5 p.m. All Hawkeye fans are welcome.

IOWA OFFENSE IS STREAKING: While Kyle Riffel’s hitting streak ended in blustery Ann Arbor at nine, it was the longest Hawkeye streak of the year. Caleb Curry leads the team with nine multi-hit games, followed by Justin Toole and Kevin Hoef who have eight. Toole leads the team in multi-RBI games (7).

SUCCESSFUL WITH RUNNERS : The Iowa offense took advantage of base runners in its Big Ten season opener against Michigan. The Hawkeyes hit 8-for-8 (1.000) with runners on third and less then two outs. The Black and Gold also hit .558 when there were runners to advance and .500 with the bases loaded.

DIAMOND THIEVES: This season the Hawkeyes have out-run their opponents, going 44-for-56. Leading Iowa in steals is Caleb Curry with 13. Kevin Hoef with seven, and Justin Toole and Kyle Riffel have six.

UTILIZING RUNNERS ON THIRD: The Hawkeyes are hitting .635 with runners on third as a team. The Black and Gold are led by Kurtis Muller who is hitting .833 in the situation and Caleb Curry who is hitting .818.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHTS: In their opening weekend in the Big Ten, the Iowa pitching staff posted a mere 3.41 ERA. The Black and Gold were led by starter Tony Manville and relievers Andrew Porter and Kyle Heim, allowing no earned runs in 10 innings. A quality start by Michael Jacobs was also a weekend highlight. Jacobs allowed no walks in seven and one-third innings pitched. On the season, Porter (1.08) and Heim (1.84) lead the pitching staff in ERA. Jason Belk leads the team with a 3.0 strikeout to walk ratio. An astounding 13 Iowa pitchers have seen action so far this year, throwing 166 and two-thirds innings.

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 ten in: batting average (.403), on base percentage (.477), runs batted in (22) and stolen bases (13).

Other Hawkeyes who rank well in the conference include: Justin Toole is second in runs batted in (23) and second in sac bunts (4), Kevin Hoef leads the league in hit-by-pitches (9), is tied for third in runs scored (22) and is tied for eighth in stolen bases (7). Kyle Riffel is second in the league in hit-by-pitches (6) and Matt Mossey is tied for fourth in doubles (7). Kurtis Muller leads the league in sac bunts (5). Andrew Porter is tied for first in appearances (11).

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