Hawkeyes Host Crusaders, Then Travel to Take On Nittany Lions

May 5, 2008

SERIES INFORMATION ? The Hawkeyes will host the Valparasio Crusaders Tuesday and then hop on a plane to take on Penn State in University Park, PA.

HAWKEYES THIS WEEKEND ? The Hawkeyes will host the Valparaiso Crusaders Tuesday. at 6 p.m. at Duane Banks Field. Valparaiso is 16-28 on the year and a mere 8-21 on the road. Chris Maliszewski will return to Duane Banks field in a Crusader uniform Tuesday night. Maliszewski was a volunteer coach for the Hawkeyes in 2005 after earning four letters in baseball. With a few days of practice and rest, the Hawkeyes will then hop on a flight to University Park, PA Thursday to take on the Nittany Lions in a four-game series at Lubrano Park beginning Friday night.

HAWKEYES ON THE AIR ? Hawkeye fans can catch every Iowa game at AM-800 KXIC. The Voice of the Hawkeyes, Brent Balbinot, will call the action. The radio broadcast will also be available free online.

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 VALPARISO: The Hawkeyes will host the Valparaiso Crusaders Tuesday. Valparaiso is 16-28 on the year and a mere 8-21 on the road. As a team, they are hitting .283 and are led, offensively, by Zach Rodeghero, who is hitting .453 with 19 doubles, 43 RBI, 22 walks and a .635 slugging percentage. The Crusader pitching staff has accumulated a 6.52 ERA and will be starting Jon Gulbransen, who has a 2-6 record and 6.18 ERA. He has nearly a 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio (35-18) and opponents are hitting .290 off him. This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams.

HAWKEYE HURLER RETURNS: Chris Maliszewski will return to Duane Banks Field in a Crusader uniform Tuesday night. Maliszewski was a volunteer coach for the Hawkeyes in 2005 after earning four letters in baseball. He was a southpaw that collected a 7-10 career record with three saves.

SCOUTING PENN STATE: The Black and Gold will hop on a flight to University Park, PA to take on the Nittany Lions in a four-game series at Lubrano Park beginning Friday night. Penn State is 20-27 on the year and 11-9 at home. As a team, they are hitting a mere .279 and only three starters are hitting above .300. However, the Nittany Lions find a way on base and they are patient at the plate having 205 walks so far this season and only handing out 167. The Penn State pitching staff has been solid throughout the season with a 5.90 ERA. The team is led by Mike Wanamaker, who has a low 3.09 ERA and struck out a team-high 45 batters. While the starting pitching has been solid, their closer has been outstanding this season for Penn State, with Drew O’Neil taking the mound. O’Neil has eight saves and a 0.45 ERA. Penn State leads the all-time series between the two schools, 26-21.

DIAMOND THIEVES APPROACH RECORD: This season Iowa has out-run its opponents, going 109-for-143. As a team, the Hawkeyes are 18 stolen bases from the school record of 127 total, which was sent it 1981. Leading Iowa in steals is Caleb Curry (32), followed by Justin Toole (18) and Kyle Riffel with 15. Furthermore, Curry ranks ninth in the country in thefts. Iowa ranks first in the Big Ten and third nationally in thefts per game and sixth as a team. Last weekend, Iowa out-ran the Golden Gophers nine thefts to four.

SUCCESSFUL WITH RUNNERS: Several Hawkeyes have taken advantage of base runners this season. Caleb Curry is hitting .480 (49-102) with runners on, to lead the Black and Gold. Justin Toole is hitting .815 (22-27) when runners are on third and less than two outs, while Kurtis Muller is 56-for-95 (.589) in advancing runners. Kevin Hoef is hitting .455 (5-11) with the bases loaded.

JT’S STREAKIN’: Justin Toole has caught fire since the coaching staff moved him to shortstop. Balls have been exploding off his bat, having recorded at least one hit in every game since switching sides of the infield. He currently has a 20-game hitting streak, a career and team best and has put up huge numbers. This past week, Toole went 12-for-21 (.571) with seven RBI, eight runs scored, two walks, a stolen base, two hit-by-pitches and a .640 on base percentage. He is the only Hawkeye to walk more then strikeout so far this season (13-12).

IOWA SPLITS WITH MINNESOTA: Iowa swept the Saturday doubleheader of the four-game series against the Golden Gophers and came away with a split. On the weekend, Tyson Blaser went on a rampage going 5-for-10 with two doubles, two RBI, two walks and one run scored. Kody McManis swung the bat well going 5-for-10 with a double, two RBI and two hit-by-pitches. Kurtis Muller came up big on the weekend going 7-for-16 and scoring five runs with two doubles, three RBI, a walk, two hit-by-pitches and three stolen bases. Justin Toole and Caleb Curry combined for 13 runs scored and 14 RBI. Curry had two doubles. As a team, the Hawkeyes hit .341 as a team and had nine doubles, scored 30 runs, drew 15 walks and stole nine bases. On top of that, the pitching staff struck out 25 Golden Gophers. Brock Alberts struck out nine in six and one-third innings pitched. Steve Turnbull threw the Hawkeyes’ second complete game of the year and got a win.

HURLERS GET QUALITY STARTS: Three of the four starting Hawkeye hurlers who took the mound this past weekend against Minnesota recorded quality starts, having gone at least five innings and allowing three or less earned runs. Since returning to the starting rotation Steve Turnbull has three straight quality starts to lead the Hawkeyes. In those three games he has posted a 3.60 ERA with two wins, one complete game and nine strikeouts. In the 15 innings pitched, Turnbull has only allowed two extra base hits.

TAKING A RECORD: Kevin Hoef took one for the team and broke a record in the process Saturday, getting hit by two pitches to take the single-season record away from Kris Welker with 18 so far this season.

GETTING A FIRST INNING JUMP: The Hawkeyes have scored at least one run in the first inning in nine of the last 15 games, that includes a seven-run first inning against the Northern Iowa Panthers last Wednesday at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.

IOWA OFFENSE IS STREAKING: Justin Toole continued his hit streak to 20 consecutive games with a hit, which is a Hawkeye season best. Kevin Hoef has been swinging the bat well, having gone the last 12 contests with a hit. Toole leads Iowa in seven offensive categories. Curry leads the team in multi-RBI games with 17, followed by Toole (13). Toole also leads the team with 23 multi-hit games to lead Iowa, while Curry has 21 multi-hit contests this year.

UTILIZING THE SAC BUNT: The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten in sacrifice bunts in the conference (39). Leading the Black and Gold is Kyle Riffel with nine, followed by Kurtis Muller with six.

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 (.393), slugging percentage (.584), hits (65), doubles (12), runs batted in (57), hit-by-pitches (9), sac flies (7) and stolen bases (32). Justin Toole has also emerged as a huge Big Ten threat, being in the top ten in: batting average (.405), hits (75), doubles (14), total bases (86), stolen bases (18), at bats (191), runs batted in (44) and runs scored (52). Other Hawkeyes who rank well in the conference include: Kevin Hoef leads the league in hit-by-pitches (18), is eighth in on-base percentage (.466) and fifth in runs scored (46). Kyle Riffel is second in the league in sac bunts (9) and is eighth in stolen bases (15), and Kurtis Muller is third in sac flies (5). Andrew Porter is first in appearances (28) and seventh in saves (4) and Kyle Heim is third (24) in appearances.

WEARING PITCHES: Iowa has no problem taking one for the team. The Hawkeyes have 76 hit-by-pitches on the year, which is more than any other team in the Big Ten and enough to rank them 25th in the country in the category. To lead the Black and Gold is Kevin Hoef with 18 who has the seventh most in the country, followed by Kurtis Muller (13).

SUPER FRESHMAN: Kurtis Muller has played a huge role in the Hawkeye offense this year with 38 RBI. The last freshman to have such stellar numbers was in 1994 and C.J. Thieleke. Thieleke hit .326 on the year with 63 hits and 39 RBI. Muller also ranks second all-time in freshman season hit-by-pitches, he has 13 and is one away from tying the 14 Kevin Hoef posted as a freshman.

DAHM CAPTURES MILESTONE: Head Coach Jack Dahm captured his 400th career victory on April 23 against UNI. Dahm recorded 283 victories at Creighton and has won 121 at Iowa. Dahm started in 1994 with his alma mater, Creighton University, and moved on to coach the Hawkeyes in 2003.

HAWKEYES GO YARD: Iowa added another two home runs to its Big Ten total vs. Minnesota last weekend. The Hawkeye total has now swelled to 18. Last weekend, Caleb Curry hit two long balls to help him collect nine RBI. Fourteen of Iowa’s 18 homers this season have been in Big Ten play (five at Indiana, three vs. Purdue and Northwestern, one at Michigan State and two vs. Minnesota).

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