Feb. 23, 2009
THIS WEEKEND: The Iowa Hawkeyes will travel back to Florida after going 1-2 last weekend in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. This weekend, the Black and Gold will be staying in DeLand and competeing against three quality programs: Stetson, South Alabama and Southern Illinois before heading back to Iowa on Sunday evening.
HAWKEYES ON THE NET Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes, as live stats will be available on hawkeyesports.com. Just click on the Gametracker link found on both the front page and the baseball schedule page.
PROBABLE IOWA STARTERS
Pos Name Yr. B/T Hometown Last School
3B Kevin Hoef Sr. R/R Troy, IL Troy
SS Justin Toole Sr. R/R Council Bluffs, IA Lewis Central
CF Kurtis Muller So. R/R Sun Prairie, WI Sun Prairie
DH Wes Freie Sr. R/R Wilton, IA Wilton
C Tyson Blaser Jr. R/R Taylor Ridge, IL Rockridge
2B Zach McCool So. R/R Manchester, IA West Delaware
1B T.J. Cataldo Sr. L/R Carlisle, IA Carlisle
RF Trevor Willis So. R/R Homer Glen, IL Lockport
LF Ryan Durant Jr. R/R Eldridge, IA Iowa Central CC
LF/2B Chett Zeise Fr. R/R Greenbay, WI Notre Dame Academy
PROBABLE WEEKEND STARTING ROTATION
L Michael Jacobs Jr. Lenexa, KS St. Thomas Aquinas
R Wes Freie Sr. Wilton, IA Wilton
R Nick Erdman Sr. Cedar Rapids, IA Linn-Mar="https://hawkeyesports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://hawkeyesports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://hawkeyesports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://hawkeyesports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://hawkeyesports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://hawkeyesports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://hawkeyesports.com/http:%3E%3C/pre%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3Cbr%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3Cbr%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3Cstrong%3ETHREE%20THINGS%20TO%20WATCH%20THIS%20WEEK:%3C/strong%3E%20%3Cbr%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%201.%20The%20current%20leader%20in%20career%20hit-by-pitches,%20%3Ca%20href="/roster.aspx?rp_id=2511" class="imported_story_link" oldlink="/sports/m-basebl/mtt/hoef_kevin00.html">Kevin Hoef, was hit by three pitches in the Hawkeye's three games in Florida -- averaging one per game. (Last season Hoef was hit by six in the first 10 games.)
2. Chett Zeise, fresh off his first career start with Iowa, will look to make an impact this weekend. Zeise leads the team with a .500 batting average.
3. Steve Turnbull struck out two batters in his one inning of relief against Georgetown. Look for the hard throwing righty to make an impact this weekend.
FROM THE COACHES BOX: "We did some positive things this weekend. Take two bad innings out of the mix and we'd feel a lot better about how we played -- even if our record stayed the same. We had some good outings on the mound, we played well defensively in two of the three games and I am confident our hitting will come around. This weekend we play three outstanding competitors and our goal is get better each day. We are not discouraged by our play so far."
SCOUTING STETSON: Iowa will take on Stetson Friday. The two teams split in 2008. The Hatters are 0-4 on the season after dropping a home series to Boston College last weekend. Stetson is coached by Peter Dunn who has led the Hatters to 26 winning seasons in the past 29 years. The team is led by senior Jeremy Cruz, who in 2008, posted a .404 average, 15 HR and 57 RBI. He is a preseason All-American and preseason A-Sun Player of the Year. Cruz will see time in the infield and outfield this season. Stetson leads the all-time series, 5-2.
SCOUTING SOUTH ALABAMA: The Jaguars are 2-2 on the season after beating No. 5 Ole Miss at home with a walk-off homerun in extra innings last weekend, 3-2. In the win, head coach Steve Kittrell picked up his 1,000 career win. The team is led by five returning starters. The Jaguars return 10 of their 19 pitchers from the 2008 season. Senior cleanup hitter Ryan Bohanan (.333, 9 HR, 42 RBI in 2008) returns at first base. The Hawkeyes trails the series, 1-2.
SCOUTING SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Southern Illinois is 1-3 on the year, and currently on a three game losing streak after dropping one game to Coastal Carolina and two to Troy last weekend. The Salukis finished fifth in the Missouri Valley in 2008, however, have lost 13 letterwinners since then -- including five position starters. Southern Illinois has added nine transfers to their roster as well as five freshmen. Despite the newcomers, a solid core returns, inluding senior catcher Mark Kelly, senior second baseman Scott Elmendorf, sophomore outfielder Chris Murphy, junior outfielder Aaron Roberts and starting senior right-hander Adam Curynski. Iowal leads the all-time series, 5-3.
SCHURZ MAKES HIS COMEBACK: Hawkeye hurler Mike Schurz returned to the mound Sunday after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2007. The Iowa closer struck out three in the ninth to pick up a save and secure the Black and Gold win over Georgetown.
BIG EAST/BIG TEN CHALLENGE SUMMARY: Iowa left St. Petersburg, FL, with a 1-2 record after falling to Illinois (8-3) and St. John's (18-3) and beating Georgetown (4-2). Friday, four Hawkeyes recorded Iowa's five hits in its loss to Illinois. Ryan Durant went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk, Trevor Willis went 1-for-2 with two walks and a triple, Wes Freie went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk and Zach McCool was 1-for-3 with a run. Michael Jacobs, Tony Manville and Jarred Hippen had solid outings on the hill. The Hawkeye trio allowed only two walks and three earned Illini runs. After a one hour and five minute first inningSaturday, Iowa found themselves down 12-0 to St. John's and was never able to recover. In the loss, Iowa recorded three hits, all of which were doubles. Tyson Blaser, Zach McCool and Trevor Willis all recorded a double. Kevin Hoef recorded his 50th career hit-by-pitch in his first at bat. In Sunday's win against Georgetown Wes Freie earned the win after striking out seven in five innings and allowing only one Hoya run. Relievers Nick Brown, Steve Turnbull and Mike Schurz pitched four solid innings. The Hawkeyes recorded eight hits against the Hoyas. Justin Toole went 2-for-4 with a two-RBI double, Freie went 1-for-4 with two RBI and Chett Zeise, in his first collegiate start, went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
FREIE NAMED HONORABLE MENTION: Wes Freie made his third career start Sunday against Georgetown after a two-year hiatus on the mound and picked up the win. Freie hit a solo homer to tie the game in the fourth and pitched five innings with seven strikeouts-- keeping the Hoyas off balance. For his pitching, as well as hitting at DH, Freie was named honorable mention at utility for the College Baseball 360 all-Tournament team. Freie ended the weekend going 2-for-8 with four runs scored, a homerun, two RBI and three walks.
ZEISE MAKES FRESHMAN DEBUT: Chett Zeise made his first career start as a Hawkeye against Georgetown over the weekend. The freshman was 2-for-3 with a run scored in the outing. Look to see more of him in DeLand, FL -- the Iowa freshman can play several positions, including outfield and middle infield.
HOEF CONTINUTES TO FILL IOWA'S "HUMAN PINATA" ROLE: The senior career hit-by-pitch leader continued to take a beating from opposing pitchers last week at the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. Kevin Hoef was hit by three in just two games, which leads the Big Ten.
SUPER SOPHOMORE: After Kurtis Muller's tremendous freshman season ended with a Ping! freshman all-America bid it is fair to say watch out to this potential super sophomore. Muller set a true-freshman record with 47 RBI, breaking John Knapp's school record of 43 RBI by a true freshman, which was established in 1984. He will be taking over standout Caleb Curry's spot in the lineup -- hitting third and will also roam center field. TOOLE TIME: Justin Toole was named Pre-season Third Team All-American by Ping! Toole was also named to the 2009 Brooks Wallace Watch List due to his tremendous junior campaign. In 2008, Toole was named to the all-region team, received his second third team all-Big Ten laurel as well as his second academic all-Big Ten honor. Toole also tied Iowa single-game singles record with five vs. UNI (Apr. 30, 2008) was part of the Music City Classic All-Tournament Team and established school record 25-game hitting streak.
BLASER BACK TO 100%: After an injury plauged season -- junior Tyson Blaser is back from rehab and ready to go. Blaser underwent surgery to repair a torn left meniscus and a thumb surgery to remove bone spurs. After a summer off the field that was full of rest and rehabilitation Blaser says he feels better than ever.
SCHEDULE STRENGTH: Iowa will compete against some tough teams in 2009. The Hawkeyes' schedule has four NCAA Tournament qualifiers, including: Michigan, Louisville, Nebraska and St. John's. The Hawkeyes will face three of the four on the road -- Louisville is rated 11th in the pre-season by NCBW. Michigan will come to town for the Big Ten opener in March, ranked 30th preseason by NCBW.
FRESHMEN GIVE DEPTH: Iowa's freshman class has was ranked the 49th-best class according to Perfect Game Cross Checker last season. (The highest of any Big Ten team.) Four true freshman, Nick Brown, Sean Flanagan, Jarred Hippen and Phil Schreiber, will give the pitching staff needed depth and make an early impact. The other five freshman, Dallas Burke, Andrew Ewing, Andrew Host, Mike McQuillan and Chett Zeise will add a healthy internal competition and make the Black and Gold's experienced defense stronger.
SOUTHPAW SURPLUS: The Hawkeyes have a surplus when it comes to lefties in the bullpen this season. With senior Matt Douglas, juniors Kyle Heim and Zach Robertson, sophomore Jeff Pacha and freshman Jarred Hippen, and Nic Jensen.
LEADERSHIP IN THE INFIELD: The Black and Gold will be fielding an experienced team in 2009, especially in the infield. Seniors Kevin Hoef, Justin Toole, T.J. Cataldo, Wes Freie and junior Tyson Blaser will all start.
2009 CAPTAINS: This season the Hawkeyes voted on captains, marking the first time at Iowa under coach Dahm. Senior Justin Toole and juniors Michael Jacobs and Tyson Blaser were given the honor of captain this past fall.
WILLIS WILL MAKE AN IMPACT: Sophomore Trevor Willis will see time in right field after appearing in 21 games, with 10 starts last season. Despite being recruited as an infielder, Willis make the transition to the outfield. The move is similar to what Caleb Curry did.
DAHM ON THE VERGE OF #3: Head Coach Jack Dahm is five wins away from tying Dick Schultz for the third-most victorious coach in Iowa history. Dahm is currently at 125 wins at Iowa. Last season, Dahm captured his 400th career victory on April 23 against UNI. Dahm recorded 283 victories at Creighton and has won 122 at Iowa. Dahm started in 1994 with his alma mater, Creighton University, and moved on to coach the Hawkeyes in 2003.