March 30, 2009
THIS WEEK’S INFORMATION:
Iowa vs. Upper Iowa // Iowa at Illinois State // Iowa at Purdue
HAWKEYES IN THE MIDWEEK: The Iowa Hawkeyes will compete in two mid-week non-conference games this week. First, they will take on Upper Iowa at home before traveling to Illinois State in Normal, IL.
HAWKEYES IN THE BIG TEN: The Iowa Hawkeyes will travel to West Lafayette, IN to take on the Purdue Boilermakers in a three-game series, Friday-Sunday, at Lambert Field. Purdue is currently 10-10 and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
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.
HAWKEYES ON THE AIR: Hawkeye fans can catch most Hawkeye games on AM-800 KXIC. The Voice of the Hawkeyes, Brent Balbinot, will call the play-by-play. KXIC will broadcast all five of this week’s games.
THIS WEEKS MID-WEEK STARTERSRHP Phil Schreiber Fr. Kaukauna, WI KaukaunaLHP Zach Robertson Jr. Des Moines, IA Iowa Central
SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE: Illinois State is off to a 11-7 start this season, with a 3-1 record at home. The Redbirds are scheduled to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini Tuesday before the Hawkeyes come to town. Redshirt sophomore Tyler McNeely leads the team with a .590 slugging percentage, eight doubles,11 walks and seven stolen bases. The probable starter for the Redbirds is RHP Quinn Ewert. Ewert has a 12.15 ERA on the year with a 0-2 record. Opponents are hitting .414 against him in his four appearances on the mound. Iowa trails the series between the two schools, 9-7.
SCOUTING PURDUE: Purdue is currently 10-10 on the year and 1-1 in the Big Ten after splitting with Northwestern last weekend and having the final game of the series snowed out. The Boilermakers are slated to play Louisville and IPFU at home this week before hosting the Hawkeyes. The Boilermakers are led by Dan Black, who is only hitting .286 on the year but leads the team in at bats (70), home runs (8), RBI (25), walks (25), strikeouts (17) and on base percentage (.480). The Purdue pitching staff is led by RHP Matt Bischoff and LHP Matt Jansen. Both have picked up two wins for the Boilermakers and have 37 and 38 strikeouts, respectively. Bischoff has a complete game under his belt, also. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series between the two schools, 80-60-1.
IOWA ENDS SEVEN-GAME LOSING STREAK TO WOLVERINES, BUT DROPS SERIES, 2-1: Iowa dropped the series finale against Michigan Sunday afternoon, 7-5. The game was delayed three hours after the Iowa grounds-crew needed the extra time to remove last night’s snow fall. Three costly Hawkeye errors in the top of the eighth inning proved to be the difference in today’s rubber match. In total, the Hawkeyes were charged with a season-high five errors. Iowa’s bullpen of Michael Jacobs, Nick Erdman and Patrick Schatz had a solid performance, allowing only two unearned runs on three hits and struck out five in five and two-third innings. The Hawkeyes snapped a seven-game losing streak to the defending Big Ten champion Michigan Wolverines with a 2-1 pitching dual victory Saturday. In his first start as a Hawkeye, true freshman Jarred Hippen went six and two-third innings in a no decision. Hippen struck out a season-high nine Wolverines and scattered five hits and allowed only one earned run. Steve Turnbull faced five batters and picked up the win, only allowing one hit and striking out two in the seventh and eighth innings. Closer Mike Schurz earned his third save of the season, retiring the Wolverines in order in the ninth. Iowa’s three pitchers accounted for a combined 12 strikeouts, which is one shy of a team season high (13 vs. South Alabama on Feb. 28). Iowa fell to Michigan in the late innings, 4-3, Friday. After scoring the first three runs of the game, Michigan scored the final four to escape with the win. The Hawkeyes jumped to an early lead in the first; however Michigan pitcher Kevin Fetter silenced the Iowa offense allowing only one hit in the next eight innings. Fetter threw his first of complete game the season to earn his fourth victory.
TOOLE GETS HOT IN BIG TEN PLAY: Justin Toole led the Hawkeye offensive effort in their series against the Wolverines. Toole went 4-for-11 (.364)with a run scored and a walk.
SECOND INNING RALLY: The Hawkeye offense gets their bats going in the second frame, out scoring opponents a whopping 32-9 so far this season. The ninth inning is also a Black and Gold battery favorite, outscoring opponents 17-7 in last inning rallies.
HAWKEYE OFFENSE BY THE NUMBERS: The Hawkeye offense is hitting .287 on the year and each individual has done its part in different situations. Tyson Blaser leads the team in batting average against southpaw pitching (.467), whereas Phil Keppler is hitting a solid .400 against right-handed pitching. Chett Zeise is hitting .400 with runners on base and T.J. Cataldo is hitting .387 with runners in scoring position — having 11 RBI in two-out situations. Cleanup hitter Wes Freie is hitting a staggering .588 when he leads the inning off. Andrew Ewing is the Hawkeyes’ pinch hitter of choice, hitting .400 in the situation.
JT IS STREAKIN’: Senior Justin Toole leads the Hawkeyes with a current 10-game hitting streak. Toole also leads the team in multi-hit games with 10. IMPROVING PITCHING: The Hawkeye pitching staff has gotten noticeably better each game throughout the season, improving the staff’s overall ERA to 5.83 in the past few weeks. Lefty swinging opponents are hitting .167 against Phil Schreiber, whereas right-handed hitters have yet to get a hit on Kevin Lee and are hitting only .120 on Patrick Schatz. Freshman starter Nick Brown’s bread and butter is getting opponents to ground out, having 26 of them doing so. Michael Jacobs has had five opponents hit into double plays against him, leading the team. Hawkeye setup man, Steve Turnbull is averaging 4.3 strikeouts per walk.
TOOLE NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Justin Toole scored nine runs while driving in six and raising his batting average 51 points to .353 mark. The senior tallied four multi-hit games in six contests and racked up four extra-base hits. For the week, Toole batted .440 with a .680 slugging percentage and a .533 on-base percentage to combine for an OPS of 1.213. He is currently on a 10-game hitting streak.
OFFENSE HITS OVER THE FENCES: Iowa currently has 18 home runs on the year, three shy of the season total in 2008. Wes Freie and T.J. Cataldo lead the Black and Gold with four bombs, respectively. (Freie had a total of four last season.) Ten Hawkeyes have recorded a round-tripper.
SCHATZ EXCELS ON THE MOUND: After seeing limited time on the mound a year ago, Patrick Schatz has made himself into one of Iowa’s go-to guys in the long reliever role. Schatz has a team-best 2.25 ERA in 20 innings pitched and has allowed only five earned runs all year — which is saying something, considering Schatz has come into the game in some sticky situations.
HIPPEN MAKES IMPACT: Freshman southpaw Jarred Hippen has been consistent for the Hawkeyes on the mound. The Iowa reliever turned starter against Michigan on Saturday, went six and two-third innings in a no decision performance. Hippen is third on the team with a 2.55 ERA and is tied for the most innings pitched on the year with 24.2.