May 5, 2010
THE SETTING: Iowa is one game out of sixth and two out of third place in the conference standings. This weekend the Hawkeyes will travel to University Park, PA, to take on sixth-place Penn State in a three-game series which will be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network (HD). The first game is slated for Friday at 6:05 p.m. (CDT) This is Iowa’s final Big Ten series on the road this season.
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. Whistlin’ Ray Gilmore enters his 33rd season with the Hawkeye baseball program and will be posting the stats.
ON THE RADIO: Hawkeye fans can catch this weekend’s games on AM-800 KXIC. The Voice of the Hawkeyes, Brent Balbinot will handle the play-by-play, while Ray Gilmore will provide expert analysis. The three-game Penn State series will be broadcast on the radio and online.
ON THE TUBE: Hawkeye fans can watch this weekend’s three-game series on the Big Ten Network. Steve will provide the play-by-play, while Scott Pose provides the color commentary.
SCOUTING PENN STATE: Penn State is currently 20-23 and 7-8 in the conference after sweeping Michigan State last weekend. The Nittany Lions are currently tied for sixth place in the conference standings. Offensively, PSU is led by Ben Heath. He leads the team in hits (64), doubles (14), homers (17), RBI (53), slugging percentage (.772), walks (24), sacrifice flies (4) and on base percentage (.457). The Nittany Lion pitching staff is led by reliever David Lutz. Lutz, who is the reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, has a team-low 3.04 ERA, a team-best four wins and team-high 29 appearances with 56.1 innings pitched.
HIPPEN TOSSES A GEM: Jarred Hippen threw his third complete game of the season and earned his team-best fourth win last Saturday in game one of a doubleheader against Minnesota. Coming off a complete game in Ann Arbor the previous Friday, the lefty allowed only four runs, three earned, on 10 hits with seven strikeouts and issued no walks. All three complete games have been in conference play and all have resulted in a win. In his last complete game the Rock Falls, IL, native, allowed only two runs, one earned, scattered six hits and struck out five en route to his third win in a 5-2 victory at Michigan. Hippen’s first career complete game was in the Big Ten opener at Michigan State. He allowed three runs off seven hits and striking out two. The last Hawkeye to throw a complete nine was Nate Johnson in 2004.
EARLY LEADS = WINS: In Big Ten contests, the Hawkeyes have had an early lead in four of their six conference wins. Iowa plays well when playing with the lead. In fact, in all games played this season, the Hawkeyes are 15-2 when leading after six.
FIRST FRAME: The Hawkeyes are successful in the first inning, having scored 47 (to their opponents 30) in the first frame this season. Against Coe, Tuesday evening, the Hawkeyes plated five runs in the first.
HAWKEYES SWING IT: Mike McQuillan is currently on a nine-game hit streak. The sophomore also leads the Hawkeyes with 18 multi-hit games, followed by Kurtis Muller (17), Zach McCool (15) and Ryan Durant (15). Durant leads the way with 10 multi-RBI games and McCool has collected eight. DERMODY GETS FIRST `W’: After retiring the first batter of the game, Iowa starter Matt Dermody allowed the next five Coe hitters to reach base surrendering three first-inning runs on three hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. The inning featured a Ryan Velvick two-RBI single up the middle. Dermody, however, earned his first career victory and settled down after the first inning, going five innings and scattering seven hits and allowing three runs.
IOWA GETS MIDWEEK WIN: Iowa scored 13 runs in the first two innings and cruised to a 16-6 triumph over Coe College Tuesday night in the Corridor Classic played in front of 964 fans at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The 16 runs are the most by Iowa since its 19-11 season-opening victory over Illinois State in Clarkesville, TN. Zach McCool, Mike McQuillan, Phil Keppler, Chett Zeise, Ryan Durant and Sean Flanagan paced the Hawkeyes offensively. McCool and Durant both went a perfect 3-for-3, while Durant added three RBI and McCool two runs scored. McQuillan went 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI. Keppler had a hit, walk, two RBI and two runs scored. Zeise collected a game-high four RBI on three hits, including a home run and sacrifice fly, while Flanagan had a hit, walk, two RBI and a run. Iowa equaled a season-high in home runs in a game with four: Trevor Willis, Mike Corbeil and Durant each had solo blasts, while Zeise had a three-run shot.
HOME RUN FEVER: The Hawkeyes had been on a home run drought until Trevor Willis connected with a `no doubter’ in Ann Arbor two weekends ago. That bomb ended a nearly month-long drought for the Hawkeyes. Since then, Iowa has launched eight bombs in its last four games. Willis and Mike McQuillan have collected two. While Mike Corbeil, Ryan Durant, Zach McCool and Chett Zeise have all registered one. McQuillan, Durant, Flanagan and Willis all share the team lead with three big flies each.
McCOOL DOMINATES BIG TEN: Zach McCool has had stellar performances in Big Ten play this season. In conference play, the junior is ranked in the top 10 amongst other Big Ten players in the following statistical categories: stolen bases (2nd), on base percentage (3rd), sacrifice bunts (3rd) and batting average (4th).
DURANT SOLID IN BIG TEN: Iowa’s cleanup hitter, Ryan Durant has hit a solid .345 in conference play. He leads the team with nine doubles, 16 RBI and is second (to Zach McCool) with a .500 slugging percentage. Six of his 16 RBI have come with two outs. Durant ranks in the Big Ten, in conference games only, in doubles (1st), sacrifice flies (3rd) and sacrifice bunts (3rd.).
STACKING UP IN THE BIG TEN: When compared to the conference’s best in overall games several Hawkeyes rank in the top 10. Kurtis Muller is tied for first in fielding percentage and ranks in stolen bases (5th). Ryan Durant is tied for third in sacrifice flies and Zach McCool ranks second in sacrifice bunts. Ace Jarred Hippen ranks in batters struck out looking (1st), innings pitched (2nd), ERA (7th) and batters struck out (9th), Kevin Lee ranks second in saves and Patrick Schatz ranks third in appearances.
PRESERVING THE LEAD: Iowa has done a very good job this season winning the games where it has had the lead late. The Hawkeyes are a perfect 17-0 when leading after eight innings, 16-2 when leading after seven and 15-2 when maintaining the advantage after six frames.
CORBEIL GETS AFTER IT: Freshman Mike Corbeil has made himself a regular in the Iowa lineup in recent games. The left-handed hitter is currently hitting .348 in conference play, including a double, three walks and a sacrifice fly.
SITUATIONALLY SPEAKING: Lefty Dallas Burke is hitting a solid .346 against southpaw pitchers. While Mike McQuillan is hitting .396 off of rightys. Kurtis Muller is cool under pressure, hitting .438 with two outs. Zach McCool leads the team with 13 two-out RBI with Ryan Durant right behind him with 12. Zach Robertson has been dominant against lefties, who are hitting a mere .093 against him. Opponents are hitting .128 with two outs against Nick Brown and Jarred Hippen leads the pitching staff with seven batters who have grounded into double plays.
FINISHING AT HOME: Iowa will play its final seven games in the state of Iowa, including six Big Ten games. The Hawkeyes will host Ohio State in a three-game series next weekend (May 14-16) and Purdue the following week (May 20-22). The Hawkeyes boast a 10-5 home record. Iowa has only one non-conference game remaining, vs. Western Illinois, played at a neutral site in Davenport, Iowa.