May 19, 2010
THE SETTING: The Hawkeyes host Purdue in a three-game series at Duane Banks Field this weekend, the first game is slated for Thursday at 6:05 p.m. With hopes of earning a Big Ten Tournament berth (the first since 2007), Iowa’s destiny lies in its own hands. Iowa concludes the regular season with its second straight home series, while Purdue ends its season with its second consecutive weekend road trip. The Hawkeyes are currently in a four-way tie for fifth and three games out of first place. Admission is $3 for adults, while UI students and youths are free.
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 Steve Duncan and a few ex-Hawkeyes, will provide expert analysis. All three games will be broadcasted on the radio and online.
SCOUTING PURDUE: Purdue is 31-19 and 12-9 in Big Ten Play. The Boilermakers took two from Illinois in a three-game series last weekend. Purdue’s offense is hitting .297 in conference play. In overall games, the Boilermaker offense is led by Tyler Spillner, Kevin Plawecki and Cameron Perkins. The Boilermaker pitching staff has a 4.63 ERA and are led by ace Matt Bischoff. Bischoff has a 3.29 ERA with a 9-1 record. He also has amassed 83 strikeouts with only 11 walks. Bischoff retired 23 consecutive Illinois hitters at one point during an 8-2, complete game victory over the Illini. He retired the side in order from the second through the seventh innings.
IOWA VS BISCHOFF: Iowa has had success against the ace the last two years. Last year in West Lafayette, Bischoff got the loss in a 15-7 Iowa win, going 5.2 IP, 8 R, 6 ER, 10 hits, 3 BB. Two years ago in Iowa City, Purdue won 8-6, but Bischoff was chased after 2.0 IP. He surrendered seven hits, 6 ER and 2 BB in those two innings.
LEE GOES YARD: With the game tied in the bottom of the eighth last Friday at Duane Banks Field against Ohio State, Iowa’s offense exploded with a towering three-run blast to left field off the bat of Kurt Lee. The homer lifted Iowa to a thrilling 7-5 victory. With his first big fly as a Hawkeye, the junior drove in three runs.
TAKING THREE-STRAIGHT: With the series win over Ohio State last weekend, the Hawkeyes have now taken three-straight conference series’. After being swept at Indiana April 17-18, Iowa took two at Michigan, two at Penn State now two vs. Ohio State. The Hawkeyes are 6-3 in the past three weekends in conference play.
IOWA SHUTSOUT SAU: Iowa’s three pitchers in Tuesday’s victory over St. Ambrose combined for a two-hitter and its first shutout of the season. Hawkeye starter Matt Dermody earned his second victory throwing five scoreless innings. The freshman struck out five Fighting Bees, while only allowing one hit, which came one out into the fifth. Senior Michael Jacobs and freshman Ricky Sandquist combined to throw four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit the last four innings.
LEE `SAVES’ TWO: In game one of a three-game series against Ohio State last weekend Kevin Lee notched his ninth save. With the bases loaded and only one out in the top of the ninth, and a hot hitting Zach Hurley at the plate for the Buckeyes, Lee got Hurley to hit a liner to Lee at shortstop who flipped to second for the game-ending double play. Lee earned his 10th save of the season in Saturday’s victory, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth.
Z-ROB EARNS TWO WINS: Southpaw reliever Zach Robertson, who picked up the win in game one of the seies, picked up his team-best sixth win of the season, tossing one and one-third innings allowing no hits or runs in game two.
WILLS GUNS `EM OUT: Junior Trevor Willis boasted strong defense the past few weeks, but has remained constant in gunning people out; whether it be at second, third or home. The junior has six assists to lead the Big Ten this season and is tied for 28th nationally. Last weekend against Ohio State, Willis threw out Michael Stephens at the plate to get the final out of the fifth inning and cut Iowa’s damages to only a pair of runs.
HAWKEYES SWING IT: Mike McQuillan is currently on a team season-best 15-game hit streak. The sophomore also leads the Hawkeyes with 22 multi-hit games, followed by Kurtis Muller and Ryan Durant both with 20. Durant leads the way with 11 multi-RBI games and McCool has collected eight.
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. The junior also ranks in triples (2nd), and stolen bases (6th). Ryan Durant is first in sacrifice flies and seventh in doubles and Zach McCool ranks first in sacrifice bunts. Ace Jarred Hippen ranks in batters struck out looking (1st), innings pitched (3rd) and ERA (7th), Kevin Lee rankssecond in saves.
DURANT SOLID IN BIG TEN: Iowa’s cleanup hitter, Ryan Durant has hit a solid .388 in conference play. He leads the team with 12 doubles, 18 RBI and a .538 slugging percentage. Durant ranks in the Big Ten, in conference games only, in doubles (1st), sacrifice flies (1st) and sacrifice bunts (1st.).
ALL-TIME SERIES: Iowa leads the all-time series with Purdue, 81-62-1. The Hawkeyes took the Friday night game from Matt Bischoff and the Boilermmakers last season, however fell the last two games to lose the series. Iowa slugged past the Purdue Boilermakers, 15-7, in the weekend series opener Friday afternoon at Lambert Field. Iowa plated 15 runs, five each in the second and ninth innings, on 18 hits en route to its 11th overall and second Big Ten triumph. The offensive output was Iowa’s second-highest scoring and hitting performance of the season. The Hawkeyes scored 25 runs on 25 hits at Tennessee-Martin earlier this season.