May 24, 2010
THE SETTING:After finishing the season with a series sweep and clinching a Big Ten Tournament berth after tying for third place, the fourth-seeded Hawkeyes travel to Columbus, OH, to take on the fifth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers for the fourth-straight game on Wednesday afternoon at 11:05 a.m. (CDT). The tournament bid is the third under Head Coach Jack Dahm in his seven-year tenure and first since 2007. Iowa won seven of its last eight conference games to finish the regular season. Furthermore, the Hawkeyes won four of their last five Big Ten series’, capturing sets over Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State (2-1) and Purdue (3-0).
ON THE NET: Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes with live stats (gametracker) on hawkeyesports.com. Just click on the GT link found on both the front page and the baseball schedule page. Whistlin’ Ray Gilmore is in his 33rd season with the Hawkeye baseball program and will be posting the stats.
ON THE RADIO: Hawkeye fans can listen to every tournament game on AM-800 KXIC and hawkeyesports.com. The voice of the Hawkeyes, Brent Balbinot will handle the play-by-play.
ON THE TUBE: All Big Ten Tournament games will be televised on the Big Ten Network (HD). Games on Wednesday and Thursday will feature play-by-play by Brent Stover with color by former Hawkeye Danan Hughes. Brian Barnhart and Scott Pose will call Thursday as well, and on Friday.
SCOUTING PURDUE: Purdue finished the regular season 31-22 and 12-12 in Big Ten Play. The Boilermakers were handed their first conference sweep in Iowa City last weekend. Kevin Plawecki and Cameron Perkins had strong bats in the three-game series. The Hawkeyes hit .345 off the Purdue pitching staff last weekend. The Boilermakers amassed an 8.25 ERA and allowed 10 extra base hits. Ace Matt Bischoff leads the pitching staff. The righty has a team-best 3.45 ERA and averages just over a strikeout an inning.
IOWA VS BISCHOFF: Iowa has had success against the ace the last three years. Last Friday in Iowa City, Bischoff got the loss, his first conference defeat and only his second overall loss on the season. The righty allowed four earned runs on nine hits, a walk, while striking out four. In 2009, 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.
BRINGIN’ OUT THE BROOMS: The series sweep against Purdue last weekend was Iowa’s only three-game Big Ten sweep of the season and first since 2007 (vs. Indiana). It also was the first Hawkeye sweep to end the regular season since 1980 (vs. Michigan State in a two-game series).
TAKING FOUR OF FIVE: With the series win over Purdue last weekend, the Hawkeyes finished the season taking three straight conference series’ and four of the their last five. After being swept at Indiana April 17-18, Iowa took two at Michigan, two at Penn State, two vs. Ohio State and three against Purdue. The Hawkeyes boasted a 9-3 record in the final three weekends of conference play.
GOING YARD: The Hawkeyes connected with six homers in the three-game series against Purdue last weekend. Both Kurtis Muller and Trevor Willis blasted a pair, with Ryan Durant and Tyson Blaser each collecting one. Willis had two in the series opener, a team game-high this year. Blaser’s bomb registered as the redshirt juniors first of his career. Iowa is a perfect 6-0 on the year with two or more homers hit in a game.
MULLER GETS WHITE-HOT: Junior Kurtis Muller saw the ball well last weekend against Purdue. The leadoff hitter went 10-for-14 (.714) with two doubles, two homers, three stolen bases, five runs scored and six RBI to lead Iowa to a series sweep. The center fielder is currently on a six-game hit streak and leads the team in 10 statistical categories, including: at bats (198), runs (49), hits (76), triples (6), slugging percentage (.556), walks (21), hit by pitches (21), on base percentage (.458), stolen bases (24) and fielding percentage (1.000%).
Z-ROB DOMINATES BIG TEN: Go-to reliever Zach Robertson leads the pitching staff in the conference. The southpaw boasts a team-low 2.45 ERA, a team-most 13 appearances, as well as a perfect 4-0 record and one save. He has struck out 24 Big Ten opponents in 22 innings of work and averages over two strikeouts per walk. Robertson recorded his first career save against Purdue in game two of the series last Friday.
HIPPEN COMPLETES FOURTH: Sophomore Jarred Hippen threw his conference -best fourth complete Big Ten game and earned his fifth win in game one of a doubleheader against Purdue last Friday. Hippen outdueled Matt Bischoff in the contest, allowing the Boilermakers only two runs on five hits with two walks and a career-best nine strikeouts. All four complete games have been in conference play and all have resulted in a win. Hippen’s third complete game of the season was game one of a doubleheader against Minnesota on May 1. It was the southpaw’s second-consecutive complete game. He allowed only four runs, three earned, on 10 hits wiwth seven strikeouts and issued no walks. In his second 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.
SOLID HAWKEYE DEFENSE: Iowa has played strong defense in recent weeks. In fact, in three of the Hawkeyes’ past four games, they have been perfect — committing no errors.
LEE MAKES THE BOOKS: Closer Kevin Lee notched his 11th save of the season in one and two-thid innings pitched in Iowa’s 12-9 victory over Purdue Saturday afternoon. Lee’s 11 saves in a season is a school single-game record. Lee allowed three baserunners, allowing one hit and walking too– however struck out two including a called strikeout to end the game.
DAHM AT BIG TEN TOURN: This trip to the Big Ten Tournament is Iowa’s third under Head Coach Jack Dahm. After taking the helm in July 2003, Dahm has taken teams to the tournament in 2005 and 2007. He is still looking for a tournament win. In 2005, Iowa fell to Minnesota 14-7 and Michigan 8-6. In 2007, the Hawkeyes lost to Illinois 12-3 and Penn State 5-3.
IOWA FINISHES IN THIRD: The Hawkeyes finished the Big Ten season tied for third with Northwestern. The third place finish is the highest for Iowa, since 2005. In 2005, Iowa finished 19-13 in Big Ten play.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Iowa leads the all-time series over Purdue, 84-62-1. The Hawkeyes have now taken two-straight Friday night games from ace Matt Bischoff. Iowa took three last weekend however, only picked up one win out of three in 2009. In 2009, 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.
IOWA AT BIG TEN TOURNAMENT: The Hawkeyes’ bid to the conference tournament marks only the eighth time in school history, the least appearances of any Big Ten school. The highest Iowa has ever finished was second in 1983 under Duane Banks. The Black and Gold have a 4-14 (.222) record at the tournament collectively and have appeared in the tournament in: 1983, 1987, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2005 and 2007. Iowa’s highest finish at the tournament is second (1983). Iowa’s last tournament victory came in 1990 when the Hawkeyes beat Ohio State (6-4) in Iowa City. Iowa is 1-4 all-time in Big Ten Tournament games against Michigan, 1-1 vs. Minnesota, 0-1 vs. Purdue and Indiana. The Hawkeyes lost 4-0 to Purdue in 1987 in Ann Arbor.
HAWKEYES SUCCESSFUL VS ACES: Iowa picked up wins against the Big Ten’s most dominant pitchers: Friday night starters. Iowa has defeated Purdue’s Matt Bischoff (7-2), Minnesota’s Seth Rosin (11-4), Michigan’s Alan Oaks (5-2) and Michigan State’s AJ Achter. Having not faced Ohio State ace Alex Wimmers — Iowa was five for eight against aces in the conference.
SITUATIONALLY SPEAKING: Ryan Durant is hitting a solid .373 against southpaw pitchers. While Mike McQuillan is hitting .406 off of rightys. Kurtis Muller is cool under pressure, hitting .490 with two outs. The leadoff leads the team with 20 two-out RBI, followed by Durant with 15. Zach Robertson has been dominant against lefties, who are hitting a mere .108 against him. Opponents are hitting .215 with two outs against Nick Brown and Jarred Hippen paces the pitching staff with eight batters who have grounded into double plays. The trio are all averaging over two strikeouts per walk to lead Iowa.
BROWN PICKS UP FIFTH: Sophomore Nick Brown threw a solid six and two-third innings to clinch a doubleheader sweep over the Boilermakers last weekend. The power pitcher picked up his fifth win of the season, fourth in the conference, allowing only one run on seven hits with four striekouts.
IOWA VS TOURNEY TEAMS: The Big Ten Tournament features the top six teams of the 10-team conference. Bids to the conference tournament came down to the wire this season, being decided in the final day of Big Ten Play. The playing field includes: Minnesota, Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue and Indiana. Iowa fell to No. 1 seeded Minnesota at home, winning only the Friday night game and dropping the last two. The lone win was sophomore Jarred Hippen’s third complete game. Golden Gopher ace Seth Rosin went five innings and got the loss. He allowed eight earned runs on nine hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The Hawkeyes won the series at No. 2 seed Michigan, taking the first two of the three games. Hippen registered his second complete game and both him and starter Nick Brown held the Wolverine offense to only two runs in each win. Northwestern and Iowa did not compete this season. The Black and Gold swept No. 5 seed Purdue to conclude the regular season in Iowa City. Hippen recorded his fourth complete game and Iowa’s offense was paced by junior Kutis Muller. The leadoff went 10-for-14 with six RBI on two doubles and two homers. The Hawkeyes were swept at No. 6 Indiana. Despite losing all three games, Iowa kept it close in game one and went into extras in the second contest.
BASE PATH THEIEVES: Last weekend, Hawkeye baserunners stole ten bases from the Boilermakers. Juniors Kurtis Muller and Zach McCool led the way, each going a perfect 3-for-3. Four other Hawkeyes recorded a stolen bag.
KENYON PROVIDES RELIEF: Junior Zach Kenyon has been solid out of the bullpen for Iowa in the long relief role. The hurler went four and one-third innings allowing only one run on four hits with four Ks in Iowa’s Saturday victory over Purdue.
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 ranks in the top 50 in the country.
STREAKIN’ HAWKEYES: Sophomore Mike McQuillan’s team season-high16-game hit streak snapped last weekend against Purdue. But junior Zach McCool currently is on an 11-game hit streak. Both junior Kurtis Muller and McQuillan lead the team with 23 multi-hit contests, followed by senior Ryan Durant with 21. Durant leads the team with 12 multi-RBI games, with Muller and McCool tied for second with nine.
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 triple (second), stole bases (third), bastting average (fifth), on base percentage (fifth) and hits (eighth). Ryan Durant is second 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 (third) and ERA (sixth), Kevin Lee ranks second in saves. Zach Robertson ranks fifth in wins.
DURANT SOLID IN BIG TEN: Iowa’s cleanup hitter, Ryan Durant has hit a solid .359 in conference play. He leads the team with 12 doubles, 20 RBI and a .522 slugging percentage. Durant ranks in the Big Ten, in conference games only, in doubles (first), sacrifice flies (first) and sacrifice bunts (third).
FROSH SWINGS IT: Freshman Mike Corbeil has become a regular in the Hawkeye lineup, filling the DH role. Against Purdue, the lefty went 3-for-8 with a double, walk, run scored and RBI. On the season, Corbeil boasts a .311 batting average with 14 RBI, four doubles, a .405 slugging percentage and two sacrifice flys. He leads all freshman in those statistical categories.