Hawkeyes Travel To Mississippi State

March 2, 2011

Complete Release

Iowa travels to Starkville, Miss., this week to compete against Georgia State and Mississippi State. The Hawkeyes play two games Friday against Georgia State (12:30 p.m.) and Mississippi State (4:30 p.m.). Saturday, Iowa and Mississippi State play at 4 p.m., and in the final game of the weekend, Iowa faces Georgia State Sunday at 11 a.m. All games will take place at Dudy Noble Field, Mississippi State’s home venue.

Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes with live stats (gametracker) on hawkeyesports.com. Click on the GT link found on both the front page and the baseball schedule page. Whistlin’ Ray Gilmore is in his 34th season with the Hawkeye baseball program and will be posting the stats.

Iowa competed in the Jayhawk Classic this past weekend in Lawrence, Kan. After the first two days of competition were cancelled due to weather, the Hawkeyes played twice Monday. Iowa defeated Southern Utah in the first game, 8-3. A strong combination of pitching, hitting and defense propelled the Hawkeyes to their first win. Iowa gave up only three runs on five hits, committed no errors, and tied a season high with 10 hits. Iowa lost the doubleheader nightcap, 5-2, to Kansas.

Iowa plays a double-header Friday. It is one of three doubleheaders for the Hawkeyes this season. Iowa will play two games Friday against Georgia State at 12:30 p.m. and Mississippi State at 4:30 p.m. The Hawkeyes played Southern Utah (W, 8-3) and Kansas (L, 2-5) last Monday. In addition, Iowa is scheduled to play Notre Dame and Gonzaga March 18 in San Antonio, Texas.

Georgia State, led by fifth-year head coach Greg Frady, is 7-1. The Panthers have played Texas Southern (3-0), Mercer (1-0) and Western Illinois (3-1) this year. This is the first meeting between the two schools.

Mississippi State, led by third-year head coach John Cohen, is 8-1. The Bulldogs have played Akron (2-0), Lamar (2-0), Northwestern State (1-0), Belmont (2-1) and Alcorn State (1-0) to date. Iowa is 1-4 all-time against Mississippi State.

Tyson Blaser is enjoying success behind the dish in 2011. The senior has thrown out seven base runners in five games. He gunned down 13 all of last year.

Bryan Niedbalski got his first career start Monday in the 8-3 win over Southern Utah. The freshman went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and an RBI.

The Hawkeyes have enjoyed solid pitching to start the 2011 campaign. Iowa owns a team ERA of 3.20 and three Hawkeyes (Tim Fangman, Kevin Lee, and Patrick Lala) have yet to surrender an earned run.

The Hawkeyes have been picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten by conference coaches and Perfect Game USA, an online baseball publication. Three Hawkeyes have been named to the `Players to Watch List’: SP Jarred Hippen, RP Kevin Lee and 3B Zach McCool.

The Hawkeyes finished the 2010 Big Ten season tied for third with Northwestern (13-11). The third place finish marked the highest for Iowa, since 2005. In 2005, Iowa finished 19-13 in Big Ten play.

Junior Kurtis Muller was selected in the Major League baseball 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Muller was chosen by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round (667th pick). Senior Zach Robertson was picked by the Florida Marlins in the 30th round (917th pick), incoming recruit Patrick Lala was selected in the 29th round (891) by the Philadelphia Phillies, senior Patrick Schatz was picked by the Chicago White Sox in the 49th round (1,478th pick) and incoming recruit Taylor Zeutenhorst was selected in the 41st round by the Phillies (1,251st pick). Lala and Zeutenhorst did not sign professional contracts and are on Iowa’s 2011 roster. However, Muller did sign a contract and will forgo his senior year of eligibility. Under Jack Dahm, 22 Hawkeyes have been drafted. Sixteen players have been drafted in the past four years.

The Hawkeyes return 21 lettermen from a team that won 11 of its last 14 games in 2010 and finished third in the Big Ten regular season and second in the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa returns seven starters and 10 pitchers. Iowa will look to replace starting outfielders Kurtis Muller (CF) and Ryan Durant (RF). The Hawkeyes boast one of the deepest pitching staffs in the Big Ten, returning a number of veterans. In addition to the 21 returnees, the Hawkeyes will welcome 10 talented newcomers. A number of the newcomers could see action this season including LHP Patrick Lala, SS Kasey Carling, UT Taylor Zeutenhorst, RHP Tim Fangman and OF Kyle Haen.

Iowa won four of its final five three-game series, including sweeping Purdue in the final three games of the regular season to finish third in the Big Ten, its highest finish since 2005. Iowa carried that momentum into the Big Ten Tournament a week later in Columbus, Ohio. The Hawkeyes bounced Purdue from the six-team tournament with two victories over the Boilermakers and rallied from a seven-run deficit to stun second-seeded Michigan in the semifinals. Iowa reached the championship game for the first time since 1983. The Hawkeyes ultimately fell to the well-rested and top-seeded Minnesota team in the title game.

Iowa’s run in the 2010 Big Ten Tournament garnered individual accolades for two Hawkeyes. Centerfielder Kurtis Muller, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the June MLB Draft, and starting pitcher Jarred Hippen, were named to the all-tournament team. Muller set the tournament record for most stolen bases (6). He also tied the individual tournament game record for most thefts (3) against Purdue. Hippen earned Iowa’s first tournament win since 1990, going seven and one-third innings, striking out five and no walks against Purdue.

Hawkeye fans can purchase 2011 Iowa baseball season tickets now. Fans can reserve their own chair backs for the 2011 season by calling the UI Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-IA-HAWKS. Reserved chair back season tickets are available for $25, while general admission season tickets are $15.

The Hawkeyes were 11-1 with the lead after five innings in Big Ten games in 2010. In overall games, Iowa boasted a 24-3 record. With the lead in the eighth inning, Iowa was a perfect 13-0 in conference play and 28-0 overall. When Iowa’s offense generated six or more runs for its pitchers the Hawkeyes were 21-8. Closer Kevin Lee slammed the door on the opposition, collecting an Iowa single-season record 13 saves, a total that ranked seventh best in the country. He also was credited with two victories. Only one closer returns from last year who had more saves than Lee (Portland’s Chris Dennis — 14).

Zach McCool tied yet another school record in 2010. McCool laced two consecutive triples in Iowa’s victory over Western Illinois on April 6. The last time that was done was in 1999 by Brian Burks. McCool tied another individual-game record earlier in 2010. He went 5-for-6 from the leadoff spot for Iowa in its series finale against Michigan State. McCool’s five hits ties a single-game school record, last achieved by former Hawkeye standout Justin Toole in 2008.

Trevor Willis boasted strong defense in 2010 in left field, gunning runners out; whether it be at second, third or home. Willis had eight assists to lead the Big Ten and rank in the top 50 in the country. After playing last season in left field, the senior will shift over to centerfield, replacing Muller, who left after his junior season for the major leagues. Redshirt sophomore Andrew Host will likely replace graduating senior Ryan Durant in right field. Host played in 42 games, starting 17, last season.

Redshirt senior Tyson Blaser, senior Zach McCool, junior Andrew Ewing, and sophomores Patrick Brennan, Patrick Harshman and Ricky Sandquist comprise Iowa’s 2011 Unity Council.

Every year the UI Athletics Department continues to upgrade Duane Banks Field. In 2010, the Hawkeyes added 500 chair back seats behind home plate. The chair backs allow Hawkeye fans to purchase season tickets. This past fall, Duane Banks Field underwent a facelift, with a complete resurfacing of the field. New sod, dirt and drainage system were installed. Additionally, new batting cages were put in place down the right field line. In 2009, the UI Recreation Building underwent a complete makeover. Improvements included: a new locker room, lounge, training room and weight room for the baseball program. Iowa boasted a 15-6 home record at Duane Banks Field in 2010.

Jarred Hippen, who was a second team all-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Tournament team honoree a year ago, returns for his junior season. Hippen has been Iowa’s ace since his freshman campaign. A year ago, Hippen started 15 games. He led the team in ERA (3.71) strikeouts (71) and complete games (4). All four complete games, which resulted in wins, came during conference play (Purdue, Minnesota, Michigan and Michigan State). Other Hawkeye starters returning include Nick Brown, Matt Dermody and Zach Kenyon. Brown is a two-year starter while Dermody started seven games a year ago as a freshman. Kenyon was a primarily a starter his first two years, but only started four contests in 2010. Kenyon mainly saw action in middle relief last season.

Jarred Hippen, who was named to the All-Big Ten Tournament team last year, was named College Baseball Daily’s preseason Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. He was also named to Perfect Game USA’s and Baseball America’s preseason all-conference teams. Hippen, a junior left-hander, started 15 games in 2010 en route to second team All-Big Ten honors. He finished 6-4 and led the team with a 3.71 ERA and 99.1 innings pitched.

Kevin Lee, a senior righty, was named to the watch list for the annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. He is one of three Big Ten closers named to the list. The Oak Lawn, Ill., native notched a school-record 13 saves last year. He appeared in 21 games, winning two, while recording a 5.75 ERA. Lee tallied 14 strikeouts in 20.1 innings last year. Lee came out of the ninth with a win or save in every save opportunity he was given.

The Hawkeyes will appear on the Big Ten Network at least three times during the 2011 regular season. Iowa’s game at Illinois at 6 p.m. on April 9 will be televised. In addition, two home games will be shown. The Hawkeyes’ game against Indiana on April 15 (6 p.m.) will be televised, as well as their game versus Penn State on May 7 (2 p.m.). The Big Ten Network will also televise the Big Ten Tournament.

Up-to-date head shots of all Iowa players and coaches are available on the internet at pics.hawkeyebaseball.com. Contact the Iowa Sports Information office if you are in need of additional photos.

Head Coach Jack Dahm is assisted by coach Ryan Brownlee and coach Chris Maliszewski, along with volunteer coach Zach Dillon. Over the past 10 seasons, 25 players coached or recruited by Brownlee have been drafted; two more signed free agent contracts. In the past two years, Kurtis Muller, Patrick Schatz, Steve Turnbull, Kyle Heim, Mike Schurz and recruits Matt Dermody, Dan Sheppard, Patrick Lala and Taylor Zeutenhorst were drafted by major league teams. In six years of coaching summer collegiate leagues, he has seen 33 of his players sign pro contracts, including Khalil Green and Joe Thatcher of the Padres, Kevin Cash of the Yankees, Dan Meyer of the Marlins and Luke Scott of the Astros. Last season, the hitting coach preached a `pitch-by-pitch’ approach at the plate that helped propel the Hawkeyes to 11 wins in their final 14 contests; the team eventually finished 30-28. Iowa finished third in the conference and ultimately placed second at the Big Ten Tournament. The tournament berth was the eighth in school history. The Hawkeyes won three games at the tournament, which was the first time an Iowa team had won any game since 1990. The runner up finish in the conference tournament tied the school’s highest finish, which was accomplished once before (1983).

Maliszewski is in his third season as the Hawkeye pitching coach. In addition to his role as pitching coach, Maliszewski is also responsible for the team’s travel arrangements and assists with the youth summer camps. In 2010, Maliszewski and his pitching staff helped propel Iowa to a third place finish in the conference, as well as earning the school’s eighth Big Ten Tournament appearance. The Hawkeyes finished as the runner-up in the tournament after winning three games — the first tournament wins for Iowa since 1990. Maliszewski mentored his young pitching staff to improved numbers in his second campaign. Under his tutelage, the Hawkeyes posted improved numbers in wins, ERA, saves, walks, wild pitches and opposing batting average. Iowa’s talented arms helped the Hawkeyes to a late surge, winning 11 of their last 14 games. Individually, pitcher Jarred Hippen was named to the all-tournament team, as well as garnering second team all-league accolades. In addition to Hippen’s accomplishments, closer Kevin Lee broke the school single-season record with 13 saves – nearly double the saves Iowa had as a team in 2009.