Iowa Travels to Illinois This Weekend

April 7, 2011

Iowa (11-15, 1-2) at Illinois (9-14, 1-2)
Dates Friday, April 8 – Sunday, April 10
Location Champaign, Illinois | Illinois Field
Statistics Illinois | Iowa
Media Coverage
Television Saturday’s game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network (HD)
Video Video of all Sunday’s game available for purchase at
Radio Live broadcasts of all three games available for purchase at
Live Stats Gametracker of all three games at
Game 1
Date | Time Friday, April 8 | 6:05 p.m.
Pitching Matchup IOWA: Jr. LHP Jarred Hippen (1-3, 3.51 ERA) vs.
ILL: So. RHP Kevin Johnson (1-3, 3.56 ERA)
Game 2
Date | Time Saturday, April 9 | 6:05 p.m. (BTN)
Pitching Matchup IOWA: Jr. RHP Nick Brown (3-2, 2.85 ERA) vs.
ILL: Sr. LHP John Anderson (3-2, 3.41 ERA)
Game 3
Date | Time Sunday, April 10 | 1:05 p.m. (
Pitching Matchup IOWA: So. LHP Matt Dermody (2-3, 5.89 ERA) vs.
ILL: Jr. LHP Corey Kimes (1-3, 6.67 ERA)

Complete Release

Iowa continues Big Ten conference play Friday when it travels to Illinois for a three-game set. First pitch of game one of the series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Illinois Field. The Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini will also play Saturday at 6:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes with live stats (gametracker) on 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.

Saturday’s contest will be televised live by the Big Ten Network (HD). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. It is Iowa’s first of three scheduled regular-season Big Ten Network telecasts this year. Brian Barnhart and Gerry Kindall will call the action. Sunday’s contest can be seen on, with Spencer Turkin and Jacob Bleyer calling the action.

Fans can catch this weekend’s three-game series at Illinois online at The radio voice of the Iowa baseball team, Brent Balbinot, will call the action.

Iowa won its second straight game Wednesday night, defeating Coe College at Duane Banks Field, 14-1. Eleven Hawkeyes recorded hits in the victory. Three (Phil Keppler, Keith Brand, Kyle Haen) recorded multiple hits and three (Keppler, Brand, Zach McCool) collected multiple RBIs. Keppler, went 3-for-4, with a game-high four RBIs and a home run. The four RBIs equal a career high. Brand went 2-for-5 with two RBIs while McCool also notched two RBIs. Haen, a freshman, recorded his first career RBI.

Ricky Sandquist earned his first career Hawkeye victory in the 14-1 win over Coe College. The sophomore starter pitched six strong innings, yielding only one run on five hits. He struck out three Kohawks. Zach Kenyon, Kevin Lee, and Keppler pitched scoreless seventh, eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to close out the win for Iowa. Kenyon, one of the Hawkeyes’ most relied upon relievers, came back from injury to pitch for the first time since March 13.

The Hawkeyes opened Big Ten conference action last weekend against Michigan State at Duane Banks Field. Iowa dropped the first two games of the series, 7-2 on Friday, and 7-1 on Saturday. The Hawkeyes routed the Spartans Sunday, 19-7. Six Hawkeyes (Kurt Lee, Mike McQuillan, Tyson Blaser, Phil Keppler, Trevor Willis, Chett Zeise) recorded multi-hit games and five (McQuillan, Blaser, Keppler, Zeise, Keith Brand) collected multiple RBI games. Sophomore starter Matt Dermody earned his second win of the year.

Iowa tallied 19 runs Sunday in its win over Michigan State (19-7). The Hawkeyes recorded season highs in runs and hits (17). Iowa tallied 10 runs in the seventh inning, earning its first conference win of the year. The Hawkeyes’ previous high in runs this season was 11 and in hits was 16. The 19 runs mark the most the Hawkeyes have scored since defeating Illinois State in last year’s season opener, 19-11. It also marks the most runs Iowa has scored against a conference opponent since defeating Wisconsin in 1989, 22-3.

The Hawkeyes have scored 33 runs over their last two games and pounded out 32 hits. The 33 runs mark the most Iowa has scored over two games since the 2009 season when it tallied 35 runs in back-to-back wins over Tennessee-Martin (25-6) and Austin Peay (10-3).

Iowa has used the big inning to score its runs in the last two games. Each run has been scored during innings where the Hawkeyes have scored at least three runs. Iowa has scored as least three runs in an inning eight times over the last two games. During the two wins, the Black and Gold have tallied five three-run innings, two four-run innings, and one 10-run inning. The last time the Hawkeyes scored 10 or more runs in an inning was 1997. Iowa tallied 11 runs in the second inning of an 18-0 win over Truman State.

The Hawkeyes’ strength of schedule is ranked 54th nationally by The number ranks highest in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes are 3-5 as the home team, 3-3 as the visiting team and 5-7 at neutral sites. Iowa owns a 1-2 conference record.

Illinois, led by fifth-year head coach Dan Hartleb, is 9-14 overall and 1-2 in Big Ten play. The Fighting Illini are 2-1 at home. Illinois has lost four-straight contests (Penn State, 3-1, Penn State, 13-4, Bradley, 7-4, Benedictine-Springfield, 8-6). The Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini have played two common opponents. Both teams fell to Pittsburgh and West Virginia in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge to open the season.

Iowa and Illinois have met 203 times. The Hawkeyes have only played two other opponents more (Minnesota – 277, Northwestern – 226). Iowa is 81-120-2 all-time against Illinois.

The Hawkeyes (11-15, 1-2) entered last year’s series with nearly the same record as this season’s. Iowa was 10-15 overall and 1-2 in conference play a year ago. The Hawkeyes took two-of-three from Illinois at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City. Iowa fell in game one, 9-8, before winning the final two. The Hawkeyes outhit the Fighting Illini in game two, 10-8, and used a strong outing from Nick Brown to even up the series with a 6-4 win. Iowa again outhit Illinois in the series finale, winning 4-2.

Hawkeye catcher Tyson Blaser recorded his first career home run last season in the regular-season finale against Purdue on May 22. This past Sunday, in the 19-7 win over Michigan State, the fifth-year senior tallied his first career triple, giving him a cycle for his career. The Taylor Ridge, Ill., native has 30 career doubles to go along with his home run and triple.

The Hawkeyes have enjoyed success in close games. Iowa is 5-2 in one-run decisions thus far. The Hawkeyes have claimed four of their last five overall in the close contests.

Ten Hawkeyes, Mike McQuillan (10), Trevor Willis (eight), Tyson Blaser (seven), Chett Zeise (six), Zach McCool (five), Andrew Ewing (five), Bryan Niedbalski (four), Kurt Lee (four), Phil Keppler (three) and Keith Brand (two) have recorded multiple multi-hit games this year. Eight have notched at least one game where they recorded three or more hits. Willis and Blaser have reached the four hit mark, with Willis accomplishing the feat twice.

The Hawkeyes have enjoyed success this season when notching more hits than their opponents. The Black and Gold are 8-2 when outhitting their opponents. Iowa has outhit its opponents in each of its last two contests, both wins. The Hawkeyes have totaled 32 hits combined in the two games.

Mike McQuillan enjoyed a 10-game hitting streak earlier this year. His streak ended March 18 against Gonzaga. That is the longest for Iowa in 2011, followed by Kurt Lee and Tyson Blaser at seven games and Trevor Willis at six. Entering the weekend, Tyson Blaser’s streak is active at seven games. Keith Brand and Bryan Niedbalski own four-game streaks.

During Blaser’s current seven-game hit streak, the senior is hitting .379 with a walk, two hit-by-pitches and three doubles. Seven Hawkeyes are hitting over .300 in the last seven games. Bryan Niedbalski leads the team with a .444 average in the span. Phil Keppler has recorded six RBIs, while Chett Zeise and Keith Brand have tallied five. Keppler launched his first home run of the season Wednesday night in the win over Coe College. In addition, the Hawkeyes are 9-of-11 in stolen base attempts.

Keith Brand did not see action in 2010. In 2011, the sophomore is currently leading the team in batting average (.323). The walk-on has nine RBIs.

Iowa owns a 9-1 record when leading after six innings.

Trevor Willis has tallied five triples in 2011, exceeding his total of four from a year ago. The senior had recorded eight total entering this year. The five triples this season ranks fifth most nationally.

Iowa has laid down 44 sacrifice bunts this season; the fifth most nationally. Zach McCool ranks ninth nationally with nine sacrifices.

Tyson Blaser is enjoying success behind the dish in 2011. The senior has thrown out 11 base runners. He gunned down 13 all of last year. Sophomore Keith Brand has thrown out six.

Patrick Lala has stepped into the closer role for Iowa. The junior college transfer recorded his first career Hawkeye save Sunday. The Marion, Iowa, native pitched four innings, allowing two runs and two hits. He struck out four Spartans. Lala leads Iowa with a 1.37 ERA in 10 appearances.

Iowa was shorthanded in relief March 29 when its game against South Dakota State went 14 innings. Senior Jeff Pacha and junior Phil Keppler stepped up and gave career best performances on the hill. Pacha threw a career-high four innings in the 14 inning contest, striking out four Jackrabbits. Keppler pitched a career-high three and two-thirds the following day, while striking out four.

Senior Tyson Blaser has been named to the 2011 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award Watch List. The annual award is to honor those athletes that serve as a team’s starting catcher in at least 75% of the games. The watch list will be narrowed down to ten semifinalists May 19. The finalists will be announced June 6. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. The winner will be announced at the 14th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 30, 2011, in Wichita, Kan.

Hawkeye pitcher Nick Brown was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week March 21. The junior earned Pitcher of the Week accolades for the first time in his career after leading Iowa to an 11-2 win over Notre Dame last March 18. The starter tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits without issuing a walk. The right-hander also struck out three en route to his second win of the season. Brown is Iowa’s first pitcher to earn the conference weekly honor since Brock Alberts on March 3, 2008.

The Hawkeyes beat Notre Dame March 17, 4-3, in ten innings in the first game of the Irish Classic. The win marked the first time a team defeated Notre Dame on St. Patrick’s Day in five years. The last team to top the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day was the Hawkeyes in 2006, also in San Antonio.

Iowa won at Mississippi State March 4 (5-3) and March 5 (7-6). The two victories over Mississippi State marked the first time in the program’s history that the Hawkeyes collected two wins against an SEC opponent in the same year. The Bulldogs are 19-6.

Zach Kenyon notched his first victory of the year in the 5-3 win over Mississippi State March 4. In the bottom of the sixth, Kenyon accomplished a rare feat. The senior righty struck out four batters. The third hitter struck out swinging, but reached on a wild pitch. Kenyon then got the next batter to strike out swinging. He recorded a career-high eight strikeouts in four innings.

Senior Trevor Willis was named Big Ten Player of the Week March 7 after recording three multi-hit games in four contests with Georgia State and Mississippi State. Willis posted back-to-back four-hit contests against the Bulldogs, leading Iowa to the series sweep. The four hits marked a career high for Willis. He also went 2-for-4 in the weekend finale, a 3-2 walk-off victory against the Panthers. The native of Lockport, Ill., scored six runs in four games, touching home twice in each of Iowa’s last three games, and drove in a run. The center fielder slugged a triple and went 3-for-4 on the base paths, including two steals in Sunday’s game and a swipe of home on Saturday. For the week, Willis batted .647, with a .667 on base percentage, and slugged at a .765 clip for an OPS of 1.432. The weekly honor is the first for Willis.

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.

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.

In the 7-6 victory against Mississippi State March 5, the Hawkeyes added another rare feat. Senior Trevor Willis led off the fourth with a single to center. With two outs and Willis on third base, senior Tyson Blaser drew a walk. The senior duo then executed the perfect double steal, with Willis stealing home. The last time an Iowa player stole home was March 23, 2007. Jason White accomplished the feat in a 6-5 against North Dakota State.

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.

Big Ten Network television coverage of 2011 Big Ten baseball and softball begins on Sunday with a doubleheader of action and the premiere of Big Ten Diamond Report, the network’s new weekly studio show. Big Ten Diamond Report will review the sports’ top headlines, preview upcoming matchups and look at national storylines affecting the Big Ten. Mike Hall and Rick Pizzo host the show along with former Hawkeye pitcher and major leaguer Cal Eldred and Tammy Williams, Northwestern’s former two-time Big Ten Softball Player of the Year. The show will air each Sunday during the spring through the end of the Big Ten baseball and softball seasons with expert analysis, player and coach interviews, features and exclusive access inside the diamond.

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.

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

The Hawkeyes will appear on the Big Ten Network at least three times during the 2011 regular season. Iowa’s game at Illinois Saturday 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.

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.

Iowa will play one midweek game next week, hosting Kansas on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes will travel to Bloomington, Ind., next weekend to compete against Indiana in a three-game series.