Hawkeyes Travel North to Face Gophers

April 28, 2011

Iowa (15-23, 4-8) vs. Minnesota (14-16, 6-6)
Dates Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 1
Location Minneapolis, Minn. | Target Field
Statistics Minnesota | Iowa
Media Coverage
Radio Live broadcasts of all three games available for purchase at hawkeyesports.com
Live Stats Gametracker of all three games at hawkeyesports.com
Game 1
Date | Time Friday, April 29 | 3:05 p.m.
Pitching Matchup IOWA: Jr. LHP Jarred Hippen (2-4, 3.68 ERA) vs.
MICH: So. RHP T.J. Oakes (3-4, 3.81 ERA)
Game 2
Date | Time Saturday, April 30 | 1:05 p.m.
Pitching Matchup IOWA: So. LHP Matt Dermody (4-4, 4.26 ERA) vs.
MICH: Sr. LHP Phil Isaksson (2-4, 3.12 ERA)
Game 3
Date | Time Sunday, May 1 | 1:05 p.m.
Pitching Matchup IOWA: TBD vs.
MICH: Jr. RHP Austin Lubinsky (3-3, 5.23 ERA)

Complete Release

Iowa returns to Big Ten action this weekend when it travels to Minneapolis, Minn., to play Minnesota in a three-game series at Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. on Friday. The Hawkeyes (15-23, 4-8) and Gophers will also play Saturday and Sunday at 1:05 p.m. each day.

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.

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

The Black and Gold are in the midst of a four-game road swing. Iowa lost at Nebraska Tuesday night, 7-3, before traveling to Minneapolis this weekend. The Hawkeyes are 10-13 away from Duane Banks Field this season. Iowa is 4-6 as the visiting team and 6-7 at neutral sites.

The Hawkeyes have played Minnesota more times than any other opponent. It also marks the most games an Iowa team has played against any opponent in any sport. The Hawkeyes and Gophers have met 277 times, with Minnesota holding a 171-106 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams first met in 1892. Iowa downed the Gophers that year, 5-3. The Hawkeye are 9-20 against the rival from the north under head coach Jack Dahm.

Minnesota is coached by John Anderson. Anderson is in his 30th year. The Gophers are 14-16 overall and 6-6 in Big Ten play. Minnesota is 3-4 in Minneapolis this season. The Gophers swept Indiana on the road last weekend.

Iowa lost two-of-three from Minnesota a year ago in the regular season series. The Black and Gold downed the Maroon and Gold in game one behind a stellar effort by starter Jarred Hippen, 11-4. Hippen tossed his third career complete game in the win, striking out seven while allowing no walks. The Gophers claimed games two and three two earn the series victory. The two teams met in the Big Ten Tournament championship game. Minnesota won the contest, 15-5. Iowa finished second in the tournament, its best finish since 1983.

Target Field is the home venue of the Minnesota Twins. The park opened in 2010. The Gophers are playing a majority of their games at the park this season due to the renovation of their home stadium. Minnesota played the first ever game in the venue. The Gophers lost 9-1 to Louisiana Tech on March 27, 2010.

The Hawkeyes lost at Nebraska Tuesday night, 7-3, at Hawks Field. The Huskers scored the first four runs of the game and held off the Hawkeyes in the late innings to claim the victory. Iowa’s offense recorded nine hits against the future Big Ten conference opponent. Three Hawkeyes collected multi-hit games. Senior Tyson Blaser went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. Freshman Bryan Niedbalski went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and senior Zach McCool finished 2-for-4. Jeff Pacha started for the Hawkeyes, throwing two and a third innings. The senior allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits. He struck out three. Phil Keppler, Ricky Sandquist and Tim Fangman saw action out of the Iowa bullpen.

The Hawkeyes hosted Michigan in a three-game set last weekend, dropping two-of-three to the Wolverines. The Black and Gold defeated Michigan in game one of a doubleheader Saturday, 13-7. Iowa rallied from a six-run deficit to beat the Wolverines. It marked the Hawkeyes’ first Big Ten series opener win of the season and also marked Iowa’s largest comeback victory since erasing a seven-run deficit against Michigan in an 11-8 triumph on May 29, 2010 in the semifinals of last year’s Big Ten Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Iowa scored 11 of its 13 runs in the middle innings (seven in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth). Junior Jarred Hippen earned his second win throwing six and two thirds, allowing seven runs (six earned), while striking out six. The Hawkeyes fell in game two of the doubleheader, 2-1. Despite another sold outing, Iowa pitcher Matt Dermody got his first loss in five starts. Michigan claimed the rubber match Sunday, 5-2.

Matt Dermody had another strong outing in game two of the doubleheader Saturday against Michigan. The sophomore nearly tossed his second straight complete game, throwing eight and two thirds in the 2-1 loss. Dermody allowed two runs on 10 hits, while striking out eight. The Norwalk, Iowa, native had won four-straight decisions entering the game. Dermody has won four games in 2011 (4-4). As a freshman a year ago, Dermody went 3-2.

The Hawkeyes, in the midst of a four-game swing away from home, are 10-13 away from Duane Banks Field this season. Iowa is 4-6 as the visiting team and 6-7 at neutral sites. Including this weekend’s series at Minnesota, three of Iowa’s final four Big Ten series are on the road. The Hawkeyes host Penn State May 6-8, before traveling to Ohio State (May 13-15) and Purdue (May 19-21) to close the regular season.

Mike McQuillan, known as `Q’ by his teammates and coaches, leads Iowa with a .333 batting average. The junior leads the Hawkeyes with 16 multiple hit games, including 12 two-hit outings and four three-hit games. The Evergreen Park, Ill., native trails only Trevor Willis (seven) in multiple RBI games with six. Michigan had trouble retiring the second baseman in the three-game series over the weekend. McQuillan batted .600 (6-10), with a double, a home run and five RBI. He scored three runs and recorded ten total bases while taking three free passes.

Starters Jarred Hippen and Matt Dermody have been providing the Iowa pitching staff with long, quality outings of late. The duo each threw complete games in Iowa’s series with Indiana (April 16-17). This past weekend against Michigan, Hippen pitched six and two thirds in his outing and Dermody threw eight and two thirds. With fellow starter Nick Brown out indefinitely due to injury, this has been crucial for the Hawkeye pitching staff.

Tyson Blaser recorded two doubles against Nebraska Tuesday night in his 3-for-5, two RBI outing. The catcher leads all Hawkeyes with 13 doubles this season. The total ranks fifth in the Big Ten.

The Hawkeyes are averaging just over five runs a game this season, scoring 192 runs in 38 games. Iowa averaged 4.2 runs over the first 24. The Black and Gold are averaging 6.5 runs per game over their last 14 games.

Iowa tallied 19 runs April 3 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 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 scored 33 runs and pounded out 32 hits in their back-to-back wins over Michigan State (April 3) and Coe College (April 6). 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).

The Hawkeyes own a 6-5 record in one-run decisions in 2011. Iowa lost to Michigan, 2-1, Saturday in game two of a doubleheader.

Iowa out-hit Western Illinois April 20, 14-9. The Hawkeyes have enjoyed success this season when notching more hits than their opponents. The Black and Gold are 10-3 when out-hitting their opponents.

Four Hawkeye freshmen, Bryan Niedbalski, Taylor Zeutenhorst, Keith Brand and Kyle Haen, started in the 14-8 win over Western Illinois on April 20. Niedbalski went 2-for-4 with an RBI, Zeutenhorst went 1-for-4 with an RBI, Brand finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and Haen went 1-for-2 with two RBI.

Freshman Bryan Niedbalski, who stands at 6-3, ranks fifth on the team with a .289 average. The first baseman is second on the team with 19 walks. He ranks tied for sixth in the conference in free passes. Niedbalski has recorded six doubles, one home run and 10 RBIs.

Trevor Willis has tallied seven triples in 2011, exceeding his total of four from a year ago. The senior had recorded eight total entering this year. The seven triples this season lead the Big Ten and rank sixth most nationally.

Iowa has enjoyed success this season when getting on the board early. The Hawkeyes are 6-4 when scoring in the first inning and are 13-8 when scoring first.

Tyson Blaser is enjoying success behind the dish in 2011. The senior has thrown out 17 base runners. He gunned down 13 all of last year. Sophomore Keith Brand has thrown out six.

The Hawkeyes have enjoyed late-inning success this season. Iowa owns a 13-2 record when leading after six innings.

Eleven Hawkeyes, Mike McQuillan (16), Trevor Willis (12), Tyson Blaser (nine), Chett Zeise (eight), Kurt Lee (eight), Zach McCool (seven), Bryan Niedbalski (seven), Andrew Ewing (six), Keith Brand (four), Phil Keppler (three) and Kasey Carling (three) and have recorded multiple multi-hit games this year. Nine 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.

Hawkeye catcher Tyson Blaser recorded his first career home run last season in the regular-season finale against Purdue on May 22. In Iowa’s 19-7 win over Michigan State April 3, the fifth-year senior tallied his first career triple, giving him a cycle for his career. The Taylor Ridge, Ill., native has 34 career doubles to go along with his home run and triple. Blaser leads Iowa with 13 doubles this season. The 13 doubles are the fifth most in the Big Ten.

Iowa has laid down 61 sacrifice bunts this season; the fourth most nationally and the most in the Big Ten. Zach McCool ranks ninth nationally with 12 sacrifices.

Mike McQuillan and Tyson Blaser have enjoyed 10-game hitting streaks this year. McQuillan’s streak ended March 18 against Gonzaga. Blaser’s streak ended April 12 against Kansas. Phil Keppler and Chett Zeise are currently riding five-game streaks.

Keith Brand did not see action in 2010. In 2011, the redshirt freshman is batting (.298). The walk-on has 12 RBIs. Brand has recorded four multi-hit games and five multiple RBI games.

Iowa has been patient at the plate in 2011. The Hawkeyes have walked 159 times, the second most in the Big Ten. Purdue leads the league with 172.

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 10 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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 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.

The Hawkeyes will appear on the Big Ten Network at least twice during the 2011 regular season. Iowa’s game at Illinois April 9 was televised. In addition, the Hawkeyes game versus Penn State on May 7 (2 p.m.) will be televised. 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.

All-Tournament passes and group tickets to the 2011 Big Ten Baseball Tournament to be held May 25-28 at Huntington Park, home of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, will go on sale to the general public on Friday, April 15, the Big Ten Conference and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission announced today. All-Tournament passes are available for $100 each. Group tickets (minimum 20) are available for $7 per ticket. All tickets are available at www.ColumbusSports.org, www.bigten.org and www.ticketmaster.com. Information on individual game tickets will be announced in May. The Big Ten Conference, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and Huntington Park will host the tournament for the third straight year as a neutral-site event. The tournament was held at Huntington Park in 2009, marking the conference’s first neutral-site baseball tournament since 1994 and returns after being held at Ohio State’s Bill Davis Stadium in 2010. The 2009 tournament drew more than 12,000 fans, marking the tournament’s largest total in at least the previous decade.

The tournament bracket is set to be announced on the evening of Saturday, May 21, which is the final scheduled day of regular-season competition. The Big Ten Baseball Tournament is a double-elimination event that awards byes to the top two teams. The Big Ten Champion is the team or teams that finish atop the regular-season standings, while the Big Ten Tournament Champion receives the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. Last year at the Big Ten Tournament, 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. Iowa ultimately fell to the well-rested and top-seeded Minnesota team in the title game.

Iowa will play one midweek game next week. The Hawkeyes will host Milwaukee at Duane Banks Field Wednesday. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. The Hawkeyes will then return to Big Ten action over the weekend, hosting Penn State in a three-game set starting Friday at 6 p.m.