March 27, 2014
|Iowa (14-7, 2-1) at Michigan (10-14-1, 1-2)|
|Dates||March 28-30, 2014|
|Location||Ann Arbor, Mich. | Ray Fisher Stadium|
|Statistics||Michigan | IOWA|
|Radio||AM-800 KXIC/Hawkeye All Access|
|Live Streaming||BTDN (Hawkeye All Access)|
|Date | Time||Friday, March 28 | 3 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: So., RHP, Calvin Mathews (2-1, 1.89 ERA) vs.
MICH: RS Sr., RHP, Ben Ballantine (2-1, 2.81 ERA)
|Date | Time||Sat., March 22 | 1 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: Jr., LHP, Sasha Kuebel (2-1, 6.59 ERA) vs.
MICH: So., LHP Evan Hill (1-3, 4.93 ERA)
|Date | Time||Sunday, March 23 | 12 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: So., RHP, Tyler Peyton (3-0, 4.86 ERA) vs.
MICH: Jr., LHP, Trent Szkutnik (0-3, 3.49 ERA)
The University of Iowa baseball team heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a three-game series at Michigan from March 28-30 at the Wilpon Complex, home to Ray Fisher Stadium. Friday's opener is slated for a 3 p.m. (CT) start followed by 1 p.m. and noon starts on Saturday and Sunday.
All three games of the weekend series at Michigan will be broadcast on AM-800 KXIC in Iowa City and streamed online via Hawkeye All-Access at hawkeyesports.com. Brent Balbinot will call the play-by-play with former Hawkeye Jeff Pacha serving as the color commentator. All three games will also be streamed via the Big Ten Digital Network, which can be accessed via Hawkeye All-Access.
Fans can follow every game with live stats (GameTracker) on hawkeyesports.com. Click on the "GT" link found on both the front page and the baseball schedule page. Live game updates are also available on Twitter: @UIBaseball.
The Wolverines bring a 10-14-1 record into this weekend's three game series after downing Western Michigan, 12-4, in their home opener Wednesday in Ann Arbor. Michigan started the season 2-8-1 with losses at No. 6 North Carolina State and No. 19 UCLA. The Wolverines also lost three one-run games at Houston.
Michigan began Big Ten play against preseason favorite Indiana, dropping 2-of-3 games. The Wolverines lost 5-3 in game one, 5-1 in game two before winning 3-2 in the finale. The Hoosiers held the Michigan hitters in check, as the Wolverines batted .203 with 13 hits in the series.
The Wolverines have three every day players hitting above .300, but the team is hitting .242 collectively. Jackson Glines leads the squad with a .330 average with team-bests in doubles (9) and RBIs (17). Travis Maezes is hitting .316 with 18 runs, two long balls and eight steals, while Kyle Jusick has a .300 average.
Michigan has a 3.52 team ERA with 194 strikeouts to 87 walks. The Wolverines will start redshirt senior RHP Ben Ballantine (2-1, 2.81 ERA) Friday, sophomore LHP Evan Hill (1-3, 4.93 ERA) Saturday and junior LHP Trent Szkutnik (0-3, 3.49 ERA) Sunday. Sophomore Jacob Cronenworth is 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA and a Big Ten-best five saves in six appearances.
The Wolverines own a 106-47 advantage against Iowa in the all-time series. The Hawkeyes haven't won a series over Michigan since the 2010 season when it took 2-of-3 games in Ann Arbor.
The Hawkeyes lost 2-of-3 games last season in Ann Arbor, falling 5-4 in the opener, winning 4-3 in 12 innings in game two before falling 4-3 in the finale.
KUEBEL KEYS IN ON WOLVERINES
In his last two starts against Michigan, Sasha Kuebel is 1-0 with a 1.99 ERA over 18 1/3 innings with 11 strikeouts. In 2012, the southpaw pitched a complete game, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits with three strikeouts in a 5-0 Iowa win. Last season, Kuebel tossed a career-high 9 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts.
The Hawkeyes have had at least 10 hits in 12 contests this season. Iowa had a string of five-straight games from Feb. 22-March 2. The Hawkeyes have had 17 hits twice (vs. Ball State, vs. Otterbein).
Junior Dan Potempa currently leads the Big Ten and began the week ranking 10th nationally in hitting. He is 1-of-2 players with above .400, sitting at. 434 this season. The designated hitter is also leading the Big Ten in slugging (.566) and on-base (.537) percentage, the latter of which ranks 15th in the NCAA.
Iowa's Calvin Mathews (32) and Tyler Peyton (29) and Michigan's Friday starter Ben Ballantine (28) are 1-2-3 in the Big Ten in strikeouts.
Sophomore Tyler Peyton had an Iowa season-best 12-game hitting streak from Feb. 15-March 22 before the coming away hitless for the first time as a Hawkeye on March 26 against Bradley.
Junior Jake Yacinich has converted 13-of-15 stolen base attempts this season, which is tops in the Big Ten and 21st nationally.
Iowa leads the Big Ten and ranks 11th in the NCAA in scoring at 7.3 runs per game. The Hawkeyes lead the conference in six offensive categories and are second in four more.
The Hawkeyes are hitting .308 as a team with runners in scoring position. Seven Iowa players have a .350 average or better and four are above .400 (Taylor Kaufman, .400, Jake Mangler, .464; Tyler Peyton, .429, Dan Potempa, .421).
Iowa has a Big Ten-leading 11 home runs this season. The home run total is the most for the Hawkeyes since the 2010 season when Iowa had 28 long balls.
The Hawkeyes have posted a .976 fielding percentage in each of the last two weekends -- their best fielding performances of the season.
POTEMPA EARNS B1G HONORS
Junior Dan Potempa was tabbed as the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week after posting multiple hits in each of Iowa's three games against Nebraska. He finished with weekend with a .727 batting average (8-of-11) and a 1.568 OPS. The Tinley Park, Ill., native had two hits in the opener and three hits in games two and three. He drove in a pair of runs in Iowa's four-run eighth inning to send the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten-opening series win.
TURNING AROUND A PROGRAM
Under first-year head coach Rick Heller, the Hawkeyes started the season with a 9-1 record -- the program's best start since 1940. Iowa's current record of 14-7 is the best for the program since 1993 when the team started 17-5.
After starting 9-1, Iowa received votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) rankings on March 3.
The Hawkeyes won 2-of-3 games in the Big Ten series opener against Nebraska. It was the team's first conference-opening series win since 1998.
Iowa's series win over Nebraska was the first for the Hawkeyes since the Huskers joined the Big Ten and Iowa's third-straight conference series win dating back to last season (Michigan State, Purdue, Nebraska).
AMONG THE B1G BEST
The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten in on-base percentage (.393) and home runs (11) and rank second in batting average (.306), slugging percentage (.419), runs (153), hits (227), RBIs (134), doubles (43) and total bases (311). Iowa and Michigan are pacing the conference with 36 stolen bases. Individually, Dan Potempa leads the conference in batting average (.434), slugging (.566) and on-base (.537) percentage, while Jake Mangler and Taylor Zeutenhorst are tied for the league-lead with 21 RBIs. Zeutenhorst also is tied for the B1G-best with four home runs.
FRIDAY NIGHT ACE
Sophomore Calvin Mathews has gone eight innings in each of his last two starts against Georgetown and Nebraska. He is 1-0 with a 0.56 ERA in the two-game stretch, allowing one run on nine hits to go along with 14 strikeouts.
Mathews scattered three hits in a 13-1 win over Georgetown and struck out a career-high nine batters. After giving up a leadoff single, he retired 16-straight batters.
Mathews allowed one run on six hits and had five strikeouts in his first career Big Ten start against Nebraska. He wasn't involved in the decision.
The right-hander has a team-best three quality starts this season and has allowed three or fewer runs in all six of his starts. Mathews has pitched into the eighth inning in three of his last four starts.
Mathews is leading the Big Ten in strikeouts (32), third in innings (38), tied for fourth in opposing batting average (.200) and fifth in ERA (1.89).
GIVING HIS TEAM A CHANCE TO WIN
Sophomore Tyler Peyton has a pair of quality starts, has allowed three or fewer runs in three starts and pitched into the seventh three times. He has a 3-0 record with a 4.86 ERA in six starts as the team's Sunday starter.
The right-hander struck out 10 batters against Saint Joseph's on March 16 in 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. The 10 strikeouts are tied for the Big Ten single game high this season and are the most by a Hawkeye pitcher since Brock Alberts struck out 10 against Xavier on Feb. 29, 2008.
Peyton is second in the Big Ten in strikeouts (29), tied for seventh in innings (37) and 10th in opposing batting average (.234). His three victories are also tied for the second-most in the Big Ten.
IOWA QUALITY STARTS LOG
2/22 -- Hedrick vs. St. Bonav. (6.2 IP, 0 ER, 7 K)
2/23 - Peyton vs. Omaha (8 IP, 1 ER, 6K)
2/28 - Mathews at Stetson (7.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 K)
3/2 - Peyton vs. Furman (7 IP, 2 ER, 4 K)
3/15 - Mathews vs. G'town (8 IP, 0 ER, 9 K)
3/17 - Kuebel vs. Otterbein (7 IP, 3 ER, 3 K)
3/21 - Mathews vs. Nebraska (8 IP, 1 ER, 5 K)
Junior Nick Day is providing the Hawkeyes a spark at the bottom of the order. The Solon, Iowa, native has hits in 14-of-the-last-15 games, and in five-straight contests. Day is hitting .429 during his six-game hitting streak with nine hits in 21 at-bats. He has three two-hit games during the stretch.
PEYTON DOES IT BOTH WAYS
Sophomore Tyler Peyton is producing as a two-way player for the Hawkeyes this season. The Grimes, Iowa, native starts the opening two games as Iowa's first baseman, where he is hitting .395 with six RBIs and nine runs scored. He hit safely in his first 12 games -- a season-long streak for the team. As Iowa's Sunday starter, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 4.86 ERA in six starts and is second in the Big Ten with 29 strikeouts.
HELLER REACHES 700
First-year head coach Rick Heller earned his 700th career victory in Iowa's 13-1 victory over Georgetown on March 15 in Port Charlotte, Fla. Heller is 39th among winningest active head coaches in the NCAA.
The Hawkeyes have posted a pair of walkoff victories in 2014, coming from behind to defeat Maine (March 1) and Nebraska (March 21).
Iowa trailed 12-11 entering its final at-bat against the Black Bears before the Hawkeyes scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to post a 13-12 victory. With the bases loaded, junior Jake Mangler laced an opposite field game-winning RBI single to right centerfield.
Iowa trailed Nebraska 1-0 heading into its final at-bat before the Hawkeyes used a one-out walk and three-straight singles to win the game. Junior Taylor Kaufman delivered a pinch-hit RBI single to tie the game and senior Trevor Kenyon singled home the winning run with a single to left field.
CLOSING IT OUT
Junior Nick Hibbing has a team-high three saves this season converting three of his four save opportunities. The right-hander has a team-high nine appearances, where he has struck out 13 batters in 11 innings. Hibbing has nine career saves.
EXPERIENCE PAYS OFF
After taking their lumps and gaining experience the last 2-3 seasons, several Hawkeye upperclassmen are enjoying breakout seasons.
Junior Jake Mangler is hitting a career-best .354 with 21 RBIs and 18 runs scored. The 21 RBIs are a career-best, while the run total is one off a career-high. Mangler also has a career-best five doubles and one home run.
Senior Taylor Zeutenhorst has posted career bests in runs (19), doubles (4), home runs (4), total bases (41) and RBIs (21) in 2014.
Junior Nick Day has matched his 2013 hit total (24) and has a career-high 10 RBIs. He is hitting .364 after entering the season with a .203 career average.
Junior Eric Toole put on 10 pounds in the offseason to improve his gap power. The move is paying off as the outfielder has six extra base hits in 21 games this spring. Toole entered the 2014 season with seven extra base hits in his Hawkeye career.
TERROR ON THE BASE PATHS
Junior Jake Yacinich has matched his career stolen base total in 2014. The Des Moines, Iowa, native has a Big Ten-leading 13 steals in 15 chances -- a total that is 21st-best nationally. Yacinich had 13 steals in 16 chances coming into the 2014 season.
After hitting two home runs the entire 2013 season, Iowa has a Big Ten-leading 11 home runs in 21 games this season -- the most for the program since 2010 when it had 28 jacks. The Hawkeyes surpassed their 2013 home run total in the season-opening weekend, connecting on three home runs. Junior Dan Potempa became the fifth player to hit a home run, connecting on a solo shot March 17 against Otterbein -- a game where Iowa hit three home runs for the first time since March 21, 2012.
RUNS, RUNS & MORE RUNS
Iowa has scored 10 or more runs six times this season, including a season-high 17 in victory over Otterbein on March 17. All 17 runs came over a four-inning stretch. The Hawkeyes hit the 10-run barrier three times the entire 2013 season.
Iowa has the most 10-run games since 2011 when it had seven such contests.
The Hawkeyes are 6-0 when scoring 10 or more runs this season.
Iowa scored 11 and 15 runs in consecutive victories at Austin Peay on the opening weekend of the 2014 season. It was the first time scoring 10 or more runs in two-straight games since April 20 and April 23, 2011, putting 14 and 13 runs on the board in victories over Western Illinois and Michigan.
Iowa has scored 10 runs in a single inning in two games this season (at Austin Peay (2/15), vs. Otterbein (3/17). The Hawkeyes last had a double-digit inning on April 3, 2011, in a 19-7 victory over Michigan State.
Iowa has outscored its opponents 89-51 over the final four innings.
Eleven different Hawkeyes have swiped at least one base during the 2014 season. Iowa's 36 steals are tied for the Big Ten lead and rank 40th nationally. Junior Jake Yacinich has a league-best 13 steals in 15 attempts, a total that is 21st in the country. Six different players have at least two steals, which includes six by Eric Toole (6-of-9) and Taylor Zeutenhorst (6-of-7). Iowa has stolen home twice this season -- Blake Hickman vat Austin Peay (2/15) and Tyler Peyton vs. Georgetown (3/15).
B1G PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior Taylor Zeutenhorst has tabbed as the Big Ten Player of the Week on Feb. 21 after hitting .412, slugging .765 and reaching at a .500 clip. The outfielder tied a career-high with four hits, going 4-of-6, which included a two-run home run in Iowa's 16-6 win over Ball State. Zeutenhorst is Iowa's first Player of the Week honoree since 2012.
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes on Facebook by going to facebook.com/iowabaseball. Fans can also follow on Twitter @UIBaseball.
The Hawkeyes will play Bradley for a second-straight midweek contest April 2 in Peoria, Ill. Iowa returns to Banks Field from April 4-6, hosting Big Ten preseason favorite Indiana for a three-game series.