|Minnesota (18-14, 5-7) at Iowa (20-14, 5-7)|
|Dates||April 18-20, 2014|
|Location||Iowa City, Iowa | Duane Banks Field|
|Statistics||Minnesota | IOWA|
|Radio||AM-800 KXIC (Friday)/Hawkeye All-Access (All)|
|Live Streaming||Hawkeye All-Access|
|Date | Time||Friday, April 18 | 6 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: So., RHP, Calvin Mathews (3-2, 2.75 ERA) vs.
MINN: Sr., RHP, Alec Crawford (3-1, 4.07 ERA)
|Date | Time||Saturday, April 19 | 2 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: Jr., RHP, Sasha Kuebel (4-3, 4.93 ERA) vs.
MINN: Jr., RHP Ben Meyer (3-2, 2.65 ERA)
|Date | Time||Sunday, April 20 | 1 p.m. (CT)|
|Pitching Matchup||IOWA: So., RHP, Tyler Peyton (4-0, 4.39 ERA) vs.
MINN: Jr., RHP Neil Kunik (1-0, 2.35 ERA)
The University of Iowa baseball team returns to Duane Banks Field for a Big Ten series against Minnesota on April 18-20. Friday's opener will begin at 6 p.m. (CT) followed by 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. starts Saturday and Sunday.
All three games in the Minnesota series will be streamed via Hawkeye All-Access at hawkeyesports.com. Brent Balbinot will also call the play-by-play for the three-game series. Friday's opener will be broadcast on AM-800 KXIC and all three games will be available on 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 Gophers have dropped 4-of-6, 5-of-7 and 7-of-11 games heading into this weekend. Minnesota is 18-14 overall and tied with Iowa for seventh place at 5-7 in Big Ten play. The Gophers were swept by Nebraska last weekend in Minneapolis before downing North Dakota State, 5-3, on April 15.
Minnesota is second-to-last in the Big Ten with a .240 team batting average and the Gophers have scored 137 runs in 32 games (4.2 per contest). The Gophers are led by Tony Skjefte, who is hitting .267 with 11 doubles and 20 RBIs. Mark Tatera has a team-high 21 RBIs, while Connor Schaefbauer is hitting .252 with 22 runs and nine steals.
The Gophers are sixth in the Big Ten with a 3.95 team ERA. Friday night starter Alec Crawford (3-1, 4.07 ERA) and Saturday starter Ben Meyer (3-2, 2.65 ERA) are tied for the team lead with three victories. Sunday pitcher Neal Kunik will be making his first start. He is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in six appearances in relief. Four different Gophers have tallied a save with Dalton Sawyer (2-2, 1.30 ERA) leading the team with five on the year.
Minnesota is third in the Big Ten defensively, posting a .973 fielding percentage. It has committed 33 errors in 32 contests.
Alec Crawford is a Wilton, Iowa, native who pitched two seasons as the staff ace Des Moines Area Community College before enrolling at Minnesota.
The Gophers lead all-time series over Iowa, 177-109. Minnesota has won four-straight series over Iowa, winning nine of the last 12 games overall. The Hawkeyes split a four-game series in 2008, while Iowa's last series win over the Gophers came in 2005, taking 3-of-4 games in Iowa City.
Iowa won the opening game of the series last season, 10-9 in 10 innings, on a walkoff RBI hit-by-pitch by Keith Brand. Kris Goodman connected on a grand slam in the contest.
Minnesota claimed the series, winning 10-2 in game two and 9-5 in the series finale.
Iowa has finished with at least 10 hits in six-straight games, including a season-high 20 April 11 at Northwestern. The Hawkeyes have 17 games this season with 10 or more hits.
Junior Nick Day has scored at least one run in each of the last 12 games. Day has a career-high 26 runs scored this season.
Junior Jake Yacinich has converted 18-of-20 stolen base attempts this season, which is second in the Big Ten and 22nd nationally.
Iowa averages 6.7 runs per game -- a figure that leads the Big Ten and ranks 27th nationally. The Hawkeyes rank in the top two in 10 offensive categories, including leading the conference in on-base percentage, runs, RBIs and doubles.
Twelve different Iowa players have posted a multiple-hit game in 2014, which includes five players with double-digit efforts with junior Eric Toole pacing the squad with 15 multi-hit games.
Senior Taylor Zeutenhorst connected on his fifth home run of the season -- an opposite field shot -- in the opening game at Northwestern. His five long balls are the most by a Hawkeye since Trevor Willis hit five in 2011.
Sophomore Nick Roscetti is hitting .421 (8-of-19) over his last seven games -- five starts. The infielder has started three games at third and two at first base during the stretch.
KUEBEL EARNS B1G HONOR
Junior Sasha Kuebel was tabbed as the Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week for the second time in his career April 14 after going 2-0 with a 0.62 ERA in two appearances last week. The southpaw pitched 5 2/3 innings in relief in a 5-3 midweek victory over Kansas before tossing a complete game shutout in a 5-0 win at Northwestern. It was Kuebel's first career complete game shutout and the first by a Hawkeye since 2011 (Jared Hippen).
The Hawkeyes are among the top-50 nationally in batting average (22nd - .300), scoring (26th - 6.7), on-base percentage (26th - .390), runs (37th - 221), steals (43rd - 52) and sacrifice flies (45th - 18).
A DEEP LINEUP
In the April 15 starting lineup against Western Illinois, Iowa featured a lineup with eight .300 hitters and five players with 20 or more RBIs.
With runners in scoring position, junior Jake Mangler is hitting .409 (18-of-44) and he has a .824 (14 RBIs, 17 opp.) clip with runners on third with less than two outs. Mangler's clutch hitting has resulted in a career-best 30 RBIs -- 12 coming with two outs -- to go along with a team-high nine multi-RBI contests. The 30 RBIs rank third in the Big Ten.
After enduring a six-game (March 28-April 6) stretch where he collected two hits in 23 at-bats, junior Jake Yacinich has rebounded and then some. The shortstop has 15 hits in his last 26 at-bats over his last seven games, which includes five multi-hit games. During the stretch...
Yacinich posted his second four-hit game of the season and his career, going 4-for-5 with three runs April 9 at Kansas.
He went 3-for-4 with a triple in game one at Northwestern before going 2-for-4 with a triple and home run in game two. He became the first Hawkeye since T.J. Caldaldo in 2008 to hit triples in back-to-back games. The home run was also the first of his Iowa career.
Yacinich posted his fifth game with at least three hits, finishing 3-for-5 with a double against Western Illinois.
Since his average dipped to a season-low .279 on April 6, Yacinich has improved his average by 59 points to .338, ranking 10th in the Big Ten.
FRANKOS TAKING HOLD
With starting catcher Trevor Kenyon expected to be sidelined 2-3 weeks with a strained PCL suffered April 5, sophomore Jimmy Frankos has taken advantage of his opportunity behind the plate. The Illinois native has started six games during the stretch, posting five two-hit games, scoring six runs and driving in a pair. Frankos is hitting .355 (11-of-31) this season.
FRIDAY NIGHT ACE
Sophomore Calvin Mathews has allowed three or fewer earned runs in eight of his nine starts and he has pitched into at least the seventh inning four times. He has a team-best five quality starts this season.
Mathews tossed his first career complete game, scattering six hits and allowing two runs in a 3-2 victory over Michigan on March 28. The right-hander tied a career-high with nine strikeouts against zero walks en route to being named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.
It was Iowa's first complete game since Matt Dermody accomplished the feat in a 2-1 victory at Northwestern on March 23, 2013.
Mathews has pitched into the eighth inning in four starts and has at least eight strikeouts in three games.
Mathews scattered three hits in a 13-1 win over Georgetown and struck out a career-high nine batters on March 15 before allowing one run six hits with five strikeouts in his first career Big Ten start against Nebraska.
Mathews is leading the Big Ten in strikeouts (53), is tied for third in innings (59) and seventh in opposing batting average (.224).
GIVING HIS TEAM A CHANCE TO WIN
Sophomore Tyler Peyton has four quality starts, allowing three or fewer runs in five outings and pitching into the seventh inning five times. He has a 4-0 record with a 4.39 ERA in nine starts as the team's Sunday starter.
Peyton is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA over his last two starts, allowing two earned runs in 14 innings against No. 24 Indiana and Northwestern. He is limiting batters to a .180 average during the stretch.
The right-hander shut down the Hoosiers on April 7, limiting IU's potent offense to five hits and one run in seven innings, but wasn't factored in the decision. In his next start, pitching on short rest, April 12 at Northwestern, Peyton allowed one run on four hits over seven innings in an 8-1 victory.
Peyton had a career-best 10-strikeout game March 16 against Saint Joseph's in just 5 2/3 innings. 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 tied for eighth in the Big Ten in opposing batting average (.225), ninth in strikeouts (37) and tied for 10th in innings (55.1).
IOWA QUALITY STARTS LOG (13)
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)
3/28 - Mathews at Michigan (9 IP, 2 ER, 9 K)
3/29 - Kuebel at Michigan (7 IP, 1 ER, 8 K)
4/7 - Peyton vs. Indiana (7 IP, 1 ER, 4 K)
4/11 - Mathews vs. Northwestern (6 IP, 3 ER, 6 K)
4/12 - Peyton vs. Northwestern (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 K)
4/12 - Kuebel vs. Northwestern (9 IP, 0 ER, 6 K)
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 .306 with 15 RBIs and 13 runs as Iowa's clean-up hitter. As Iowa's Sunday starter, the right-hander is 4-0 with a 4.39 ERA in nine starts.
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 center field.
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.
EXPERIENCE PAYS OFF
After being mainstays in the lineup the last 2-3 seasons, several Hawkeye upperclassmen are enjoying breakout seasons.
Junior Jake Mangler is hitting a career-best .338 with 30 RBIs and 28 runs scored. Both the RBI and run totals are career-bests. Mangler also has a career-high 10 doubles and one home run.
Senior Taylor Zeutenhorst has posted career bests in runs (23), doubles (5), home runs (5), total bases (57) and RBIs (26) in 2014.
Junior Nick Day has surpassed his 2013 hit total (35) and has a career-high 14 RBIs and 26 runs. He is hitting .327 after entering the season with a .203 career average.
Junior Jake Yacinich has a career-bests in runs (30), triples (3), steals (18) and batting average (.338).
Junior Eric Toole put on 10 pounds in the offseason to improve his gap power. The move is paying off as the outfielder has nine extra base hits in 33 games this spring. Toole entered the 2014 season with seven extra base hits in his Hawkeye career.
After hitting two home runs the entire 2013 season, Iowa has 14 home runs in 34 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. Six different Hawkeyes have hit at least one home run this season.
RUNS, RUNS & MORE RUNS
Iowa has scored 10 or more runs eight 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 2010 when it had 12 such contests.
The Hawkeyes are 7-1 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.
Twelve different Hawkeyes have swiped at least one base during the 2014 season. Iowa's 54 steals are second in the Big Ten -- one off the conference lead. Three different Hawkeyes have at least nine steals, which includes 18 by junior Jake Yacinich (18-of-20) and nine by Eric Toole (9-of-14) and Taylor Zeutenhorst (9-of-10). Iowa has stolen home twice this season -- Blake Hickman vat Austin Peay (2/15) and Tyler Peyton vs. Georgetown (3/15).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Junior Dan Potempa was tabbed as the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on March 24 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.
Sophomore Calvin Mathews was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on March 31 and Big Ten Player of the Week by College Sports Madness a day later. The right-hander went the distance for his first career complete game, leading Iowa to a 3-2 win at Michigan. He scattered six hits and had nine strikeouts against zero walks in the game.
B1G TOURNEY CHANGES
The 2014 Big Ten Tournament will be held at TD Ameritrade Park on May 21-25 in Omaha. The field is expanding in 2014 from six to eight teams for the first time in its history.
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 head to Omaha, Neb., on April 23 for a midweek matchup against Creighton beginning at 6:30 p.m. (CT) at TD Ameritrade Park. Iowa returns home April 25-27, hosting South Dakota State for a three-game series at Banks Field.