April 22, 2010
THE SETTING: This weekend is separation weekend in the Big Ten and a key series for the Hawkeyes in moving up the league standings. Iowa travels to Ann Arbor, MI, for a three-game weekend series against Michigan. Due to anticipated inclement weather in Michigan this weekend, the two teams will play at doubleheader Friday starting at 1:35 p.m. (CDT) at Ray Fisher Stadium. Three of Iowa's first four Big Ten series' have been on the road. Conversely, the Hawkeyes will conclude the season with three of four at home.
ON THE NET: Iowa baseball fans can follow the Hawkeyes, as live stats will be available on hawkeyesports.com. Just click on the Gametracker link found on both the front page and the baseball schedule page. Whistlin' Ray Gilmore enters his 33rd season with the Hawkeye baseball program and will be posting the stats.
ON THE RADIO: Hawkeye fans can catch this weekend's games on AM-800 KXIC. The Voice of the Hawkeyes, Briane Wilson will handle the play-by-play. Ray Gilmore is slated to provide expert analysis. The three-game Michigan series will be broadcast on the radio and online.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN: The Wolverines are currently on a three-game win streak and took two of three from Illinois last weekend in Big Ten play. Michigan has a 24-12 record and is 6-3 in the conference. The Michigan offense is solid with five starters hitting above .300. Chris Berset leads the team with a .413 batting average, 57 hits and a .601 slugging percentage. Patrick Biondi leads the team with a .489 on base percentage and 24 stolen bags. The Wolverine pitching staff has a 4.93 ERA. Closer Tyler Burgoon has a 3.10 ERA with six saves and five wins. He also has amassed 44 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched.
RECORD BREAKING McCOOL: Junior Zach McCool tied yet another school record. McCool laced two consecutive triples in Iowa's victory over Western Illinois Tuesday. The last time that was done was in 1999 by Brian Burks. McCool tied another individual-game record earlier in the season. He went 5-for-6 from the leadoff spot for Iowa in its series finale against the Spartans. McCool's five hits ties a single-game school record, last achieved by former Hawkeye standout, Justin Toole, in 2008.
HAWKEYES ARE HOT IN THE FIRST: Iowa has scored runs in the first frame in 10 of its last 11 contests. The Hawkeyes currently are out scoring opponents 39-15 in the first.
McCOOL DOMINATES BIG TEN: Zach McCool has had stellar performances in all three Big Ten series'. In conference play, the junior leads the team in batting average (.552), hits (16), slugging percentage (.724), walks (6) and is second in doubles (5) and on base percentage (.629).
CAREER OUTING FOR PACHA: Reliever Jeff Pacha had a career outing Wednesday night in Iowa's loss to Northern Illinois. The lefty went a career-long three and one-third innings and struck out a career-high five Huskies.
TRIPLE TRIPLES: The Hawkeyes picked up three of their 10 triples this week in mid-week games. In fact, each game featured a first-inning triple. In Iowa's win over Western Illinois Zach McCool laced a triple in the first, and later in the third. In the Hawkeyes loss to Northern Illinois, Kurtis Muller started the inning off with a leadoff triple-- the Hawkeyes lone hit until the eighth inning.
DURANT SOLID IN BIG TEN: Iowa's cleanup hitter, Ryan Durant has hit a solid .394 in conference play. He leads the team with six doubles, 12 RBI and is second (to Zach McCool) with a .576 slugging percentage.
DERMODY HAS SOLID OUTING: Freshman Matt Dermody got his third starting nod and a no decision in Iowa's win over Western Illinois Tuesday evening. The southpaw went a career-long six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.
TAKING FOUR: Iowa clinched its fourth victory over Western Illinois Tuesday evening in extras, 6-5. The Hawkeyes face the Leathernecks five times this season. Iowa swept Western Illinois in three in their home opening series. With two come from behind ninth inning thrillers the Hawkeyes got their first sweep since 2007. (Iowa swept Indiana in a three-game home series.) In the series, Kurtis Muller went a stellar 5-for-11 with five runs scored, three RBI and a perfect 6-for-6 on the base path.
CLOTHING DRIVE: The Hawkeyes and Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County are teaming up on Sunday, May 2. Iowa hosts Minnesota in the finale of a three-game series at Duane Banks Field at 1 p.m. that day. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently-used clothing for people in our area. Fans that are able to donate, tickets will be just $2 for any patron.
Z-ROB GETS A LOT OF ACTION: Southpaw Zach Robertson has had a lot of action on the bump for Iowa. The senior has thrown in four of Iowa's last five contests, including a start in Wednesday's game. In Robertson's past four games pitched, he has gone three and two-third innings allowing three earned runs with eight strikeouts.
STREAKING HAWKEYES: Kurtis Muller is the only Hawkeye currently streaking, with three consecutive games with a hit. Muller and Mike McQuillan lead Iowa with 13 multi-hit contests and Ryan Durant lead Iowa with eight multi-RBI games this season.
LEE PICKS UP SECOND WIN: In Iowa's mid-week game against Western Illinois, several pitchers were used. Closer Kevin Lee pitched two innings to earn the victory, improving to 2-0 on the season.
SPEEDY GAME PLAY: The Hawkeyes have played with pace this season. Four of Iowa's last 13 games have been under the three hour mark. Also, 15 games of the Hawkeyes' 34 this season have been under the three hours.
IN THE BIG TEN: Zach McCool is ranked in the top 10 in several statistical categories for his conference play. Amongst other Big Ten players, McCool ranks in on base percentage (1st), stolen bases (1st), doubles (2nd), batting average (3rd) and slugging percentage (9th). Ryan Durant ranks in: doubles (1st), RBI (3rd), sacrifice bunts (3rd) and sacrifice flies (3rd).