April 29, 2010
THE SETTING: This weekend is separation weekend in the Big Ten; the Hawkeyes are one game out of fifth place and two from first in the conference. Iowa hosts Minnesota in a three-game series at Duane Banks Field this weekend. Weather permitting, game one is set for Friday night at 6:05 p.m. Both teams won a series last weekend, Iowa took two at Michigan and the Golden Gophers took two against Indiana at home, following a solid performance by starter Seth Rosin.
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, Brent Balbinot will handle the play-by-play. The three-game Minnesota series will be broadcast on the radio and online.
SCOUTING MINNESOTA: Minnesota is 17-24 with a 6-6 conference record. The Golden Gophers have won three of its last four contests, including taking two from Indiana last weekend at the Metrodome. The Golden Gopher offense is led by Michael Kvasnicka. He leads the team in batting average (.353), doubles (18), triples (2), homers (6), total bases (95), slugging percentage (.609), walks (33), on base percentage (.464). Minnesota’s pitching staff is led by righty Seth Rosin. Rosin was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on Monday. That was the second time this year he earned the honor (March 29, 2010) Rosin combined on a shutout in a 14-0 victory over Indiana on April 23, pitching 7.2 innings, yielded only three hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven.
McCOOL DOMINATES BIG TEN: Zach McCool has had stellar performances in all four Big Ten series’. In conference play, the junior is ranked in the top 10 amoungst other Big Ten players in the following statistical categories: stolen bases (1st), batting average (2nd), on base percentage (2nd), hits (3rd), sac bunts (3rd) and slugging percentage (9th).
DURANT SOLID IN BIG TEN: Iowa’s cleanup hitter, Ryan Durant has hit a solid .319 in conference play. He leads the team with eight doubles, 16 RBI and is second (to Zach McCool) with a .489 slugging percentage. Durant had a career game to lead Iowa to the doubleheader sweep in game two at Michigan. The senior tied a career high driving in four runs on a pair of doubles. Durant collected four RBI for the third time in his Hawkeye career, last accomplishing the feat at Illinois State a year ago.
HIPPEN TOSSES A GEM: Jarred Hippen was dominate on the bump again, throwing his second career complete game and second in four appearances last Friday in Ann Arbor. The native of Rock Falls, IL, allowed only two runs, one earned, scattered six hits and struck out five en route to his third win in a 5-2 victory at Michigan. Hippen’s first career complete game was in the Big Ten opener at Michigan State. He allowed three runs off seven hits and striking out two. The last Hawkeye to throw a complete nine was Nate Johnson in 2004.
IOWA TAKES SERIES: On the shoulders of another strong pitching performance by pitching ace Jarred Hippen, Iowa beat Michigan, 5-2, in game one of Friday's doubleheader. Iowa's victory snapped an eight-game losing skid at Michigan. The Hawkeyes' last win in Ann Arbor came on April 10, 2005. The Hawkeyes won game two at Michigan, 5-3, to sweep Friday’s doubleheader. The win marked the first time Iowa swept a doubleheader since at Indiana on April 12, 2008. The Black and Gold dropped the finale of a three-game series, 7-5, to Michigan Saturday afternoon. Despite the loss, Iowa won the series having picked up two wins in the twinbill at Ray Fisher Stadium Friday. The game featured 26 hits between both teams.
CLOTHING DRIVE: The Hawkeyes and Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County are teaming up this Sunday. 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.
LEE 'SAVES' ANOTHER: In Iowa's mid-week victory over Nebraska Iowa’s closer, Kevin Lee, picked up his team-best eighth save. Lee pitched the final frame, allowing no Husker runs. The eight saves ties Northwestern’s Paul Snieder for first in the Big Ten.
ENDING A DROUGHT: Junior Trevor Willis ended a home run drought for the Hawkeyes last weekend in Ann Arbor. The outfielder hit a ‘no-doubter’ in Iowa’s loss to Michigan in the series finale. The bomb was Willis’ first of the season. The last Hawkeye to hit a homer was Ryan Durant in Iowa’s loss to South Dakota State, March 30, at Duane Banks Field.
STACKING UP IN THE BIG TEN: When compared to the conference’s best several Hawkeyes rank in the top 10. Kurtis Muller in on base percentage (7th) and stolen bases (5th). Ryan Durant is tied for second in sacrifice flies and Zach McCool ranks third in sacrifice bunts. Ace Jarred Hippen ranks in batters struck out looking (1st), innings pitched (3rd), ERA (8th) and batters struck out (10th), Kevin Lee ranks first in saves and Patrick Schatz ranks fifth in appearances.
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.
PRESERVING THE LEAD: Iowa has done a very good job this season winning the games where it has had the lead late. The Hawkeyes are a perfect 15-0 when leading after eight innings, 14-2 when leading after seven and 13-2 when maintaining the advantage after six frames.