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Baseball tries to clean things up

BY JEFF PAWOLA | MARCH 31, 2009 7:30 AM

Following an error-plagued loss against Michigan on March 29, the Iowa baseball team (9-12, 1-2) will host Upper Iowa at 6 p.m. today.

The Hawkeyes committed five errors, three in the top of the eighth that resulted in two runs and the difference in the final score, 7-5.

“Just getting better every day, playing hard, trying to clean up our defense, and get our confidence from a defensive standpoint,” Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said on what the Hawks will work on against the Peacocks. “Five errors — we have to clean up on that.”

Iowa’s five errors were its most on the year and most since 2007. Freshman Mike McQuillan committed two, and junior Tyson Blaser, freshman Andrew Ewing, and sophomore Zach McCool each committed one.

The Division-II Peacocks are 5-13 on the year and are in the midst of a 10-game losing streak. As a result, Iowa will play some players who have not been playing much during its weekend series.



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“I think we’re going to start Phil Schreiber, another very talented freshman who has been throwing well,” Dahm said. “But we’ll also get some other guys some work. We feel as though we have a very deep pitching staff, and there are a couple guys who haven’t thrown for a week or two who need some work.”

Schreiber (0-0), of Kaukauna, Wis., has a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings of work during six appearances, including one start.

“We need to prepare Phil to get extended a little bit,” Dahm said. “We want to get our pitchers some work. We want to extend Phil and get some opportunities to pitch.”

For the remainder of the season, Iowa will play three-game series against Big Ten opponents over the weekends, leaving the weekday games as an opportunity to improve and work on certain skills.
“With it going to three-game series on the weekends, we have to pick up more midweek games,” catcher Blaser said. “You just go out there and play well … you have to move on and play each game, get the ‘W’ and get on to the next series.”

Despite the Hawkeyes’ dropping the rubber match against Michigan on Sunday, Iowa’s production in its recent victories is worthy of a mention. Winners in six of its last nine, Iowa is averaging almost 11 runs in its wins compared with a shade less than four in each of its losses.

“Our hitting is coming along. We’re doing a lot of good things,” said senior pitcher and designated hitter Wes Freie, who was tagged with the loss on March 29 to Michigan.

Despite Upper Iowa being only two hours north of Iowa City, tonight’s game will be the first ever between the Hawkeyes and the Peacocks of Fayette, Iowa.

[We need to] clean up that defense and get back to having a good approach from an offensive standpoint,” Dahm said. “We just want to get better and play hard. We played very hard this past weekend, and that’s what we need to continue to do.”


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