Injuries riddle baseball lineup

BY JEFF PAWOLA | APRIL 27, 2009 7:27 AM

To add insult to injury, literally, the Iowa baseball team was swept by Michigan State over the weekend at Banks Field without two key starters.

The Hawkeyes lost senior shortstop Justin Toole and senior catcher Kody McManis on April 25 after being struck by the ball.

Toole’s injury occurred in the first inning, when the Iowa lead-off man got hit by a pitch on the lower part of his left arm, resulting in a fracture.

“I basically just got hit by a pitch, fracturing a bone in my arm,” Toole said. “I’m probably done for the year … we’re going to do everything we can with the training staff to get back in there as soon as possible.”

The captain was batting .346 on the year, third highest on the team, and he also collected the most hits with 54 before going down. He is also unquestionably the team’s leader and his presence will be missed.

“We need [Toole] in the lineup. He is one of our leaders. He is one of the leaders on and off the field for us. He’s our shortstop, solid defensively and offensively,” freshman catcher Dallas Burke said. “He’s going to be greatly missed if he can’t get back here by the end of the year.”

Burke replaced McManis in the starting lineup after the senior was hit by a pitch just beneath his left eye. Although he has not yet seen a doctor, he was held out from Sunday’s game because of swelling and side effects of a potential concussion.

“He threw a high inside fastball, and it ran in, and I just couldn’t get out of the way quick enough, and it caught me right in the face,” McManis said. “I haven’t been to the hospital yet, so we’ll see. I broke some stuff and maybe got a concussion, but we don’t really know right now.”

Despite the injury, McManis was hoping he would have been able to finish off the series against the Spartans.

“I wanted to play today. I was fighting the trainer to get in there and play,” he said. “But the training staff is smart, and they wouldn’t let me get in there today.”

The most recent injuries add to the continually growing list of players that have been injured on the year — Kurtis Muller, the sophomore center fielder, was out earlier in the year with a hamstring problem, junior catcher Tyson Blaser is out with a torn ligament in thumb, and senior first baseman Kevin Hoef has also been out with some injuries.

“It’s a tough situation with the injuries all year long,” head coach Jack Dahm said. “Justin’s probably done for the year … Kody, he’ll be back. I don’t know if it will be this week or next week.”

Iowa will play on Tuesday in the final Corridor Classic without the help of its two seniors.

“It’s going to be a huge blow for us because they’re two great guys to have on the field and they’re confident in what they do,” freshman Mike McQuillan said.

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