Baseball faces Penn State

BY JEFF PAWOLA | MAY 08, 2009 7:29 AM

After claiming its first victory in almost two weeks with an 11-4 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Iowa baseball team will try to continue the winning ways in its final home series of the season this weekend against Penn State. The first game will start at 6 p.m. today at Banks Field.

The Hawkeyes (15-30, 3-14) were scheduled to play Western Illinois on May 6, but the game was canceled because of inclement weather. Iowa, which ended an eight-game losing streak on May 5, is 3-1 against the Leathernecks on the year and looked forward to another meeting.

“We played pretty good [against Wisconsin-Milwaukee] and had all of our pitching ready to go,” Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said. “It’s a little frustrating because, really, after you win, you want to get a chance to play again, and it was disappointing from that standpoint.”

Iowa had a similar situation occur earlier in the year, when game three of a weekend series against Northwestern was canceled. The Hawkeyes ended a season long nine-game losing streak against the Wildcats on April 18 but did not get an opportunity to finish out the series due to poor weather conditions.

“It seems like any time we get a win, we don’t get a chance to play the next day. You know, kind of like Northwestern.” Dahm said. “That’s why I was trying to push to get the game in.”

The Nittany Lions (22-22, 5-13) come to Iowa City in ninth place in the Big Ten, two-and-a-half games in front of the last place Hawkeyes, and they are having a quite comparable season lately.

Despite the better record, Penn State has lost eight-straight conference games; its last victory came on April 17.

However, unlike the Hawkeyes, Penn State has won a Big Ten series — its lone victory came against Michigan on April 5. The closest series victory for the Hawkeyes was in a split against Northwestern, the Big Ten’s second-worst team.

“The thing about Penn State is it’s not going to trick you,” Dahm said. “For the most part, [the Nittany Lions] going to play straight-up baseball. There is not a lot of trickery. They have their things in there we know about. So really, it’s going to be preparation verbally about some of the tendencies that they have.”

Taking the mound for the Hawkeyes will be freshman Nick Brown, who has a 5.20 ERA with a 2-3 record but has not started since April 17 against Northwestern because an injury.

“Looks like [Brown’s] going to be able to start, which is good news for us,” Dahm said. “Everything looks good. He’s done two bullpens here. He threw on Sunday, he threw [on Tuesday]. Everything looks good. So hopefully, we can get him out there for a good, quality start here [tonight].”

May 10 will also be an opportunity for the Hawkeyes to thank its seniors, in the annual Senior Day.

However, three prominent seniors will not play because of injuries — third baseman Kevin Hoef, shortstop Justin Toole and catcher Kody McManis.

“It’s going to be a special time, our parents will be coming onto the field, but also a sad time,” Toole said. “It’s definitely been an honor wearing the Hawkeye jersey, but all good things must come to an end.”

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