Sophomore pitcher hurls Iowa to victory


Rachel Jessen/The Daily Iowan
Iowa’s Phil Schreiber pitches during the Hawkeyes’ game against Western Illinois on Sunday at Banks Field.
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Phil Schreiber posted a 1-2 record and a lackluster 6.45 ERA through his first five starts this season.

The Hawkeye sophomore looked much better than those numbers on Sunday.

He allowed just five hits and no walks in a career-best seven innings of work in Iowa’s 11-2 win over Western Illinois, improving his record to 2-2.

Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said he will expect that type of performance from Schreiber every Sunday. The second-year hurler typically throws a lot of strikes, but Dahm said he was out of sync at the beginning of the year.

The Kaukauna, Wis., native gave up 18 walks in 221⁄3 innings prior to Sunday’s start against the Leathernecks. On Sunday, he was all out of free passes, allowing zero walks.

“He threw the ball extremely well and attacked the zone,” Dahm said. “He was in a lot better rhythm today.”

Schreiber has struggled at the beginning of his starts this season, but he wasted no time to set the precedent for his commanding performance. He looked sharp from the game’s first pitch, retiring the first six batters he faced. Two of those hitters went down via strikeouts.

“I decided to step it up a little bit and get a little more aggressive,” Schreiber said. “We had a hard wind blowing in, so I could be a lot more aggressive in the [strike] zone and let guys get themselves out.”

Although he remained in control for the majority of his time on the mound, Schreiber’s outing was not without some trouble.

A hit batsman, a chop-single from Dan Dispensa, and a seeing-eye-single from Bryan Jordan loaded the bases with for Western Illinois with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. Schreiber didn’t appear like he would make it to the seventh.

So how did he respond? With a strikeout.

The 6-0 righty caught Leatherneck catcher John Koszulinski looking with a pitch that painted the outside corner of the plate. Koszulinski’s reaction, which left him furiously tossing his helmet and bat, summed up the frustration Schreiber provided opposing hitters with all afternoon.

If there was one person Schreiber did the exact opposite for on Sunday, it was Iowa catcher Tyson Blaser. The junior said his pitcher did a nice job of throwing first-pitch strikes, making his job much easier.

“It makes it easy back there,” Blaser said. “It makes you look real good when really, I’m not doing a whole lot other than putting down the number one and catching the ball.”

Center fielder Kurtis Muller called Schreiber’s performance “awesome.” The improvement and experience gained last year by Hawkeye throwers such as Schreiber has Muller excited about the team’s potential for success.

“If [our pitchers] keep attacking the zone, and we keep playing good defense, we’ll be pretty good,” Muller said. “If we have those two things working for us, our offense will continue to get better.”

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