Iowa oufielder Keppler's hot weekend nets him Player of the Week

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 10, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa outfielder Phil Keppler was named the Big Ten Baseball Player of the Week, the league office announced on Monday.

Keppler hit .733 (11-for-15) over a five-game span last week while recording four multi-hit games. He drove in 7 runs and scored 5 times.

"I've done a good job sticking with my approach," Keppler told The Daily Iowan on Monday. "A lot of guys in our lineup have been on base ahead of me and hitting well behind me; right now in our lineup, it's hard to pitch around people.

"… I've been able to hit my pitch when it has been thrown."

The Manchester, Iowa, native blasted a 450-foot home run to right-center against Nebraska on April 7 as part of a 6-for-9 weekend.

The 6-4, 190-pound senior has only started 16 games this season, but he has become a mainstay in the Iowa lineup since Big Ten play began three weeks ago. He's hitting .458 against conference opponents and is 17-of-34 over his last 10 games.

For the season, Keppler leads the Hawkeyes with a .400 average and has added a home run and 11 RBIs. His .483 slugging percentage is the best on the team, and his .456 on-base percentage ranks only behind Mike McQuillan's .489.

Keppler is the first Iowa Player of the Week since former Hawkeye Trevor Willis earned the nod in March 2011. Current pitcher Sasha Kuebel was named Freshman of the Week on Feb. 27.

— by Matt Cozzi

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