April 20, 2014

Iowa faces Minnesota to start second half of baseball season

The Iowa Hawkeye baseball team opens the second half of the Big Ten race on today in a three game series against Minnesota in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes are 5-7 in the league race and coach Rick Heller says they need a more consistent effort out of their bullpen. “That’s where we’ve had some games go the other way, where we’ve had leads and let them slip through our hands. And that’s one of the areas that we have to do a better job if we are gonna make a run in the Big 10,” Heller says.

The Hawks surrendered a ten run lead in a loss at Northwestern last Friday but bounced back to win the final two games of that series. Heller says sometimes when you lose a game that way you go into a slump. But he says they bounced back and played some good ball.

Minnesota is also 5-7 in league play and the teams are tied for seventh right now. The top eight qualify for the Big Ten Tournament. “They will be fighting hard because they lost 3 close games to Nebraska last week,” Heller says. He says they play 7 of their next 8 games at home and they hope to capitalize on the homestand.

The teams will also play single games on Saturday and Sunday.

Drake wraps up spring football practice with game

The Drake football team will close out spring drills on Saturday with an intrasquad game. Bulldog coach Rick Fox says the format will match the offense against the defense as opposed to separate squads. “We always keep score,” Fox says. He says they have a scoring system for first downs or stops or turnovers and they will keep that score on the board because they want the players to be competing every chance they get.

Fox says one side of the ball will be happier than the other with the score, but overall he says the coaches look at how the defense and the offense executed and reacted during the game.

Fox wants a competitive situation to cap off drills as he says the coaches will determine how successful the spring was by the development they see in the game.

Loras, Wartburg and Buena Vista all in conference baseball title race

It Is a three team sprint to the finish in the Iowa Conference baseball race. Buena Vista and Wartburg are tied at the top with 12-4 records while Loras is a game back at 11-5. After opening the season 3-8 the Duhawks have won 10 of their last 12 in conference play and coach Carl Tebon says his team is winning the close games it lost early on. He says they have 10 seniors who have been through a lot of 1-run loses and learned from the experience to fight to the end.

Tebon says the outcomes of one run games will make or break a season. “The momentum that you gain from a win or loss is so important — especially in our conference. The games are so tight,” Tebon says.

Loras visits Wartburg in a four game series this weekend and will close out the season with a series against Buena Vista.

Iowa Legislature honors Iowa State basketball team

The Cyclone basketball team and Coach Fred Hoiberg were honored by the Iowa House  and Senate.

The Cyclone basketball team and Coach Fred Hoiberg were honored by the Iowa House and Senate.

The Iowa State basketball team visited the statehouse this afternoon where both the house and senate passed resolutions honoring a Cyclone squad which won the Big 12 Tournament and made it to the “sweet 16″ of the NCAA Tournament.

“This is such a tremendous honor for our basketball team. Just the support that we’ve had all across the state of Iowa has been absolutely tremendous,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg told lawmakers.

Hoberg says  the Cyclones appreciated the bi-partisan support during their NCAA tournament run. “To have Congressman King, to have Governor Branstand come into our lockerroom and talk to our teams. To be able to talk to Senator Harkin on the phone — who called just before we went out to  New York to play in the that Sweet 16 game against Connecticut — where if fully health, I fully expect we would have won that game. It would have been us cutting down those nets in Dallas — but hey, it happens,” Hoiberg says.

Hoiberg introduced the players in both chambers and said it was a “great day for Iowa State.”

UNI-Drake softball game moved indoors

In-state rivals collide in a Missouri Valley Conference softball twinbill in Cedar Falls on Tuesday when UNI hosts Drake. UNI coach Ryan Jacobs says they are moving the game inside the UNI-Dome because of the weather. Drake is 13-24 on the season. Opponents are batting over .300 and the Bulldog pitching staff sports an earned run average of nearly five. Jacobs says Drake has probably their worst pitching situation, but has made it work.

Drake coach Rich Calvert does not mind playing in the UNI-Dome. “The nice thing about it is you’re dry, and it’s 72 degrees,” Calvert says. He says with the way the spring is going, they are happy to not have to deal with the elements.

The Bulldogs opened the season 0-10 and dropped their first five Valley games but they have won eight of their last 10 games an now stand 5-7 in conference play. Calvert says they are starting to figure out roles on the team and how to coach them, and they hope to keep it going.

Hawkeyes have rough practice in West Des Moines

For the second straight year the Iowa football team held a practice at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. Coach Kirk Ferentz says it is a way to thank the fans in central and western Iowa who make the journey to Kinnick Stadium each season. “It’s 9 days into it, it’s our third week, so it gives a little change of pace for the players, a little adjustment coming over here,” Ferentz says.

Ferentz was not overly impressed with what he saw from the Hawkeyes. “There’s some good things going on out there, some things that are encouraging, but a lot of things today that would really get us beat in the fall, and that’s spring ball,” Ferentz says.

Iowa concludes spring drills on April 26th with an intrasquad game.

ISU football player kicked off team after Veishea arrest

Iowa State’s thin defensive line is even thinner after Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads kicked David Irving off the team. Irving was dismissed after being charged for his part in a campus riot last week that led to the canceling of Veisha.

Rhoads made the announcement after Saturday’s intrasquad game. “It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of this football program and represent Iowa State football, Iowa State Athletics and Iowa State University,” Rhoads says. “David Irving has exhausted that privilege to represent this football program by not meeting the expectations that we’ve laid out for him.”

The Cyclones still have two practices this week to close out spring drills and Rhoads is not ready to name a starting quarterback for next season. Grant Rohach, Sam Richardson and Joel Lanning all rotated on Saturday. He says with three quarterbacks, it’s hard to find a separation between them with the among of snaps they have. Rhoads says they will decide by fall so the top guy gets most of the snaps with the first team.