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    Northwestern Heads to Iowa to Open Big Ten Season

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Kyle Ruchim has saved five of the Wildcats' seven wins.
    Kyle Ruchim has saved five of the Wildcats' seven wins.

    March 22, 2012

    Northwestern (7-12) at Iowa (7-10)
    Friday, March 23, 2012
    Duane Banks Field (3,000)
    Iowa City, Iowa • 4:05 p.m.

    Saturday, March 24, 2012
    Duane Banks Field (3,000)
    Iowa City, Iowa • 1:05 p.m.

    Sunday, March 25, 2012
    Duane Banks Field (3,000)
    Iowa City, Iowa • 1:05 p.m.

    In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
    Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern and Iowa square off for the first time since 2009 when they meet up for a three-game series to open the Big Ten season. It is the first meeting between the teams in Iowa City since the 2008 campaign.

    The series gets underway at 4:05 p.m. Friday, while Saturday's and Sunday's games are set for a 1:05 p.m. first pitch.

    The Wildcats (7-12) posted a 3-3 record on their spring break trip to Winter Haven, Fla., playing six games over a five-day span. NU concluded the trip with a 3-1 victory over Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday. Sophomore left-hander Dan Tyson earned the win by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Senior Paul Snieder hit safely in all six games during the trip and has collected at least one hit in each of the last 11 games overall.



    The Hawkeyes (7-10) opened their home season with a 20-1 win over Grand View on Wednesday. Sean Flanagan led Iowa with two home runs and five RBI. Ryan Rumpf lead the Hawkeyes with a .321 batting average and 12 RBI this season. Mike McQuillan ranks second with a .317 average and first with 16 runs scored. Sasha Kuebel paces all starting pitchers with a 2.82 ERA. Jarred Hippen leads Iowa with 35.2 innings pitched.

    Last Meeting: Northwestern and Iowa split two game in Evanston April 17-18, 2009. The Wildcats won three of four games during their last visit to Iowa City April 19-20, 2008.

    Now in his 25th season at the helm of the Northwestern baseball program, head coach Paul Stevens earned milestone victory No. 600 of his career March 4 when the Wildcats posted a 14-6 win over Chicago State in Port Charlotte, Fla. Stevens is the winningest coach in program history. He trails only Minnesota coach John Anderson (31st year) as the longest current tenured coaches in the Big Ten.

    Outfielder Luke Dauch got his Northwestern career off to a good start when the Wildcats opened their season at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in Florida Feb. 17-19. Dauch was tabbed Big Ten Freshman of the Week Feb. 20 after he went 5-for-7 with a .778 on-base percentage and a 1.286 slugging percentage in NU's three games against West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Seton Hall.

    Senior Paul Snieder hit safely in a team season-best 15 straight games last season and is approaching a similar streak heading into Big Ten play. Snieder has at least one hit in the team's last 11 games entering into this weekend's series at Iowa and has reached base safely in each of the team's last 18 contests.

    Catcher Geoff Rowan has taken the eighth commandment to heart. The senior has gunned down 13 of 22 baserunners attempting to steal entering play Friday. That equates to an impressive 59.1 percent success rate by Rowan. He also leads the Big Ten, having picked off four runners off base.

    The Wildcats' record this season is far from being significantly better as five of their losses have been by a one-run margin. Northwestern came up a run short in each of the three games of their series at Cal State Northridge Feb. 25-26.

    Northwestern has two sets of brothers on its roster once again this season. Senior Trevor Stevens and sophomore Cody Stevens and take the field for their father, Paul Stevens. Senior right-handed pitcher Francis Brooke and sophomore right-handed pitcher Henry Brooke are the other pair of brothers currently on the NU roster. Senior Chris Kontos' brother, George, was a standout pitcher for Northwestern from 2004-06 and was a fifth-round draft pick of the New York Yankees. George earned his first career call-up to the Major Leagues last September when he pitched for the Yankees (managed by NU alum Joe Girardi). Additionally, junior Jack Havey's brother, Matt, pitched for the Wildcats from 2006-09.

    For the fourth-consecutive season, Northwestern will play a game at a Major League ballpark. The Wildcats face Milwaukee on May 9 at Miller Park, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers. The contest follows a game between the Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds. In 2009, NU defeated Notre Dame at U.S. Cellular Field, the home of the Chicago White Sox. The following season, Northwestern and Milwaukee split a doubleheader at Miller Park. A year ago, the 'Cats took two of three games from Minnesota at Target Field, the home ballpark of the Minnesota Twins.

    The Wildcats missed a big part of their roster last season when Zach Morton was sidelined for the entire campaign with a torn ACL. Morton was a first-team All-Big Ten selection at second base as a sophomore in 2010, leading the Big Ten with a .427 batting average in conference play. He was also slated to be a weekend starter on the mound. Back to full health, Morton has picked up where he left off, ranking second on the team with a .347 batting average while tossing a team-high 30 innings on the bump.

    In addition to Morton, the Wildcats have a number of other individuals who get the job done both at the plate and on the mound. Paul Snieder is batting .292 with a team-high four home runs as well as 13 RBI. He leads the team with eight pitching appearances and is tied for the school record with 17 career saves. Kyle Ruchim is batting .288 with team bests of six doubles, 16 walks and a .429 on-base percentage. On the mound, Ruchim has saved five of NU's seven wins and has 12 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings pitched and is holding opposing batters to a .206 average. A year ago, he nailed down four saves and struck out 25 in 18.2 innings pitched.

    UP NEXT...
    Northwestern opens its home season next Friday through Sunday as it hosts Big Ten newcomer Nebraska at Rocky Miller Park.

    Probable Pitching Matchups

    RHP Francis Brooke (1-1, 1.95 ERA, 27.2 IP) vs. LHP Jarred Hippen (1-2, 3.28 ERA, 35.2 IP)
    RHP Brandon Magallones (3-0, 5.09 ERA, 23 IP) vs. LHP Matt Dermody (0-2, 5.87 ERA, 23 IP)
    RHP Zach Morton (0-4, 4.20 ERA, 30 IP) vs. LHP Sasha Kuebel (1-0, 2.82 ERA, 22.1 IP)


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