MACOMB, Ill. – Fighting Leatherneck baseball will travel to Iowa City, Iowa for a midweek game against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Tuesday (April 2). The game will mark the second meeting this season between the two teams. The Hawkeyes won the first meeting, 7-3, on March 2.
The game will also mark the first time that head coach Ryan Brownlee and assistant coach Dusty Napoleon return to Iowa City to square off against their former team. Brownlee spent nine seasons at Iowa as an assistant, while Napoleon played for the Hawkeyes and was a volunteer assistant last season.
THE MATCH UP
WHO: Western Illinois at Iowa
WHEN: Tuesday, April 2 • 6:35 p.m.
WHERE: Iowa City, Iowa • Duane Banks Field (3,000)
LAST TIME OUT: Western squared off against the UIC Flames in a three-game set last weekend... The Flames won all three games in the series, with two of the wins coming off of walk-off hits... Friday’s game saw a pitching duel between Western starter John White and UIC starter Tomas Michelson... White had a career high seven strikeouts, while Michelson threw a career high 8.2 innings... The contest went into extra innings, with the Flames coming out on top in the 11th after a Ryan Boss walk-off home run... Saturday’s game yet again was a pitching duel between the two teams... Western starter Tom Constand recorded a career-high eight strikeouts in the game, the most strikeouts by any Leatherneck pitcher in a game this year... Zack Burling and Dan Dispensa also had three hits apiece for the Purple & Gold in the game, but that would not be enough as the Flames came out on top 2-0... Sunday’s finale was all UIC until the ninth inning... The Flames took a 5-1 lead into the ninth inning before the Leathernecks came storming back, scoring four runs to tie the game... UIC would win the game in the bottom of the ninth however on a walk off single by Ty Detmer... Western pitchers had a season high 15 total strikeouts in the finale, led by Mason Pingel who had a career high 6 K’s.
FIGHTING LEATHERNECKS ON THE AIR: Western Illinois baseball games can be heard live on the Internet (www.GoLeathernecks.com) via the Leatherneck Sports Network by clicking on the link for each game on the baseball schedule/results page. Every baseball broadcast is free of charge.
SCOUTING THE HAWKEYES: Iowa was picked to finish ninth in the Big Ten by College Baseball Today and picked 10th by Perfect Game... Sophomore southpaw Sasha Kuebel was selected to the preseason Big Ten All-Conference Team by Perfect Game... Sophomore outfielder Kris Goodman leads the Hawkeyes in hitting with a .348 average in 89 at bats and is currently second on the team with 10 runs batted in… Fellow sophomore Jake Yacinich leads the team with 15 RBI… Senior hurler Matt Dermody leads the starting pitching attack with a 3.04 earned run average in seven starts. He is 5-1 on the season with 32 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched… Senior Ricky Sandquist leads the team in ERA at 1.19 in seven appearances while also making two starts. He’s fanned 17 batters in 22.2 innings… Iowa is led by 10th-year head coach Jack Dahm. He has led the Hawkeyes to 30 or more wins two of the last six seasons.
MARCH 2, 2013: The Leathernecks and Hawkeyes have already met once this season... Iowa came out on top 7-3 in the game that took place on Mar. 2 in Little Rock, Ark... Brent Turner, Zack Burling and Neil DeCook all recorded two hits apiece for Western in the game... Leatherneck starter John White was handed the loss in the game after throwing a then career-high 5.2 innings with two strikeouts... Matt Dermody picked up the win for the Hawkeyes in the contest... The game marked the first meeting between the two teams that Western head coach Ryan Brownlee was in a Leatherneck uniform... Brownlee spent nine seasons at Iowa as an assistant.
CLOSING TIME: Senior closer Brian Loconsole notched two saves at Michigan and now has five on the season... The righty is now 5-for-5 in save opportunities this season and has moved into a tie for first place for most single season saves in Western Illinois baseball history... Loconsole is also just one save away from the career saves mark of six... The Carol Stream Ill. native has made nine appearances so far this year and has a 1-1 record to go along with his five saves... Loconsole also has 10 strikeouts in his 12.2 innings pitched.
WEEKLY HONORS: Senior pitcher Brian Loconsole was named ‘Summit League Pitcher of the Week’ after picking up two saves during the Michigan series... Sophomore pitcher Mason Pingel was named ‘Summit League Co-Pitcher of the Week’ following his performance in the opening weekend win at #1 Arkansas... The honor was the first for the Appleton, Wis. native... Redshirt-freshman Jameson Henning was selected as a “Primetime Performer” by collegebaseball360.com following his performance during the opening weekend at Arkansas... The righty had four hits on the series and scored two runs for the Purple & Gold.
TRUE-FRESHMEN: True-freshmen Aaron Michel and Alex Doty have proven that age doesn’t matter this season and have become standout pitchers for the Leathernecks... Michel leads the team in appearances made with 10 through the first 23 games... He picked up his first career victory in the finale of the Missouri State series, throwing a career high 3.1 innings with a career high three strikeouts... Michel has only allowed four earned runs in 15.2 innings this year on the mound and has 12 strikeouts... Doty has made seven appearances this year and owns a 2.08 ERA in 8.2 innings pitched... The righty has seven strikeouts and has only allowed two earned runs on the mound this year.
DISPENSA RECORD WATCH: Dan Dispensa is currently in sole possession of third place for most hits at Western Illinois... The Chicago, Ill. native had two hits over the weekend, giving him 190 for his career... The senior has also played in 169 career games, which puts him in sole possession of seventh place at Western... Dispensa also has 11 career triples and is currently in a tie for fifth place all time in that category... Finally, he is now in 10th place for most walks drawn all time with 77, and in a tie for eighth place for total bases with 256.
IN THE LEAGUE: Loconsole is tied for the league lead in saves with five this season... Michel is tied for the league lead in appearances with 10, while Loconsole is tied for third with nine appearances... Tom Constand is fourth in the league with a 2.42 ERA and John White is fifth with a 2.50 ERA (minimum 0.8 innings pitched per game)... White also ranks fourth in the league with 39.2 innings pitched this year... Zack Burling is sixth in the league in batting average with a .333 mark this season.
NATIONALLY SPEAKING: The Leathernecks strength of schedule is currently 63rd in the nation out of 299 D1 baseball teams... Western’s RPI is also 149 according to warrernnolan.com.
STRIKEOUTS FOR DAYS: The Leatherneck pitching staff had 35 total strikeouts against the UIC Flames during the three-game set last weekend... The Purple & Gold recorded 11 strikeouts in game one, nine strikeouts in game two and a season high 15 strikeouts in the finale... Tom Constand (8), John White (7), Mason Pingel (6), Aaron Michel (4) and Sam Welvaert (3) all recorded career-highs in strikeouts in their respective outings.
FIRST WIN: The first win of the 2013 Western Illinois baseball season came in the third game of the season at #1 Arkansas... The Leathernecks took down the Razorbacks 7-5 for the first win of 2013, and the first win of the Ryan Brownlee coaching era... The win was also the first in program history over a top ranked team in the nation... The previous highest ranked team beaten by the Leathernecks was Missouri in 2008, the Tigers were ranked #4 at the time of the 5-3 Leatherneck win.
AT THE HELM: Ryan Brownlee is in his first season as the head coach of the Fighting Leatherneck baseball team. Brownlee officially began his coaching duties on October 2, 2012. The former Iowa assistant coach brings 15 years of Division 1 experience to Western Illinois. He spent his last nine years as a member of the Hawkeye coaching staff as an assistant and recruiting coordinator. Before Iowa, Brownlee was an assistant at James Madison for four seasons.
PRESEASON POLL: The Leathernecks were selected to finish in fourth place out of six teams in the preseason poll... North Dakota State was picked to win the conference, receiving five first place votes and a total of 25 points... South Dakota State placed second with 17 points, followed by Oakland in third with 16 points... The Leathernecks received 15 points to finish in fourth place in the voting... Rounding out the preseason voting were Fort Wayne in fifth place with nine points, and conference newcomer Omaha in sixth place with eight points.