Feb. 14, 2014
By JIL PRICE
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa softball program got off to a hot start offensively in season-opening action at the Carolina Classic last week and looks to continue its success at the plate at the Getterman Classic on Feb. 14-16.
As a team, Iowa averaged nearly eight hits per game, more than four runs per game, and nine of its 31 total hits went for extra bases. The squad posted five doubles, three triples, and one home run.
The Hawkeyes are out-performing their opponents after week one in batting average (.295-to-.237), slugging percentage (.429-to-.351), on-base percentage (.370-to-.353), runs (17-to-13), hits (31-to-23), extra base hits (9-to-7), and RBIs (14-to-11).
"They came out ready to hit," hitting coach Stacy May-Johnson said. "They've been focused in practice on hitting. It's early in the season and pitchers are going to make mistakes. They're going to put balls over the plate, and I think we were ready to hit them. We got after those pitches, took good cuts, and got a few of them to drop."
Six Hawkeyes hit above a .300 clip in the team's first four games of the season including: sophomore Erin Erickson (.417), junior Megan Blank (.333), redshirt sophomore Holly Hoffman (.333), freshman Alyssa Navarro (.333), sophomore Sammi Gyerman (.333), and senior Brianna Luna (.333).
Erickson led the way with a .417 (5-for-12) batting average and an .833 slugging percentage, and was third on the team with a .462 on-base percentage. Of her five hits, two went for doubles and one was a home run -- marking the first long ball of her career and the first for Iowa in 2014.
May-Johnson was excited with the adjustments the outfielder made in the last year and was happy to see her achieve success in week one.
"Erin saw limited action last year, but those at bats she got were crucial experience for her because it gave her an opportunity to make some mistakes a year ago, work out some kinks, and see where her deficiencies in her game were," May-Johnson said.
"She was able to fix those things over the last year, get her swing shortened up, get on time, and get on top of the ball. She was able to take care of things she needed to take care to have offensive success in the game. She came out hot in the first weekend, and it was great to see that."
While Iowa had success offensively the first week, May-Johnson was quick to point out that there is still room for improvement and wants to see the team build on its early success as the season rolls on.
"We did hit well, no doubt about it, but I also think there were times when mistakes were made," May-Johnson said. "Each of them need to evaluate how they did last weekend individually. There are definitely some holes that need to be plugged up. We did not peak last weekend, we did not play to the best of our ability, and it is not, by any means, all we can do."
The Hawkeyes open the Getterman Classic today with games against Lipscomb and No. 14/18 Missouri. Fans can follow both games via Gametracker at hawkeyesports.com.