April 1, 2014
The University of Iowa softball team will open its home slate against Drake this Wednesday, April 2 at Bob Pearl Field in Iowa City. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. (CT).
The first 250 fans through the gates at Pearl Field for Iowa's home opener against Drake will receive a free Iowa Softball t-shirt. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. T-shirts will also be thrown out for every Hawkeye strikeout throughout the game.
Wednesday's game will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network and available for fans to view at video.btn.com/allaccess/. A live audio stream is also available at hawkeyesports.com. Rob Brooks will call the action.
Fans can follow the live stats (Gametracker) as well. The "GT" link can be accessed under the "Calendar" tab on the front page of hawkeyesports.com or on the softball schedule page. For in-game updates, follow @IowaSoftball on Twitter and "like" Iowa Hawkeyes Softball on Facebook.
Iowa leads Drake in the all-time series, 35-10.
The teams have already played one another once in the 2014 season. The Hawkeyes run ruled the Bulldogs after six innings, 9-0, at the Getterman Classic on Feb. 26.
Drake's last win over Iowa was on April 4, 2012. The Bulldogs won 1-0.
MASSEY NAMED BIG TEN PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Senior Kayla Massey earned Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time of her career on March 31 after throwing two complete game wins at Wisconsin last weekend. In game one, Massey limited the Badgers to one run and struck out six. She also went 2-for-4 at the plate with a home run and an RBI to help her cause. The Foothill Ranch, Calif., native matched her season-high with seven strikeouts in game three of the series and held the Wisconsin offense to one run. Massey went 1-for-4 at the plate in the contest. On the weekend, Massey posted a 2-0 record, 1.00 earned run average, and 13 strikeouts. She limited Wisconsin, a team that averages 4.1 runs per game, to one run in each of her games pitched. Massey also compiled a .364 batting average, .636 slugging percentage and .417 on-base percentage at the plate for the Hawkeyes.
PURCHASE UI SOFTBALL SEASON TICKETS
University of Iowa softball season tickets are on sale now. Reserve season tickets are available for $20 and general admission season tickets are available for $15. All season ticket holders will receive a free Iowa softball seat cushion. Individuals 18 years and younger receive free general admission seating. Season tickets can be purchased online at hawkeyesports.com, by phone at 1-800-IA-HAWKS or in person at the UI Athletics Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Fans can also purchase single game tickets for $5 on game day at Pearl Field in Iowa City.
Junior Megan Blank owned the top spot with an Iowa career batting average (.413) prior to the start of the season. She is currently tied for 10th in career triples (10), 11th in career doubles (36) and 16th in career home runs (14). Blank is one RBI from entering the rankings with 95 in her career. Senior Kayla Massey is also ranked in several career categories. She is seventh in complete games (75), ninth in games pitched (117) and wins (49), and 10th in strikeouts (380).
Iowa ranks fifth in Big Ten standings after two weeks of conference action with a 4-2 (.667) record.
Megan Blank is first in triples (3) and sixth in fielding double plays (8).
Kayla Massey ranks fifth in earned run average (2.50), seventh in games started (14), eighth in innings pitched (92.1) and ninth in batters struck out looking (19).
Micaela Whitney is first in hits allowed (32) and triples allowed (0), second in doubles allowed (5), third in earned runs allowed (17), fifth in runs allowed (23) and ninth in home runs allowed (4).
Shayla Starkenburg is first in home runs allowed (2), sixth in hits allowed (41), seventh in runs allowed (31), 10th earned runs allowed (25) and doubles allowed (8).
Alyssa Navarro is second in fielding double plays (11), ninth in putouts (168) and 10th in chances (183)
Claire Fritsch ranks sixth in fielding double plays (8) and seventh in assists (66).
Holly Hoffman ranks second in runners caught stealing (10).
As a team, Iowa ranks third nationally in double plays per game (0.67), 28th in triples per game (0.29) and 87th in doubles per game (1.29).
Megan Blank ranks 25th in triples per game (0.13) and 29th in triples (3).
Whitney Repole is 88th in hit by pitch per game (0.22).
Michelle Zoeller is 108th in doubles per game (0.29).
Kayla Massey is 109th in shutouts (2).
BIG TEN NETWORK TO AIR MINNESOTA ACTION
Iowa will appear once on the Big Ten Network this season against Minnesota in Iowa City. The double header, originally scheduled for April 9, will now be played on April 8 to coincide with the network schedule. The broadcast will begin with game one at 3 p.m. (CT). BTN will also cover Big Ten Tournament action in Evanston, Ill., May 9-10.
RUN AND GUN
Catcher Holly Hoffman has consistently been erasing base runners for the Hawkeyes this season. The redshirt sophomore has thrown out 10-of-34 runners attempting to steal a base (29 percent). Her 10 runners caught stealing is second in the Big Ten. The highest caught stealing total is 13, held by Nebraska's Taylor Edwards. Hoffman needs to catch just two additional runners stealing to match her 2013 season total of 12.
UI softball has turned 16 double plays in 24 games. The Hawkeyes lead the conference in double plays per game and rank 3rd nationally in double plays per game (0.67) according to the most recent release of NCAA statistics. Every player in the infield, including a pitcher, has taken part in at least one double play this season. First baseman Alyssa Navarro has been a part of a team-most 11 double plays, followed by second baseman Claire Fritsch and shortstop Megan Blank who have taken part in eight. Third baseman Michelle Zoeller (3), pitcher Kayla Massey (2), catcher Holly Hoffman (1) and first baseman Kaitlyn Mullarkey (1) have also played a part in at least one double play this season. Adding the lone double play for the Iowa outfield is Brianna Luna.
IN PURSUIT OF 100
Fourth-year head coach Marla Looper has a career coaching record of 93-89 (.510). She is just seven wins from achieving her 100th win as a head coach. Looper recorded 27 wins in 2011, 27 wins in 2012, and added 30 wins in 2013. The team's 30 wins last season was the highest win total since 2009 when the Hawkeyes posted a 42-19 mark.
TAKING ON THE BEST
Two of Iowa's 14 losses have come at the hands of ranked foes: No. 14/18 Missouri on Feb. 14 (2-1 in eight innings) and No. 14/16 Baylor on Feb. 15 (2-0). The Hawkeyes have also been defeated by teams receiving votes in at least one of the national polls on six occasions this year: Lipscomb on Feb. 14 (10-0 in five innings), UAB on Feb. 15 (6-1 in nine innings), and Mississippi State on Feb. 21 (2-0), Feb. 22 (5-0), and Feb. 23 (9-1 in five innings). Iowa is scheduled to play No. 20/20 Nebraska and No. 23/RV Northwestern three times and No. 16/19 Missouri and No. 14/14 Minnesota twice in the remainder of the 2014 season.
Hawkeye junior Megan Blank appeared on the Top 50 Watch List for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year released on Jan. 29, 2014. The shortstop -- making the list for the first time in her career -- is one-of-seven student-athletes from the Big Ten and one-of-20 juniors included in the Top 50. The list is narrowed to the top 25 on April 9, the top 10 on May 7, and the top 3 on May 21. The 2014 Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be announced prior to the start of the Women's College World Series on May 27. The award, given by the National Governing Body for softball in the United States, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
A NEW BATTING LEADER
Megan Blank hit .437 in 2013, setting Iowa's single season batting average record. The previous record was .428, set by Kim Davis in 1993. Her career average is .413, also marking the highest in program history. Blank's 59 RBIs in 2013 mark the second-highest single-season total in program history. Debbie Bilbao posted a school record 61 RBIs in 1997. Blank also belted 11 home runs in 2013 -- the third-highest single-season total.
BLANK INVITED TO 2013 USA NATIONAL TEAM SELECTION CAMP
Shortstop Megan Blank was invited to the 2013 USA Softball Women's National Team Selection Camp, held in Oklahoma City on June 10-12 at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex following her sophomore season. Blank was one of 32 athletes, and one of six sophomores, invited.
BLANK HONORED BY NFCA
Shortstop Megan Blank was named a 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) First Team All-Midwest Region selection, earning her second all-region honor in as many seasons. Blank is the sixth Hawkeye in program history to garner all-region honors in each of her first two seasons. She became the ninth player in program history to earn all-region recognition as a freshman, as she was named to the second team.
Iowa has made four Women's College World Series appearances (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001) and played in 16 NCAA Tournaments in school history. The 16 appearances are the second most in Big Ten history, and the four WCWS appearances equal the second most in conference history. The Hawkeyes have won four Big Ten Conference regular season championships (1989, 1997, 2000, 2003) and two Big Ten Tournament titles (2001, 2003).
The Hawkeyes continue its home stretch with a series against Northwestern, April 4-6. On Friday, the first 250 fans will receive FREE Iowa softball trading cards and all fans can register to win an autographed softball. It is also Dollar Dog Night.
Saturday is hat day at the field and fans are encouraged to wear their favorite baseball or softball hat to the contest. The first 100 fans will receive a complimentary Iowa softball hat. One lucky hat wearer will be a prize winner and kids can run the bases following the completion of the game.
Sunday is Little League Day, where all area Little League teams are invited for a FREE clinic with the Iowa Softball team following the game (email email@example.com or call 319-335-9431 to register). Free pizza and t-shirts will be provided to clinic attendees. The first 100 fans will receive an Iowa softball seam bracelet, and the Hawkeyes will sign autographs following the game.