April 6, 2012
ON THE TUBE
Saturday's doubleheader will be televised live on the BTN. Dan Kelly will call the play-by-play, Jennie Ritter the color commentary and Samantha Goldwasser will be the sideline reporter. Sunday's series finale will be streamed via the BTN's "Student U" broadcast.
Fans can listen to every game for the remainder of the 2012 season via the All-Access page at hawkeyesports.com. Rob Brooks, the voice of Iowa softball, will call the action. Hawkeye All-Access is a subscription service that charges $9.95 per month.
ON THE WEB
Fans can follow the action at hawkeyesports.com, where live stats (Gametracker) will be available. The live "GT" can be found under the calendar tab on the right-hand side of the hawkeyesports.com home page, or on the softball schedule page.
Hawkeye fans can follow the University of Iowa softball team on the social media platforms Twitter (@iowasoftball) and Facebook (facebook.com/iowahawkeyessoftball). Game updates will be tweeted during each game.
Northwestern brings a 14-19 overall and a 2-4 Big Ten record into the weekend series. The Wildcats took 2-of-3 games from Wisconsin last weekend in Madison before dropping a 9-1, five inning game at Notre Dame on Wednesday.
NU, which is batting .276 as a team, has two players hitting over .400. Marisa Bast is leading the team with a .418 batting average with a team-best nine home runs and 37 RBI. She also has three doubles and three triples. Shortstop Emily Allard is hitting .406 with a 52 hits and 16 RBI. She is 19-of-22 on the base paths. Three NU players have at least 25 RBI and six are in double digits.
Meghan Lamberth has made a team-high 16 starts, where she has gone 7-9 with a 3.60 ERA with eight complete games. Lamberth has 47 strikeouts to 52 walks in 97.1 innings. Amy Letourneau is 6-7 with a 5.63 ERA, and Sammy Albanese is 1-3 with a 2.67 ERA.
The Wildcats lead the all-time series over Iowa, 48-47. The Hawkeyes have won the last three meetings, sweeping the two-game series last season at Pearl Field. Iowa won the opener, 10-8, in eight innings before winning game two, 9-7.
Northwestern is 1-0 at home this season, downing Illinois-Chicago, 7-1, on March 28.
The Wildcats have played 11 ranked teams this season, where they have posted a 2-9 record. NU has victories over No. 17 Texas A&M and No. 11 Missouri.
Iowa and NU have played seven common nonconference opponents -- LIU Brooklyn, Oregon State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Washington, Arizona State and Notre Dame.
The Hawkeyes rank third in the Big Ten Conference in team fielding (.967) and team pitching (2.22) and 10th in team batting (.251). The Hawkeyes rank 46th nationally in team ERA.
Freshman Melanie Gladden drew a bases loaded walk with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Iowa the 1-0 win and series sweep over Illinois on April 1. It was Iowa's first three-game sweep of a conference foe since 1999 against Purdue. (The Big Ten switched to two-game series in 2000 prior to this season).
Iowa pounded out 11 hits in the 9-1, six inning victory over Illinois in game two of the series. The 11 hits were the second most for the Hawkeyes this season behind the 29 hits against Iowa State on Feb. 18.
Iowa did not strikeout in game two of the series against the Fighting Illini. It was the first time this season that the Hawkeyes didn't have a strikeout.
Iowa and Illinois played a 10 inning, three hour and 12 minute game April 1. It was the Hawkeyes' longest game since April 22, 2008 -- a span of 203 games. That contest between Iowa and Drake lasted 3:14 minutes.
The Iowa pitching staff went 3-0 with a 0.61 ERA in the series against Illinois. The Hawkeyes allowed two earned runs and had 18 strikeouts in 23 innings.
Sophomore Kayla Massey matched a season high with seven strikeouts in the 1-0 loss to Drake on Wednesday night.
Freshman Megan Blank ranks among the top-10 in the Big Ten in four offensive categories. She is tied for third in triples (3), tied for fourth in doubles (10) and eighth in batting average (.396) and slugging percentage (.604).
Junior Chelsea Lyon (2.20) and sophomore Kayla Massey (2.21) rank fifth and sixth, respectively in the Big Ten in ERA.
Iowa scored 26 runs in the 26-5 rout of Iowa State on Feb. 19. The Hawkeyes plated 13 runs in the top of the third inning alone. Iowa didn't score 13 runs in a game last season.
Eighteen of Iowa's 31 games have been decided two runs or less. Iowa is 7-11 in such games.
The Hawkeyes are 11-5 this season when scoring three or more runs and 11-5 when scoring the game's first run.
Four Iowa players -- Megan Blank, Katie Keim, Johnnie Dowling and Bradi Wall -- have started every game this season.
HAWKEYES RECEIVING VOTES
Iowa is receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll. The Hawkeyes have three votes, which puts them in a tie for 29th with New Mexico and Purdue.
Iowa last received votes on April 26, 2011, in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll following its road victory at top-ranked Michigan.
LYON SHARP AGAINST ILLINOIS
Junior Chelsea Lyon posted a 2-0 record with a 0.44 ERA in Iowa's three-game sweep over Illinois. The righthander allowed one run on three hits with six strikeouts in the 5-1 victory in game two of the series before tossing a 10-inning complete game shutout April 1 to propel the Hawkeyes to the sweep. She had seven strikeouts to three walks in the victory.
2 HAWKEYES HIT FIRST CAREER HOME RUN
Two Iowa underclassmen -- sophomore Malloree Grove and freshman Melanie Gladden -- connected on their first career home runs in the 9-1, six inning victory over Illinois on March 31. Grove hit a solo home run to left field in the third inning before Gladden connected on a two-run shot in the fourth.
Ten different Hawkeyes have tallied at least one multi-hit game this season. Senior Katie Keim and freshman Megan Blank are leading the team with 11 multi-hit contests, while junior Johnnie Dowling has eight such games.
KEIM HITS FOURTH LONG BALL
Senior Katie Keim connected on her team-leading fourth home run in the 5-4 loss to Wisconsin on March 25. The first baseman is batting .313 with a 21 RBI to pace the Hawkeyes.
Keim's 21 RBI are a single season career best and her four home runs match her 2011 production. Her .510 slugging percentage is nearly 150 points higher than her career average (.354).
RECORD SETTING ROUT
Iowa had a record-setting 26-5 rout of Iowa State on Feb. 18 at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The Hawkeyes set school records for runs (26), hits (29), RBI (23), total bases (41) and single game batting average (.659). Iowa scored 13 runs in the second inning alone, which is believed to be the school record.
NOT SHYING AWAY FROM TOP COMPETITION
The Hawkeyes have not shied away from playing against the nation's elite. Iowa has played 10 games against ranked teams, including eight games against top 13 ranked foes.
Iowa is 1-9 against ranked competition with its lone victory coming against No. 23 Oklahoma State, 6-5, on March 3 in Oklahoma City. The Hawkeyes nearly defeated No. 5 Arizona State in Tempe, falling 5-2 despite taking a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Hawkeyes have squared off against three pitchers -- Missouri's Chelsea Thomas, Baylor's Whitney Canion and Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts -- that played for the USA Women's National Team last summer.
BLANK EARNS BIG TEN ACCOLADE
Shortstop Megan Blank was tabbed Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week on Feb. 13 after posting a .583 batting average with six runs and two steals at the Getterman Classic. The California native reached base at nearly a 70 percent clip, getting on twice or more in four games. She went 3-for-3 against Arkansas, drew four walks against Wichita State and scored the game-winning run in the 1-0 win over UT-Arlington.
DOWLING MAKES THE MOVE
At the plate, junior Johnnie Dowling made the transition from a right-handed hitter to a left-handed slapper following the 2011 season to utilize her speed. The Des Moines, Iowa, native hit .216 with five home runs as a sophomore.
WALL STILL GROWING
The 2012 season will be junior Bradi Wall's third year playing softball. Growing up, she played baseball and parlayed that experience into two appearances for the Canada National Baseball Team. The last two years Wall played softball at Iowa Western Community College, where she earned All-America recognition after batting .458 with 32 doubles.
MAY-JOHNSON AND TEAM USA
UI assistant coach Stacy May-Johnson was selected as the 2011 USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year. She earned the honor after helping Team USA to gold medals at the World Cup of Softball VII and the Pan American Games. May-Johnson batted a team-best .418 with team highs in home runs (six), runs (26) and RBI (36). She will play for the Red, White and Blue again in 2012.
Iowa has made four Women's College World Series appearances (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001) and it has played in 16 NCAA Tournaments in school history. The 16 appearances are the second most in Big Ten history.
The Hawkeyes have won four Big Ten Conference regular season championships and two Big Ten Tournament titles.