April 12, 2012
Complete Release in PDF Format
The University of Iowa softball team hosts Nebraska for a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday at Pearl Field. Saturday's doubleheader, which begins at 2 p.m. (CT), is the annual "Strike Out for Cancer" day with fans encouraged to wear pink to the contest. Fans are encouraged to "Black Out" Pearl Field during Sunday's series finale. The game will start at 3 p.m. and be televised live on the BTN.
ON THE TUBE
Sunday's series finale against Nebraska will be televised live on the BTN. Eric Collins will call the play-by-play, while Jennie Ritter will serve as the color analyst.
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. Game two of the doubleheader against Nebraska will be broadcast locally on KXIC.
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.
Saturday's game is the "Strike Out for Cancer" day at Pearl Field. The first 100 fans will receive pink tumblers and Iowa trading cards. Sunday is a "Black Out" contest, Girl Scout Day and Dollar Dog Day and Staff Appreciation Day. Free trading cards will be handed out to the first 100 fans and fans can play Iowa softball bingo for a chance to win a free pizza from Pizza Hut.
Nebraska has won 14-of-16 games to improve its overall record to 25-14 overall and 7-2 in Big Ten play. The Huskers topped Creighton, 3-0, on Wednesday night to run their winning streak to five games.
Nebraska is second in the conference with a .304 team batting average, and five Husker players sit above .300 on the year. Gabby Banda is pacing the squad with a .382 average with 13 doubles and 24 RBI. Ashley Guile is hitting .355 with 30 RBI, Brook Thomason has a .340 average with a team-best six home runs and 38 RBI, while Taylor and Tatum Edwards are hiting .305 and .301, respectively.
Ashley Hagemann is a workhorse for the Huskers in the circle, compiling a 17-11 record in 34 starts, posting 24 complete games and six shutouts. She has a 2.70 ERA over 184.1 innings pitched with 224 strikeouts to 106 walks.
The Huskers are receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegaite top-25 poll. Nebraska is 32nd in the rankings.
Eight different Husker players have at least 10 RBI on the year, and four players have at least 30 RBI.
Nebraska is 3-5 in road games this season, while posting a perfect 11-0 record in Lincoln.
Nebraska has two series sweeps in Big Ten play, taking all three games from Northwestern and Illinois. The Huskers lost 2-of-3 games at Minnesota.
Former Iowa first baseman Katie Brown is a volunteer assistant coach for the Huskers. Brown played for the Hawkeyes from 2007-10, where she was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, earning first team honors in 2008 and a second team nod in 2009.
The Hawkeyes rank third in the Big Ten Conference in team fielding (.963) and team pitching (2.45) and 10th in team batting (.252).
Freshman Megan Blank has reached base safely in 30-of-35 games for the Hawkeyes this season, including each of the past nine contests. The shortstop has tallied at least one hit in 25-of-35 games.
Blank reached base safely in nine straight plate appearances last week. She walked in her final at-bat against Drake before reaching in all eight plate appearances in the Saturday doubleheader at Northwestern.
Blank ranks among the top-10 in the Big Ten in six offensive categories. She is tied for first in triples (4), tied for second in doubles (11), third in batting average (.412) and on-base percentage (.525), fifth in slugging percentage (.639) and tied for 10th in walks (21).
Senior Katie Keim hit the for the cycle in the three-game series at Northwestern, finishing with a .500 batting average (5-for-10). She doubled in game one, went 2-for-3 with a home run and triple in game two, and 2-for-3 with a double in the finale.
Three Iowa players are hitting over .300 in Big Ten play. Blank is leading the way with a .417 average. Junior Johnnie Dowling is hitting .355 with a team-high 11 hits, while Keim is batting .333 with 10 RBI.
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 sweep over Illinois. The Hawkeyes allowed two earned runs and had 18 strikeouts in 23 innings.
Junior Chelsea Lyon (2.33) and sophomore Kayla Massey (2.57) rank third and eighth, respectively, in the Big Ten in ERA.
Sophomore Kayla Massey has allowed one earned run or fewer in nine of her 16 starts this season.
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.
Nineteen of Iowa's 35 games have been decided two runs or less. Iowa is 7-12 in such games.
The Hawkeyes are 11-6 this season when scoring three or more runs and 12-6 when scoring the game's first run.
Three Iowa players -- Megan Blank, Katie Keim and Johnnie Dowling -- have started every game this season.
BLANK EARNS SECOND BIG TEN ACCOLADE
Shortstop Megan Blank earned her second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor after hitting .667 and slugging 1.167 during last weekend's three-game series at Northwestern. Blank was perfect at the plate in games one and two of the series. In Iowa's four games during the week, Blank reached base safely in 11-of-15 plate appearances.
It was Blank's second Big Ten accolade this season, as she was tabbed Co-Freshman of the Week on Feb. 13 after posting a .583 batting average with six runs and two steals at the season-opening Getterman Classic.
Senior Katie Keim hit her team-leading fifth home run of the season at Northwestern on April 7. The five long balls are a career-high and match the Missouri native's home run total for her first three years as a Hawkeye.
Keim saved the best for last, posting career-best numbers in nearly every statistical category as a senior. She is hitting .330, more than 70 points above her career average. She also has nine doubles, 28 RBI and a .569 slugging percentage. Keim has a team-high 13 multi-hit games and seven multi-RBI games.
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.
Lyon is 8-11 on the season with 14 complete games and four shutouts. She has a 2.33 ERA, which ranks third in the Big Ten, with 74 strikeouts in 117 innings.
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.
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.
Senior Katie Keim set a school record with five runs scored, while senior Liz Watkins tied the single game school record with five hits.
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.
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.