April 19, 2012
All three games of the series at Michigan State will be broadcast in some capacity. Saturday's doubleheader will be streamed live on BTN.com's "Student U", while Sunday's finale will be televised live on the BTN. Lisa Byington will serve as the play-by-play, and Heather Lyke 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.
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.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
The Spartans have lost 14-of-their-last-15 games to fall to 11-30 overall and 0-12 in the Big Ten Conference. Last weekend Michigan State lost all three games against Michigan being outscored, 15-0.
MSU is batting .255 as a team and three Spartan players are hitting over .300. Kylene Hopkins is leading the team with a .409 batting average with 11 doubles, one triple and 19 RBI. Lori Padilla and Stephanie Sanders are hitting .341 and .305, respectively, and Sanders has a team-high four home runs.
The Spartans have a 6.44 team ERA and opposing batters are hitting .356 collectively. Cassee Layne has five wins in 20 starts and has a 7.43 ERA. Carly Nielsen is 3-13 with a 5.73 ERA.
Iowa leads the all-time series over Michigan State, 70-27. The Hawkeyes have won the last 11 meetings, 14-of-15 and 25-of-28. Last season, Iowa downed the Spartans, 5-3 and 9-8, at Pearl Field in Iowa City.
The Spartans last victory came at Central Michigan on April 4. MSU won a season-high three straight games at the Hoosier Classic on March 17-18, downing Illinois-Chicago, North Dakota and Wright State.
Kylene Hopkins is fourth in the Big Ten with a .409 batting average. She is tied for seventh in the conference with 47 hits.
The Hawkeyes rank third in the Big Ten Conference in team fielding (.965) and team pitching (2.68) and 10th in team batting (.254).
Senior Katie Keim (.429, 6-for-14), freshman Megan Blank (.412, 7-of-17) and junior Johnnie Dowling (.400, 6-of-15) are all hitting over .400 the last five games.
Senior Liz Watkins has had a hit in each of Iowa's last three games and is batting .500 during the span. She went 2-for-3 with an opposite field home run at Iowa State.
Iowa hit three home runs at Iowa State (Blank, Keim, Watkins). It was the team's second three-homer game of the season. Coincidentally, the Hawkeyes hit three long balls against the Cyclones in Tempe on Feb. 18.
Senior Liz Watkins hit her second home run of the season in Ames. It is the catcher's 25th career long ball, which is the third most in school history. The Hawkeyes are 1-10 in road games this season with their lone win coming at Northwestern on April 7.
Senior Liz Watkins has been plunked five times in Iowa's last seven games. She is leading the team with 11 hit by pitches this season.
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.
Freshman Melanie Gladden delivered the game-winning RBI single to lift the Hawkeyes to a 7-6 win over Nebraska on April 14. It was her second game-winning hit, as she had a two-run double in the 2-0 victory over Virginia. Gladden also drew a bases loaded walk to give the Hawkeyes the 1-0, 10-inning victory over Illinois.
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.
Sophomore Kayla Massey (2.65) and junior Chelsea Lyon (2.70) rank seventh and eighth in the Big Ten in ERA this season.
Senior Katie Keim is tied for 10th in the Big Ten in total bases (70), tied for 11th with 31 RBI and is 12th in slugging percentage (.583).
Iowa has 15 double plays this season and the .39 double plays per game ranks 32nd in the country.
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.
Twenty-two of Iowa's 39 games have been decided two runs or less. Iowa is 8-14 in such games. This includes a 4-3 setback at Iowa State where the Cyclones rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to claim the victory.
The Hawkeyes are 13-8 this season when scoring three or more runs and 13-8 when scoring the game's first run.
Three Iowa players -- Megan Blank, Katie Keim and Johnnie Dowling -- have started every game this season.
Freshman Megan Blank has reached base safely in 34-of-39 games for the Hawkeyes this season, including each of the past 13 contests. The shortstop has tallied at least one hit in 29-of-39 games, and she is second on the team with 14 multi-hit games.
Blank is a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week honoree, earning the distinction Feb. 13 after hitting .583 in the season-opening Getterman Classic and April 9 after hitting .667 and reaching base in 11-of-15 plate appearances in the three-game series at Northwestern.
Blank reached base safely in nine straight plate appearances over the course of three-straight games April 4 and April 7. She walked in her final at-bat against Drake before reaching in all eight plate appearances in the Saturday doubleheader at Northwestern.
Blank is second in the Big Ten Conference with a .413 batting average. She also is tied for first in doubles (13) and triples (4), tied for second in on-base percentage (.518), fourth in slugging percentage (.658), tied for seventh in total bases (73), and tied for ninth in hits (46).
The freshman ranked 14th in the nation in triples (4) and doubles per game (.34), 26th in on-base percentage (.522) and 44th in batting average (.417) on April 17.
Senior Katie Keim hit her team-leading sixth home run of the season at Iowa State on April 18. The six long balls are a career-high and surpass 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 .333, more than 70 points above her career average. She also has 10 doubles, 31 RBI and a .583 slugging percentage. Keim is leading the team with 13 multi-hit games and leads with eight multi-RBI games.
Junior Chelsea Lyon has allowed four hits or fewer in six of her starts on the season.
Lyon has four shutouts on the year, which includes a 10-inning, complete game shutout in the 1-0 victory over Illinois.
Lyon had a career-high 10 strikeouts in Iowa's 7-5 victory over Central Michigan on Feb. 18.
Lyon is limiting opposing batters to a career-low .239 batting average, and she has a career-low 2.70 ERA.
Lyon has tossed a complete game in 15 of her 22 starts during her junior season.
Sophomore Kayla Massey has allowed one earned run or fewer in nine of her 17 starts this season.
Massey threw a three-hit, complete game shutout in Iowa's 2-0 victory over Virginia on March 16. It was her third career seven inning three-hitter, as she accomplished the feat against Eastern Michigan and Colgate as a freshman.
Massey notched her 20th career victory in Iowa's 7-6 win over Nebraska on April 14.
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.
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.