April 28, 2014
University of Iowa softball welcomes Western Illinois and Northern Iowa for midweek games at Bob Pearl Field in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes take on the Leathernecks on Tuesday, April 29 at 7 p.m. (CT) and the Panthers on Wednesday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. (CT).
Tuesday is a Blackout at Pearl Field, so be sure to wear black Hawkeye apparel to the game. The first 250 fans through the gates will receive a free Iowa softball water bottle. As a part of UI Faculty and Staff Night on Wednesday, all faculty and staff will receive free admission and can take part in a Homerun Derby following the game. The first 200 fans at the park will receive a complimentary Iowa softball coaster. It is also dollar hot dog night while supplies lasts.
Each midweek contest will be shown live online on the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN). A live audio stream will be available on the softball schedule page at hawkeyesports.com. Play-by-play announcer Rob Brooks will call the action.
Fans can follow along with every game this week through live stats (Gametracker). Gametracker links are available on the softball schedule page of hawkeyesports.com. For in-game updates, follow @IowaSoftball on Twitter and "like" Iowa Hawkeyes Softball on Facebook.
SERIES HISTORY: WESTERN ILLINOIS
Iowa leads Western Illinois in the all-time series, 26-20.
The Hawkeyes have won the last 14 meetings over the Leathernecks.
The last time the teams played, Iowa topped Western Illinois, 12-4 in six innings, at the Bama Bash tournament hosted by Alabama on Feb. 24, 2013.
The Leathernecks last defeated the Hawkeyes on April 18, 2000 by a score of 1-0.
SERIES HISTORY: NORTHERN IOWA
Iowa leads Northern Iowa, 28-16, in the all-time series.
The Hawkeyes have won the last two games played, 7-0 on April 26, 2012 and 10-1 in five innings on April 25, 2013, and seven of the last 10 contests over the Panthers.
The Panthers last defeated the Hawkeyes, 4-3 in eight innings, on April 26, 2012 in game one of a double header in Iowa City.
IN PURSUIT OF 100
Fourth-year head coach Marla Looper has a career coaching record of 99-100-1 (.498). She is just one win from achieving her 100th win as a head coach. Seniors Brianna Luna, Kayla Massey and Michelle Zoeller and Looper's coaching staff of Adrianna Baggetta, Stacy May-Johnson and Chelsey Carmody have been a part of each one of her career wins. Iowa 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.
The Hawkeye offense has averaged one home run per game in their last nine contests of the season. UI hit two in game two of its double header win over then-ranked No. 13 Missouri, a season-high four home runs in the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series game at Iowa State, a solo home run which proved to be the game-winning hit in the series-opening game at Indiana and two more in game three of the Indiana series. Nine of the team's 20 home runs hit this season have been knocked out of the park in the last 11 days.
Senior Kayla Massey and junior Megan Blank continue to climb their way up Iowa's career ranks. Massey is currently fifth in complete games (85), seventh in innings pitched (712.2), eighth in games pitched (128), ninth in wins (53) and strikeouts (431) and 14th in home runs (15). Blank ranks eighth in doubles (40), 10th in triples (10) and RBIs (109) and 12th in home runs (16).
As a team, Iowa ranks 15th nationally in double plays per game (0.48) and 60th in triples per game (0.21).
Alyssa Navarro is 60th in sacrifice hits per game (0.21).
Megan Blank is 83rd in triples (3) and 104th in triples per game (0.07).
SCOUTING THE LEATHERNECKS
Summit League Conference member Western Illinois brings an overall record of 18-23-1 into Tuesday's game. The roster is comprised of five freshmen, three sophomores, four juniors and six seniors. Ninth-year head coach Holly Van Vlymen leads the team, and she is assisted by Kevin Welch and Ashley Campbell. Six Leathernecks are hitting above .300 including Sammy Marshall (.472), Teagan Walsh (.377), Megg Kelly (.361), Alexis Ensminger (.333), Karissa Kouchis (.325) and Lia Romeo (.314). Pitchers Kayla Kirkpatrick and Kacyee Hart have a team-best six wins and own ERAs of 4.25 and 4.57, respectively.
A FAMILIAR FACE
Western Illinois head coach Holly Van Vlymen began her coaching career at the University of Iowa. She was on staff as the pitching coach from 2000-04 during which the Hawkeyes posted a 168-73 overall record, won two Big Ten titles and advanced to the 2001 College World Series.
A LOOK AT THE PANTHERS
Missouri Valley Conference member Northern Iowa enters Wednesday's game with a 25-18 overall record. The team is led by seventh-year head coach Ryan Jacobs, and he is assisted by Julie Gerdes and Matt Egger. The roster is made up of six freshmen, seven sophomores, two juniors and three seniors. Nine players on the team's roster of 18 are Iowa natives. Three Panthers are hitting above .300 including Alyssa Buchanan (.391), Rikki Alcaraz (.341) and Rachel Sedlacek (.333). Pitcher Jamie Fisher leads the team with a 3.04 ERA, 15 wins, 32 appearances, 26 starts, 19 complete games, four shutouts, 165.2 innings pitched, 120 strikeouts and two saves.
The Hawkeyes continue its home stand with its final Big Ten series of the season against Ohio State, May 2-4. Friday is 80s Night, Saturday is Alumni Day and Sunday is Senior Day for three Hawkeyes -- Brianna Luna, Kayla Massey and Michelle Zoeller.