May 3, 2012
All three games of this weekend's three-game series at Ohio State will be available in some capacity. Saturday's doubleheader will be televised live on the BTN beginning at 5 p.m. with Lisa Byington and Jennie Ritter on the call. Sunday's finale will be streamed live on BTN.com.
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. The first two games of the series will also be broadcast live 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.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes have lost their last four Big Ten series to fall to 28-20 overall and 7-10 in conference play. Last weekend, Ohio State lost 2-of-3 games at Northwestern. OSU won the opener, 6-2, before falling 3-1 and 8-5 in games two and three.
Ohio State is batting .286 as a team, and six players are hitting at least .295. Shortstop Alicia Herron is pacing the squad with a .381 average with six doubles, four triples and 12 home runs. She has scored 44 times and driven in 45, while stealing 10 bases in 11 chances. Evelyn Carrillo is hitting .321 with 41 RBIs, while Taylor Watkins and Danielle LeBeau are hitting .354 and .328, respectively.
Mikayla Endicott and Melanie Nichols have started all but one game for the Buckeyes in the circle. Endicott is 16-12 with a 2.74 ERA with three complete game shutouts. She has 165 strikeouts in 171 innings of work. Nichols is 11-8 overall with a 3.33 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 111.1 innings pitched.
Iowa leads the all-time series, 61-36. The Hawkeyes swept the series in Columbus last season, winning 5-3 and 7-2. Iowa has won 9-of-the-last-14 meetings in the series.
Alicia Herron is tied for the Big Ten lead with 12 home runs, 44 runs scored, a .778 slugging percentage and a .547 on-base percentage. She is tied for second with four triples and 45 RBIs, and is fourth in batting average (.381).
The Buckeyes are fifth in the Big Ten in hitting (.286), seventh in pitching (3.16) and 11th in fielding (.953).
BIG TEN RACE HEATS UP
Two weekends remain in the Big Ten softball season and four conference teams are within one game of first-place Michigan. The Wolverines hold a 13-5 mark, but are just one-half game ahead of second-place Nebraska and Purdue, which hold matching 12-5 conference records. Iowa and Wisconsin are tied for fourth place in the standings at 12-6 in the Big Ten, just one game back of Michigan.
Here are the remaining conference schedules for the top-five teams in the standings:
Michigan - at Wisconsin (5/5-6), Purdue (5/11-13)
Purdue - at Minnesota (5/5-6), at Michigan (5/11-13)
Nebraska - at Indiana (5/5-6), Wisconsin (5/11-12)
Wisconsin - at Michigan (5/5-6), at Nebraska (5/11-12)
Iowa - at Ohio State (5/5-6), at Minnesota (5/11-12)
The Hawkeyes rank second in the Big Ten Conference in team pitching (2.30), third in team fielding (.966) and ninth in team batting (.262).
Iowa has won three straight Big Ten series dating back to April 14. The last time the Hawkeyes claimed three consecutive league series came during the 2005 season when the UI downed Penn State, Ohio State and Indiana. Iowa has won 7-of-its-last-8 conference games.
Sophomore Kayla Massey is 4-1 with a 0.40 ERA over her last five starts with three complete game shutouts. She has allowed two earned run in 35 innings and has 25 strikeouts. She is limiting batters to a .216 batting average during the stretch.
Senior Katie Keim has started 200 career games -- including the last 129 straight -- and has played in every possible game (204) of her Hawkeye career. She has started games at first base, second base, shortstop, third base and designated player.
Senior Liz Watkins is hitting .500 with three home runs, six RBIs and six runs scored over Iowa's last 10 games. The catcher, who is riding a six-game hitting streak, is 13-of-26 from the plate to go along with six walks and three hit by pitches.
Watkins currently ranks third in UI history with 27 home runs and tied for fifth with 131 RBIs. She is four RBIs shy of third place in the record books.
Junior Johnnie Dowling is second on the team with a .371 (23-of-62) batting average in Big Ten play. The outfielder had a three-run triple in Iowa's game two win over Indiana.
During the last 10 games, Iowa has out scored its opposition, 50-15. The Hawkeyes have four players hitting over .300 and are batting .290 as a team. The pitching staff has a 1.29 ERA with four shutouts during the stretch.
Keim hit 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.
In Iowa's sweeps of Illinois and Michigan State, the pitching staff was dominant. Chelsea Lyon and Massey combined to go 6-0 with a 0.48 ERA with two shutouts. The duo allowed four runs (three earned) in 44 innings.
Massey (2.15) and Lyon (2.46) rank fourth and sixth in the Big Ten in ERA this season.
Keim is eighth in the Big Ten in total bases (84), 10th in RBIs (36) and home runs (8) and 12th in slugging percentage (.575).
Keim's eight home runs are tied for the 12th most in a single season in UI history.
Iowa had five double plays in the three-game series against Indiana to give it 23 for the season. The .49 double plays per game ranks seventh nationally.
Twenty-four of Iowa's 45 games have been decided by two runs or less. Iowa is 9-15 in such games.
Iowa is 1-9 against ranked competition in 2012 with its lone victory coming against No. 23 Oklahoma State, 6-5, on March 3 in Oklahoma City.
Freshman Megan Blank has reached base safely in 41-of-47 games for the Hawkeyes this season, including 20 of the last 21 games. The shortstop has tallied at least one hit in 36-of-47 games, and she is tied for the team lead with 17 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's 17 doubles are tied for the fourth most in a single season in Iowa history, while her five triples are tied for the eighth most in the record books. Her .409 batting average would be the third best in a single season all-time.
Blank is second in the Big Ten Conference with a .409 batting average. She is also leading the league in triples (5), second in doubles (17) , third in slugging percentage (.650), fifth in on-base percentage (.500) and total bases (89) and tied for fifth in hits (56).
Blank ranks fifth nationally in doubles per game (.36), 11th in triples (5), 12th in triples per game (.11) and 39th in batting average (.409).
Senior Katie Keim hit her team-leading eighth home run of the season in Iowa's 10-0, run-rule victory over Indiana on Senior Day in Iowa City. The eight long balls in 2012 are more home runs than Keim hit in her first three seasons as a Hawkeye, and they are tied for the 12th most in a single season in school history.
Keim saved the best for last, posting career-best numbers in nearly every statistical category as a senior. She is hitting .322, more than 70 points above her career average. She also has 11 doubles, 36 RBIs and a .575 slugging percentage. Keim is tied for the team lead with 17 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI games.
Junior Chelsea Lyon has allowed four hits or fewer in seven starts on the season.
Lyon has allowed one earned run or fewer in 11 starts.
Lyon has five shutouts on the year, which includes a 10-inning, complete game shutout in the 1-0 victory over Illinois. She scattered four hits in the 4-0 shutout of Indiana on April 28.
Lyon had a career-high 10 strikeouts in Iowa's 7-5 victory over Central Michigan on Feb. 18. She finished with eight strikeouts -- the second most of the season -- in the 7-1 win at Michigan State.
Lyon is limiting opposing batters to a career-low .235 batting average, and she has a career-low 2.46 ERA.
Lyon has tossed a complete game in 18 of her 25 starts during her junior season.
Sophomore Kayla Massey was named the Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week on April 23 after going 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA in Iowa's three-game sweep at Michigan State. Massey scattered four hits and seven strikeouts in the complete game shutout in the series opener.
Massey is 4-1 with a 0.40 ERA over her last five starts with three complete game shutouts. She has allowed two earned run in 35 innings and has 25 strikeouts. She is limiting batters to a .216 batting average during the stretch.
Massey had a season-high eight strikeouts in Iowa's 7-0 win over Northern Iowa on April 26. She scattered six hits in posting her fourth complete game shutout of the season.
Massey now has eight career shutouts, five as a sophomore and three as a freshman. She is 24-22 with a 2.71 ERA in 46 career starts.
Massey has allowed one earned run or fewer in 14 of her 22 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 allowed just two hits -- her first career two-hitter -- in a five-inning complete game shutout victory over Indiana on April 29.
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.
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.
Dowling is hitting .293 this season from the left side of the plate, which is a career-best. She also has career highs in runs (28), hits (44) and walks (8).
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.