May 7, 2014
2014 BIG TEN SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT
University of Iowa softball heads to Evanston, Illinois to compete in the 2014 Big Ten Softball Tournament, May 8-10. The Hawkeyes enter the single elimination tournament as the No. 8 seed and will face No. 9 seed Illinois at 4:30 p.m. (CT) on Thursday. If victorious, the UI will face No. 1 seed Michigan at 4:30 p.m. (CT) on Friday. To view the full bracket and access other information, visit the event central page at nusports.com.
Fans can listen to a live audio broadcast for every game of the 2014 Big Ten Softball Tournament at hawkeyesports.com. Rob Brooks (play-by-play) and Jil Price (color) will call the action. Thursday's contest will be shown live online by the Big Ten Digital Network. Friday and Saturday games will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.
Live stats (Gametracker) are available for each Hawkeye game of the 2014 Big Ten Softball Tournament on the softball schedule page of hawkeyesports.com. For in-game updates, follow @IowaSoftball on Twitter and "like" Iowa Hawkeyes Softball on Facebook.
3 IN A ROW
Junior Megan Blank received her third-straight First Team All-Big Ten accolade and was also named to the conference's All-Defensive Team, as announced by the league office on Wednesday. The shortstop is the eighth Iowa player to earn first team distinction three times.
Blank leads the Hawkeyes in batting average (.366), slugging percentage (.611), on-base percentage (.455), hits (48), doubles (11), triples (3) and RBIs (25) this season. In Big Ten action, Blank is hitting at a .415 clip, is slugging .677 and has an on-base percentage of .506. Seven of her 11 doubles, two of her three triples, two of her five home runs and 15 of her 25 RBIs have come against conference foes.
The junior continues to climb the career charts at Iowa; she is currently third with a .400 batting average, sixth with 43 doubles, eighth with 18 home runs, ninth with 113 RBIs and 10th with 10 triples with one season remaining with the Hawkeyes. Blank leads the team with 13 multiple-hit games and six multiple-RBI games, has the longest reached base streak (14) and owns the longest hitting streak (9). She takes a six-game reached base streak into the 2014 Big Ten Tournament.
Senior outfielder and leadoff hitter Brianna Luna was also recognized by the Big Ten this Wednesday, receiving the team's Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen to receive the honor are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
The Hawkeye offense has hit 10 of its 23 total home runs in the last eight games of the regular season. Iowa knocked a season-high four balls out of the park on April 23 at Iowa State, hit a solo home run in game one at Indiana on April 25, ripped two home runs in game three at Indiana on April 27, added two more long balls against Northern Iowa on April 30 and hit a walkoff home run to secure a 3-2 win over Ohio State in the regular season finale on May 4. Megan Blank has hit four of the nine home runs in the stretch, followed by Brianna Luna and Erin Erickson who have each hit two out. Kayla Massey and Whitney Repole each contributed one home run in the last eight games.
Hawkeye upperclassmen Kayla Massey and Megan Blank continue to climb the career charts at Iowa. Massey -- a senior -- enters the 2014 Big Ten Softball Tournament fifth in complete games (87), sixth in innings pitched (732.1), eighth in games pitched (131), ninth in wins (54) and strikeouts (447) and 14th in home runs (15). Blank -- a junior -- ranks third in career batting average (.400), sixth in career doubles (43), eighth in career home runs (18), ninth in career RBIs (113) and 10th in career triples (10).
ERICKSON DELIVERS WALKOFF HOMER
With her team trailing by one run in the bottom of the seventh and one out remaining, sophomore Erin Erickson delivered a two-run, walkoff home run over the left field wall. The long ball gave the University of Iowa softball team a 3-2 win over Ohio State on Senior Day and secured head coach Marla Looper's 100th career win. It was Erickson's first career walkoff hit and her fourth home run of the season.
WELCOME TO THE 100 CLUB
Fourth-year head coach Marla Looper, her staff of Adrianna Baggetta, Stacy-May Johnson and Chelsey Carmody, and the 2014 senior class of Brianna Luna, Kayla Massey and Michelle Zoeller collected their 100th career win, 3-2, in the regular season finale at Pearl Field against Ohio State.
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 team enters the 2014 Big Ten Softball Tournament with 16 wins -- nine of which came in conference action.
As a team, Iowa ranks 19th in double plays per game (0.46) and 46th in triples per game (0.24).
Alyssa Navarro is 59th in sacrifice hits per game (0.21).
Megan Blank is 97th in triples (3).
Claire Fritsch is 97th in triples (3).
Iowa leads Illinois, 20-13, in the all-time series.
The teams opened the 2014 Big Ten slate in Champaign on March 21-23. Iowa recorded wins in game one, 4-3 after nine innings, and game two, 10-7, before falling to the Fighting Illini in the series finale, 4-3 after eight innings.
Hawkeye pitchers Kayla Massey and Shayla Starkenburg recorded the wins in the circle in game one and two, respectively.
Megan Blank and Holly Hoffman paced the offense hitting .500 on the weekend, followed by Kayla Massey and Whitney Repole who posted a .400 average in the three-game series. Massey hit two home runs and Repole added one.
Michigan leads Iowa, 53-55-1, in the all-time series.
The teams did not play one another during the course of the 2014 regular season.
In 2013, Iowa lost all three games of its conference series at Michigan. The Wolverines won by scores of 5-3, 8-6 and 8-0 after five innings.
The Hawkeyes last defeated Michigan, 4-2, on April 23, 2011.
LOOKING BACK: 2013 BIG TEN SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT
UI softball fell to Ohio State, 8-4, in the first round of the 2013 Big Ten Softball Tournament at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Kayla Massey gave Iowa an early lead with a two-run double and the Hawkeyes added two more runs in the fourth on a Bradi Wall groundout and Megan Blank single. The Buckeyes came rallying back in the fifth and sixth to record the 8-4 final win.