May 9, 2012
All three games of the weekend series at Minnesota will be available in some capacity. Friday's series opener will be televised live on the Big Ten Network with Marney Gellner handling the play-by-play and Stacey Phillips serving as the color commentator. Both games of Saturday's double dip 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 final game of the series at Minnesota will be aired 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.
Minnesota brings a 30-20 overall and a 9-12 Big Ten record into this weekend's three game series. The Gophers have won three of their last four conference series, taking 2-of-3 from Michigan, Purdue and Northwestern. The team lost all three games at Penn State on April 28-29.
Minnesota, which is hitting .269 as a team, has a pair of players hitting over .300 on the year. Tyler Walker is batting .377 with nine home runs, eight doubles, two triples and 28 RBIs. She has a team-high 61 hits and 45 runs scored. Third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson has a .350 batting average with 10 home runs, 15 doubles and 37 RBIs. Kari Dorle is tied for the team-high with 10 long balls to go along with 47 RBIs. Ten different Minnesota players have hit at least one home run and have at least 19 RBIs on the year.
Sophomore Sara Moulton has started all but 12 games for the Gophers in 2012, where she has posted a 24-13 record with a 1.59 ERA. Moulton has 290 strikeouts in 238.1 innings, allowing 161 hits and 74 runs (54 earned). Opponents are batting .186 against the righthander.
The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series over Minnesota, 56-37. The two teams split a mid-week doubleheader last season in Minneapolis with the Gophers winning game one 4-2 before the Hawkeyes won game two, 2-1. Iowa has won 12-of-14 and 24-of-28 games in the series dating back to 1996.
The Gophers have won 30 games for consecutive seasons for the first time since 2003 and 2004.
UM pitcher Sara Moulton ranks 39th in the country and second in the Big Ten with a 1.59 ERA. She is also ninth in the country with 290 strikeouts. Moulton has two no-hitters and has 10 or more strikeouts 13 times.
BIG TEN RACE UP FOR GRABS
Five Big Ten squads enter the final weekend of the regular season with an opportunity to clinch a share of the conference crown. Michigan, with its 15-5 Big Ten record, maintains a 1.5-game lead over second-place Iowa at 14-7. Purdue is two games back at 13-7, while Nebraska and Wisconsin are three back at 12-8.
Here are the remaining conference schedules for the top-five teams in the standings:
Michigan - Purdue (5/11-13)
Purdue - at Michigan (5/11-13)
Nebraska - Wisconsin (5/11-12)
Wisconsin - at Nebraska (5/11-12)
Iowa - at Minnesota (5/11-12)
The Hawkeyes rank second in the Big Ten Conference in team pitching (2.28), third in team fielding (.966) and ninth in team batting (.267).
Iowa has won four straight Big Ten series dating back to April 14. The last time the Hawkeyes claimed four consecutive league series came during the 2004 season. The Hawkeyes have used the same starting lineup and batting order in each of the last 11 games.
Sophomore Kayla Massey is 5-2 with a 0.58 ERA over her last seven starts with four complete game shutouts. She has allowed four earned run in 48.2 innings and has 29 strikeouts.
The Iowa pitching staff has allowed one run or fewer in eight of its last 10 starts. The Hawkeyes have a 1.09 team ERA during the stretch with four shutouts.
Senior Katie Keim has started 203 career games -- including the last 132 straight -- and has played in every possible game (207) of her Hawkeye career. She has started games at first base, second base, shortstop, third base and designated player.
Senior Liz Watkins is batting .500 (13-of-26) with five RBIs and four runs scored over Iowa's last 10 games.
Watkins currently ranks third in UI history with 27 home runs and fifth with 133 RBIs. She is two RBIs away from third place in the record books.
Sophomore Michelle Zoeller is batting .321 with seven RBIs over the team's last 10 games. The designated player is hitting .393 (11-of-28) in Big Ten play with seven RBIs.
Junior Johnnie Dowling tied a career high with a pair of three hit games at Ohio State last weekend. The outfielder is leading the team with a .411 conference batting average -- tied for seventh in Big Ten play -- and she has pushed her overall average to .317. She is currently riding a career-best seven-game hitting streak.
During the last 10 games, Iowa has out scored its opposition, 51-14. The Hawkeyes have four players hitting over .300 and are batting .290 as a team.
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 (2.06) and Lyon (2.52) rank fourth and seventh in the Big Ten in ERA this season.
Keim is seventh in the Big Ten in total bases (90), tied for seventh in doubles (13), 10th in RBIs (37), 11th in slugging percentage (.573) and home runs (8).
Keim's eight home runs are tied for the 12th most in a single season in UI history.
Iowa is leading the Big Ten with 25 double plays this season. The .50 double plays per game rank sixth nationally.
Twenty-six of Iowa's 50 games have been decided by two runs or less. Iowa is 10-16 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 42-of-50 games for the Hawkeyes this season, including 21 of the last 24 games. The shortstop has tallied at least one hit in 37-of-50 games, and she is second on the team lead with 18 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 .397 batting average would be the eighth best in a single season all-time.
Blank is third in the Big Ten Conference with a .397 batting average. She is also first in triples (5), second in doubles (17), fifth in slugging (.623) and on-base (.486) percentage, sixth in total bases (91) and tied for eighth in hits (58).
Blank ranks 11th nationally in triples (5), 12th in doubles per game (.34) and 15th in triples per game (.10)
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 .325, more than 70 points above her career average. She also has 13 doubles, 37 RBIs and a .573 slugging percentage. Keim is leading the team lead with 19 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 .233 batting average, and she has a career-low 2.52 ERA.
Lyon has tossed a complete game in 19 of her 26 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 tossed her first career one-hitter in the 2-0 victory at Ohio State last weekend. The sophomore has four complete game shutouts over her last seven starts.
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 nine career shutouts, six as a sophomore and three as a freshman. She is 25-23 with a 2.64 ERA in 48 career starts.
Massey has allowed one earned run or fewer in 15 of her 24 starts this season. She has allowed four hits or fewer in seven starts.
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 .317 this season from the left side of the plate, which is a career-best. She also has career highs in runs (33), hits (51) and walks (9). The junior has 15 multi-hit games and is hitting over .400 in Big Ten play.
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.