Sept. 13, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa softball teams opens its fall slate Friday night with the Black and Gold Scrimmage at Pearl Field at 5 p.m. After ending last spring on the upswing, the Hawkeyes could not be more excited to get started.
"We ended on a good note last year," said third-year head coach Marla Looper. "That is our goal for this year -- to keep playing. It is a good time for people to stay on a positive vibe, come see us, and where we are at to know how we are going to be better this year."
Iowa finished the 2012 season 27-26 overall. The Hawkeyes finished runner-up in the Big Ten with a 16-8 league mark.
"The fall also allows for fans and parents to see what is new and fresh," said Looper. "They get to see the newcomers."
Seven freshmen join a Hawkeye roster that returns 16 letterwinners, including seven positional starters and both starting pitchers.
Iowa will have its deepest roster in years.
"We have enough student-athletes on our roster this year to intra-squad, which we haven't been able to do," said Looper. "That allows you to get that game speed. When you see your teammates every day, you start to understand their tendencies. A new opponent increases the speed of the game because now you have a different thought process. That definitely helps."
The Black and Gold Scrimmage presents a nice fall ball opening for the student-athletes and fans.
"It is informal, but also formal and game-like," said Looper. "We try and practice every day like it is a game, but it is a little harder. When you roll the ball out and you have two distinct different-colored uniforms, sometimes it is a little easier to get ready.
"It is going to be fun. It will be in the evening and hopefully we will have some fans come out, and football tailgaters to come over to Pearl Field and watch us. We are looking forward to it, and the girls are too."
Following the Black and Gold Scrimmage, the Hawkeyes travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the annual Big Four Classic. Iowa will face all three in-state rivals -- Iowa State, Drake and Northern Iowa. The Hawkeyes face the Cyclones at 2 p.m. and the Bulldogs at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. Iowa concludes play against the Panthers on Sunday, Sept. 23 at noon.
Following the Big Four Classic, the Hawkeyes will host five contests at Pearl Field. Iowa faces Muscatine Community College (Friday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m.), Iowa Central Community College (Friday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.) and Kirkwood Community College (Friday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m.) before closing its fall slate with a doubleheader against Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday, Oct. 13 (1 p.m. and 3 p.m).