March 1, 2005
IOWA CITY – Welcome To Atlanta
The University of Iowa softball team travels to Atlanta, GA this weekend to compete in the Buzz Classic, hosted by Georgia Tech University. The 19 team tournament includes Big Ten foes Purdue and Ohio State The Hawkeyes will first compete in group play, starting with a doubleheader against Georgia Southern at 3 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, Iowa will face Auburn at 3 p.m. and Middle Tennessee State at 5 p.m. The top 12 teams will advance to the single-elimination championship bracket with games starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Quarterfinal games will start at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
Hawkyes Play Well In Kentucky
The Hawkeyes went a combined 3-1 at the Courtyard by Mariott Red and Black Tournament in Louisville, KY. Iowa defeated Minnesota 3-0, Louisville 5-3 and Ball State 8-0. The Hawkeyes lost to #24 Missouri 3-1.
Lisa Birocci pitched a complete game shutout against the Golden Gophers and struck out 10. Summer Downs and Natalie Johnson both collected multiple hits and Sami Baugh hit her second home run of the season.
Ali Arnold picked up her second win of the season against Louisville. The junior threw five innings and struck out five. Birocci recorded her second save, throwing two innings of relief. Stacy May had a hot bat against the Cardinals, going 3-4 with two RBIs.
Iowa played a hard fought contest against Missouri, but came up short in extra innings. Birocci gave up a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning and Missouri took the lead 3-1. The Hawkeyes couldn’t plate the tying run in their half of the eighth. Baugh was 2-3 against the Tigers.
Arnold threw a two-hit shutout and struck out 11 in a 8-0, six inning victory over Ball State. Downs was 2-3 with two RBIs while Jenna Spratt went 2-4.
Scouting Georgia Southern
The Georgia Southern Eagles are 10-10 this season.
Shanita Black leads the Eagle offense. Black is batting .457 and also has 13 stolen bases. Robyne Siliga has four home runs for the Eagles.
A.J. Street is 4-4 inside the circle with a team leading 1.35 ERA. Logan Free is 5-3 and leads the team with 48 strikeouts.
The Hawkeyes lead the series record, 1-0.
Scouting Middle Tennessee State
The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders are 2-3 this season.
Offensively, Liz Davis leads the team with a .438 batting average. Jennifer Dorais is batting .364.
Crystal Bobo is 2-1 with a 0.91 ERA. Ashley Katinas has 13 strikeouts this season.
This is the first time Iowa has faced Middle Tennessee State.
The Auburn Tigers are 18-5 this season.
Holly Currie leads the Tiger offense, batting .415 with five home runs and 25 RBIs. Currie also has a .800 slugging percentage. Kristina McCain is batting .400.
Beth DiPietro is 8-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 56 strikeouts. Holly Currie is 8-4 with a 1.69 ERA and leads the team with 91 strikeouts.
Iowa leads the overall series, 1-0
Hawkeyes in the Rankings
Iowa is listed as receiving votes in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball and the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association polls. Michigan is rated 8/8 while Northwestern is rated 23/RV.
Downs on Fire
Freshman Summer Downs hit a combined 6-13 (.462) at the Red and Black Tournament last weekend. The San Diego, CA native collected two doubles, three RBIs and scored four runs. Downs also stole one base against Ball State.
Touch `em All
Sophomore Sami Baugh leads the team with two home runs this season. She has three career home runs.
Stellar in the Field
The Hawkeyes have a team fielding percentage of .955. Six Hawkeyes have a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
Weinberg Joins Team
Senior Barb Weinberg has joined the Iowa softball team. Weinberg was a two-time all-American and three-time all-Big Ten goalkeeper for the Iowa field hockey team. She was selected to the U.S National field hockey team in January.
Michelle Venturella enters the 2005 season as Iowa’s first ever associate head coach. Head Coach Gayle Blevins announced the promotion last July. Venturella serves as the Hawkeye recruiting coordinator and hitting coach along with coaching the Iowa catchers. As a member of the USA softball team she garnered four medals, one of which was the gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Bilbao Returns to Iowa
Former all-American Debbie Bilbao has been hired as Iowa’s new assistant coach. Bilbao was head coach at Utah State from 2002-04 before making the move back to Iowa.
As a player, Bilbao helped guide the Hawkeyes to three straight College World Series appearaces (1995-97) and still holds three school records. Bilbao will be Iowa’s pitching coach.