Hawkeyes Remain in California

March 15, 2005

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Going Back to Cali
The University of Iowa softball team travels to Stockton, CA, on Wednesday to compete in the Pacific Mini Tournament. The Hawkeyes will face Rhode Island at 12:30 p.m. and Pacific at 2:30 p.m. Iowa will also face Utah on Thursday at 3 p.m. in Stockton.

The Hawkeyes will then travel to Sacramento, CA, to compete in the Capital Classic. Iowa will square off against Oregon State at 2:30 p.m. and Long Island at 5 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, Iowa will face Utah Valley State at 2:30 p.m. and second-ranked California at 5 p.m. Competition will conclude on Sunday against Rhode Island at 11 a.m. All times listed are central.

Hawkeyes Finish Third at NIST
The Hawkeyes won four games at the National Invitational Softball Tournament in Sunnyvale, CA, last weekend.

In group play, Iowa defeated Connecticut 5-0 and UC Davis 2-1 in eight innings. Lisa Birocci threw a two-hit shutout against UConn and struck out five. Emily Nichols went 2-3 and hit her ninth home run of the season. Ali Arnold picked up the win against UC Davis, going the distance while striking out 10. Nichols had the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Iowa opened up championship bracket play against San Jose State. The Hawkeyes used home runs from Stacy May, Natalie Johnson and Brandi Sargent to secure a 5-4 victory. May was 2-3 in the game.

The Hawkeyes faced second-ranked California in the semifinals and lost 7-2. Kylie Murray tied the game in the top of the fifth with a two-run double, but two costly Iowa errors in the bottom of the fifth allowed Cal to regain the advantage.

Birocci threw her 11th complete game and record her 11th win of the season in the third place game against Colorado State. Six Hawkeyes picked up a hit against Colorado State.

Scouting Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Rams are 1-7 this season.

Courtney Wall leads the Ram offense. She is batting .368 with two doubles, one home run and two RBI. Nicole Haywood is batting .360 with two doubles, one home run and six RBI.

Jaime Hughes is 1-2 with a 1.93 ERA inside the circle this season. She also leads the team with eight strikeouts.

This is the first meeting between the two teams.

Scouting Pacific
The Pacific Tigers are 12-8 this season.

Michelle Anunciation leads the Tiger offense. Anunciation is batting .369 with five doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI. Jennifer Curtier is batting .317 with three doubles, four home runs and 20 RBI.

Alyce Jorgensen and Natalie King lead the Tigers inside the circle. Jorgensen is 5-4 with a 3.02 ERA and has 20 strikeouts. King is 7-3 with a 3.11 ERA and 55 strikeouts.

Iowa leads the all-time series, 6-1.

Scouting Utah
The Utah Utes are 8-12 this season.

Offensively, Devina Quintero is batting .340 with four doubles, one home run and four RBI. Ivette Hernandez is batting .267 with six home runs and 17 RBI.

Brianna Gourdin and Lindsie Nielsen lead the Utes inside the circle. Gourdin is 5-6 with a 1.59 ERA and has a team-high 50 strikeouts. Nielsen is 3-5 with a 4.17 ERA and has 29 strikeouts.

Iowa leads the all-time series 4-3.

Scouting Oregon State
The Oregon State Beavers are 14-6 this season.

Mia Longfellow leads the Beaver offense. She is batting .358 with six doubles, three home runs and 15 RBI. Adrienne Alo has a .353 batting average to go along with four doubles, six home runs and 17 RBI.

Brianne McGowan leads the team inside the circle. She is 11-2 with a 2.28 ERA. She has 94 strikeouts to go with 31 walks.

Iowa leads the all-time series 1-0.

Scouting Long Island
The Long Island Blackbirds are 0-7 this season.

Offensively, Brina Mathiesen is batting .385 with three home runs and four RBI. Randi Gillespie is batting .294.

ChelseaCrosby is 0-4 with a 9.25 ERA while Jackie Brown is 0-3 with a 18.07 ERA.

Iowa leads the all-time series 2-1, including a 1-0 advantage this season.

Scouting Utah Valley State
The Utah Valley State Wolverines are 7-11 this season.

Rachel Hartgrove leads the Wolverine offense. She is batting .459 with seven doubles, two triples and two home runs. Amanda Kendzior leads the team with 16 RBI this season.

Jackie Rboerts leads the team inside the circle. She is 4-4 with a 3.00 ERA and has 40 strikeouts.

This is the first meeting between the two teams.

Scouting California
The second-ranked California Golden Bears are 22-2 this season.

Offensively, Vicky Galindo is batting .474 with three doubles and three RBI. Haley Woods is batting .329 with seven home runs and 29 RBI.

Kristina Thorson and Kelly Anderson lead the Bears inside the circle. Thorson is 11-1 with a 0.84 ERA and leads the team with 89 strikeouts. Anderson is 10-1 with a 0.94 ERA and has 65 strikeouts.

California leads the all-time series 10-8, including a 0-1 advantage this season.

Hawkeyes in the Rankings
Iowa is ranked 24th in the ESPN.com/USA Today Collegiate Softball poll. The Hawkeyes are listed as receiving votes in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll. Other Big Ten teams in the rankings include Michigan (5th/6th) and Northwestern (23/23).

Movin’ On Up
Senior Lisa Birocci is currently fourth on the career strikeout list (773). Junior Ali Arnold is seventh (348).

Have We Met?
Iowa will face two teams they have already played this season. The Hawkeyes defeated Long Island 6-0 in Tempe, AZ. California defeated Iowa 7-2 last weekend at the National Invitational Softball Tournament.

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.

Venturella Promoted
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 appearances (1995-97) and still holds three school records. Bilbao will be Iowa’s pitching coach.