Iowa Rides Winning Streak Into Michigan State

April 21, 2005

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

The Setting
The University of Iowa softball team (38-9, 8-4) travels to East Lansing, MI, to face the Michigan State Spartans (18-24-1, 6-6). The Hawkeyes and Spartans will square off Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. Both times listed are central.

The Hawkeyes return to Pearl Field Sunday to host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (24-21) in a doubleheader. Game one is scheduled for 1 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students and free for UI students and children five or younger.

Hawkeyes Pound Cyclones, Earn Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Title
The Hawkeyes defeated in-state rival Iowa State on Tuesday, 4-0 to help the University of Iowa clinch the first annual Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series title (13-8).

After two scoreless innings, Iowa plated two runs in the bottom of the third. Stacy May hit a towering shot over the left field fence to put the Hawkeyes up, 1-0. Later in the inning, Kylie Murray hit a two-out double and Emily Nichols followed with a single, scoring Murray for a 2-0 Iowa lead.

Sami Baugh blasted a double in the sixth inning, follwed by a Lisa Birocci single. The Iowa State shortstop threw the ball over first base, allowing Baugh to score. Brandi Sargent hit a slow line drive that went off the glove of the Iowa State first baseman and Birocci scored the final run of the contest.

Birocci (22-7) threw seven shutout innings and scattered two hits while striking out five.

Intercollegiate athletic teams from Iowa and Iowa State squared off in head-to-head competition nine different times during the 2004-05 academic year to determine the winner of the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk series, with Iowa winning five of those events.

Scouting Michigan State
The Michigan State Spartans are 18-24-1 overall and 6-6 in the Big Ten Conference.

Victoria Morache leads the Spartan offense. She is batting .319 with six doubles, one triple, one home run and six RBI. Traci Nicosia leads the team with 15 RBI.

Rachel Turney is 10-13 with a 1.80 ERA and leads the team with 134 strikeouts inside the circle for the Spartans.

Iowa leads the all-time series, 58-26.

Last Meeting
Iowa swept Michigan State in a doubleheader last season. The Hawkeyes won both games by 8-2 scores.

Sarah Thomson went a combined 5-7 with six RBI, three doubles, a triple and a home run. In game two, she was a single short of hitting for the cycle.

Stacy May went 6-8 with three runs scored and two doubles.

Ali Arnold threw five and two-thirds innings of relief in game one to pick up the win while Lisa Birocci struck out seven to earn the win in game two.

Scouting South Dakota State
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are 24-21 overall.

Ashley Kalina leads the Jackrabbit offense. She is batting .333 with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 26 RBI. Steph Kuhl has five home runs and 28 RBI.

Kim Westendorf is 14-14 with a 2.50 ERA inside the circle this season. She also leads the team with 144 strikeouts.

Iowa leads the all-time series, 1-0.

Last Meeting
Iowa pounded out 12 hits in a 9-0, five-inning victory over South Dakota State at the Hawkeye Classic earlier this season.

Mindy Heidgerken and Jenna Spratt hit back-to-back bunt singles and scored on a Stacy May double in the third inning. Emily Nichols followed with a home run to give Iowa a 4-0 advantage.

The Hawkeyes scored five runs in the fifth to secure the victory. Natalie Johnson hit a two-run double and Abby Ruff followed with her first career home run. Heidgerken scored the final run of the game on a wild pitch.

Ali Arnold threw five shutout innings and struck out nine.

We’re Goin’ Streaking
The Hawkeyes have won eightstraight games which ties their longest winning streak this season. Iowa rode an eight game winning streak before a 7-2 defeat by No. 2 California earlier this season.

She Can Hit Too
Senior pitcher Lisa Birocci has been hot in the circle and at the plate lately. In her last six games, Birocci is batting .455 (5-11) with one double, one triple and a home run to go along with four RBI and an .818 slugging percentage.

Birocci is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA and has 18 strikeouts in her last six games as well.

Movin’ On Up
Junior pitcher Ali Arnold is currently sixth on the all-time career strikeout list. She has 411 K’s in her career and has passed Diane Roorda, who recorded 389 strikeouts in her four-year career. Next on the list is current pitching coach Debbie Bilbao, who sits in fifth place with 476 K’s.

Hot With Runners On
When runners are on base, the Hawkeyes would like to have junior Kylie Murray digging in the batters box. She is hitting .421 (24-57) with runners on base.

Junior Stacy May is batting .410 (16-39) with runners in scoring position. She is second on the team with 27 RBI this season.

Birocci Becomes Strikeout Leader
With seven strikeouts against Northern Illinois, Lisa Birocci became Iowa’s all-time career strikeout leader. Birocci struck out seven of the 10 batters she faced in three innings of relief work to pass former Hawkeye all-American Kristi Hanks. Birocci’s career total stands at 839.

Team Sets Home Run Record
Freshman Emily Nichols blasted two home runs against Northern Illinois, increasing the team total to 42 homers on the season, which shattered the school record for team home runs in a season. The previous school record was 41 home runs, set by the 2003 squad. The Hawkeyes currently have 47 home runs this season.

Nichols Sets School Record
Freshman Emily Nichols entered the record books against Ball State on March 26, blasting her 11th home run which broke the single-season record. She leads the team in seven different offensive categories and has a season total of 15 homers.

Gerlick Undergoes Surgery
Junior outfielder Emily Gerlick underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ACL on March 15. Gerlick suffered the ACL tear during Iowa’s opening weekend at the Stetson Invitational on February 13. She will be out for the season.