Iowa Entertains Western Illinois

April 25, 2005

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The Setting
The University of Iowa softball team (40-9) hosts the Western Illinois Westerwinds (19-22) Tuesday. Game time at Pearl Field is set for 6 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students and free for UI students and children five or younger.

Hawkeyes Sweep South Dakota State In Slugfest
The Hawkeyes collected two wins against South Dakota State last Sunday. Iowa won game one, 5-0 and picked up its 40th victory of the season in game two, 14-1. Both games were five-inning affairs.

Iowa outhit South Dakota State 22-5 and smashed four home runs on the day. Game one started off quickly when leadoff hitter Stacy May belted her ninth home run of the season over the left field fence. Emily Nichols added another home run in the second, blasting her 16th of the season. Three Hawkeyes collected multiple hits. Brandi Sargent was 3-3 with two RBI, while Nichols and Sami Baugh each went 2-3 with two RBI.

Ali Arnold improved her record to 16-2 with the win. The junior threw five shutout innings and allowed two hits and struck out five.

Iowa’s bats were even hotter in game two, scoring at least two runs in each of the five innings. Kylie Murray hit a three-run home run to right center field in the second and Baugh added a two-run homer in the fourth. Baugh led the Hawkeyes in game two, going 3-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Murray and Nichols each went 2-4.

Lisa Birocci went the distance and allowed one run on three hits and sruck out seven.

Scouting Western Illinois
The Western Illinois Westerwinds are 19-22 overall and 10-6 in the Mid-Continent Conference.

Jess Stanforth leads the Westerwind offense. She is batting .352 with 12 doubles, eight home runs and 23 RBI.

Karenmarie Pena is 14-11 with a 3.43 ERA inside the circle. She also leads the team with 157 innings pitched and 117 strikeouts. Chris Drankiewicz has thrown 61 innings and has a 2.40 ERA.

Last Meeting
Iowa defeated Western Illinois, 5-1 in Macomb, IL, last season.

Western Illinois jumped out to an early 1-0 in the bottom of the first when Jess Stanforth blasted a solo home run.

The Hawkeyes responded in the third when Mindy Heidgerken drilled a three-run home run over the left field fence.

Iowa added two more runs in the third when Elisha Huse ripped a two-run single, scoring Amanda Hentges and Sarah Thomson.

Ali Arnold allowed one run on five hits and struck out 10.

Hawkeyes in the Rankings
Iowa is ranked 20th in the ESPN. com/USA Softball Collegiate Softball poll and 22nd in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll. Other Big Ten team in the rankings include Michigan (1st/1st) and Northwestern (15th/15th).

Rankings used are from the previous week. Updated rankings are released every Wednesday.

Staying in IC
Iowa wraps up the season with a 10-game home stand. The Hawkeyes are 10-1 at Pearl Field this season.

Reaching 40 Wins
The Hawkeyes have eclipsed the 40-win mark for the 11th time in the program’s history, all of which have come under head coach Gayle Blevins.

Iowa has qualified for the NCAA tournament eight of the previous 10 seasons they have won over 40 games.

Iowa won over 40 games in both the 1990 and 1999 seasons, but were not selected for the NCAA tournament.

Baugh Coming On
Sophomore catcher Sami Baugh hit .600 (6-10) with three doubles, one home run and five RBI in three games last week. Baugh recorded a slugging percentage of 1.200 and tagged 12 total bases last week.

We’re Goin’ Streaking
The Hawkeyes have won 10-straight games which is 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.

Movin’ On Up
Junior pitcher Ali Arnold is currently sixth on the all-time career strikeout list. She has 416 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 .426 (26-61) with runners on base.

In addition, she is batting .714 (10-14) with runners on second and third and less than two outs.

Junior Stacy May is batting .400 (16-40) with runners in scoring position. She is second on the team with 29 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 51 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 16 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.