Iowa To Face Drake

May. 3, 2005

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IOWA CITY – The Setting
The University of Iowa softball team (44-10) hosts the Drake Bulldogs (26-21) Thursday at Pearl Field. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students and free for UI students and children five or younger.

Iowa Sweep Minnesota
The Hawkeyes improved their conference record to 11-5 with a sweep over the Minnesota Golden Gophers Sunday. Iowa won game one, 2-0 and game two, 6-3.

In game one, the Hawkeyes jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first. Stacy May led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Summer Downs. Emily Nichols ripped a double past the Minnesota shortstop, scoring May.

The Hawkeyes struck again in the sixth when Sami Baugh belted her sixth home run of the season to score the final run of the game.

Baugh led the Hawkeye offense in game one, going 2-3 while Downs was 2-2. Lisa Birocci threw a complete game, two-hit shutout and struck out five batters.

The Hawkeyes scored in the first inning in game two as well. Kylie Murray blasted a double to center field that scored Downs for an early 1-0 lead, Murray knocked in another run in the third, scoring May on an RBI single and then hit a towering home run over the center field fence in the seventh to secure the victory. Murray finished the game with three hits and three RBI.

Ali Arnold recorded her 20th win of the season and Birocci picked up her seventh save.

Hawkeyes Top Badgers
Iowa outhit the Badgers, 7-2 en route to a 5-1 victory last Saturday.

The Hawkeyes plated two runs in the first. Kylie Murray hit a two-run single to score Summer Downs and Emily Nichols for an early lead.

Back-to-back Wisconsin errors in the fourth put runners on second and third for Mindy Heidgerken, who singled to knock in Lisa Birroci and Murray for a 4-1 lead.

Ali Arnold threw a complete game, two-hitter. The junior struck out seven and walked two.

Wisconsin Upsets Iowa
The Badgers scored six unanswered runs in the final two innings to score a 6-3 upset over the Hawkeyes.

Lisa Birocci belted a two-run home run over the right field fence to give Iowa a comfortable 3-0 lead in the fourth.

Wisconsin added four runs on four hits in the sixth and another two runs in the seventh to secure the win.

Ali Arnold picked up the loss, giving up three runs in two and two-thirds innings of relief. Birocci started the game, earning a no decision. The senior threw just over five innings and gave up three runs on five hits.

Scouting Drake
The Drake Bulldogs are 26-21 overall and 12-12 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Katie Wappler leads the Bulldog offense. She is batting .346 with 10 doubles, three triples, one home run and 23 RBI.

Jessica Hicks is 15-16 with a 3.02 ERA inside the circle this season. She leads the team with 192 strikeouts. Kristin Birocci, sister of Hawkeye pitcher Lisa Birocci, is 7-5 with a 2.33 ERA this season.

The Bulldogs are coached by former Hawkeye assistant, Rich Calvert.

Iowa leads the all-time series, 27-5.

Last Meeting
Iowa was shutout by Drake, 3-0 last season in Des Moines. The Hawkeyes managed to pick up only two hits off of Jessica Hicks.

Hawkeyes In The Rankings
Iowa is ranked 19th in the ESPN. com/USA Softball Collegiate Softball poll and 21st 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 15-2 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.

Taking an Early Lead
Iowa has scored at least one run in the first inning the previous seven games. The Hawkeyes are 19-3 when leading after the first inning.

What A Weekend
Junior Kylie Murray batted .500 (8-16) with one double, two home runs and nine RBI in five games last week. She now leads the team with a .348 batting average.

Ducks On The Pond
When runners are on base, the Hawkeyes would like to have junior Kylie Murray digging in the batters box. She is hitting .431 (31-72) with runners on base.

In addition, she is batting .438 (21-48) with runners in scoring position and .765 (13-17) with a runner on third and less than two outs.

Movin’ On Up
Junior pitcher Ali Arnold is currently sixth on the all-time career strikeout list. She has 447 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.

Heidgerken Coming On Strong
Sophomore Mindy Heidgerken is batting .438 (10-21) in conference play. She has four doubles and has scored seven runs while recording a slugging percentage of .719 in 16 conference games.

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.

You Can But It On The Board
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 57 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.