Hawkeyes Wrap Up Regular Season

May 6, 2005

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The Setting
The University of Iowa softball team (45-10, 11-5) hosts the Illinois Fighting Illini (23-25, 3-13) in the final weekend of regular season play. Game time is set for 12 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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

Iowa Squeaks By Drake
The University of Iowa softball team scored one run in the bottom of the third to edge past the Drake Bulldogs, 1-0 Thursday at Pearl Field. The Hawkeyes improved their record to 45-10 heading into the final weekend of regular season play.

With two outs in the third inning, Stacy May ripped a double to left field and Summer Downs followed with a single to left, scoring May for the only run of the contest.

The Drake pitching staff limited the Hawkeyes to only four hits on the evening while the duo of Ali Arnold and Lisa Birocci gave up four hits as well. Birocci earned her 25th win of the season, throwing four innings of relief and allowing two hits while striking out six. Arnold started the game and threw three innings in the no decision. The junior struck out four.

May led the way offensively, going 2-3 with two doubles. Downs and Kylie Murray recorded Iowa’s only other hits.

Scouting Illinois
The Illinois Fighting Illini are 23-25 overall and 3-13 in the Big Ten Conference.

Jenna Hall leads the Illini offense. She is batting .333 with eight doubles, seven home runs and 37 RBI. Shanna Diller also has seven home runs this season.

Mary Miller is 14-10 with a 3.68 ERA inside the circle. She leads the team with 96 strikeouts. Claire DeVreese is 7-13 with a 4.47 ERA and has 90 K’s.

Iowa leads the all-time series, 6-5.

Last Meeting
The Hawkeyes fell to Illinois, 5-2 last season in Urbana, IL and were swept in the two-game series.

Both Iowa runs came on solo home runs from Natalie Johnson and Emily Gerlick. Ali Arnold took the loss, recording three strikeouts on the day.

Hawkeyes In The Rankings
Iowa is ranked 18th 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).

Honoring the `95 Squad
The 1995 Iowa softball team will be honored before Saturday’s game. The 1995 Hawkeyes were the first squad from the University of Iowa to qualify for the Women’s College World Series. They ended the season with a 41-26-1 overall record and finished third in the nation at the College World Series.

Senior Day
Sunday’s contest will be the last regular season home game for seniors Lisa Birocci and Abby Ruff. The duo will be honored prior to the game.

Staying In IC
Iowa wraps up the season with a 10-game home stand. The Hawkeyes are 16-2 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.

That’s Why She Bats Leadoff
Junior Stacy May has reached base safely in the first inning nine of her last 10 at bats, including the last seven. Since moving to the leadoff spot April 10th against Indiana, May is batting .563 (9-16) in her first at bat of the game.

Getting Hot At The Right Time
In her last five games, junior Kylie Murray is batting .500 (8-16) with one double, one home run and six RBI. She has also scored two runs and has a slugging percentage of .750 and an on base percentage of .500.

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 .425 (31-73) with runners on base.

In addition, she is batting .429 (21-49) 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 451 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 885.

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.

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.