May 2, 2006
The University of Iowa softball team (36-18, 11-6) wraps up regular season play this week against South Dakota State and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes finish the home portion of the schedule Tuesday with a doubleheader against South Dakota State starting at 4 p.m. Iowa travels to Wisconsin to face the Badgers Saturday and Sunday. First pitch will be at noon for both games.
On the Air
Game two of Iowa’s doubleheader against South Dakota State will be broadcast live on AM-800 KXIC. Steven Grace will handle play-by-play commentary. Pre-game will begin at roughly 5:45 p.m.
Hawkeyes on the Web
Fans who can’t make it to Pearl Field can access livestats (gametracker) via www.hawkeyesports.com. Just click on the gametracker link found on the front page or on the softball schedule page.
Gametracker will not be available for Iowa’s games at Wisconsin.
With two wins and one Ohio State loss this weekend, Iowa will lock up the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament. If the Hawkeyes split with Wisconsin, the Buckeyes will have to drop both games at Penn State in order for Iowa to finish third.
Northwestern can claim the regular season title with one win over Illinois. The Big Ten Tournament will be held at the regular season champion’s campus.
Iowa Splits With Penn State
Last Sunday at Pearl Field was full of rain delays and walk-off home runs as the Hawkeyes split a pair of games with Penn State. Iowa came away with a 4-3 victory in game one, but Penn State took game two, 1-0.
After game one was delayed nearly two hours because of rain delays, Stacy May hit a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning for the 4-3 win. Penn State followed in game two with its own walk-off solo home run off the bat of Jen Acunto in the sixth inning.
Due to Penn State’s travel plans, it was pre-determined that an inning could not start after 3:30 p.m. Game two was stopped after the sixth because of that decision.
Hawkeyes Take Ohio State
Iowa took advantage of six Buckeye errors to defeat Ohio State, 5-2 last Friday.
The Hawkeyes used three Buckeye miscues in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Summer Downs ripped a single that was mishandled by the Ohio State left fielder, which allowed Emily Nichols to score from second base.
Iowa took a 2-1 lead in the third when the Ohio State catcher attempted to throw out Mindy Heidgerken stealing third, but the throw sailed into left field and Heidgerken scored.
Game two was scheduled for Saturday, but heavy rains in the area washed out the contest.
Scouting South Dakota State
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are 21-32 overall this season.
Brooke Postma leads the Jackrabbit offense with a .280 batting average. Steph Kuhl leads the team with nine home runs and 33 RBI.
Kim Westendorf and Jenna Marston have pitched the majority of innings for South Dakota State. Westendorf is 12-16 with a 2.39 ERA, while Marston is 8-10 with a 3.79 ERA.
The Jackrabbits are coached by Shane Bouman. Iowa leads the all-time series, 5-0. Iowa defeated South Dakota State, 5-3 in 10 innings on March 25 in the Hawkeye Classic.
The Wisconsin Badgers are 21-31 overall and 5-10 in conference play.
Samantha Polito has started every game this season and has a .333 batting average. Katie Hnatyk leads the team with nine home runs and 32 RBI.
Eden Brock is 17-12 with a 3.38 ERA inside the circle for the Badgers. She also has a team-best 129 strikeouts.
The Badgers are coached by Chandelle Schulte. Iowa leads the all-time series, 20-4.
Weil Making Her Mark
Freshman pitcher Brittany Weil is already making her mark in the Iowa softball record books. Her 234 strikeouts this season ranks seventh for single-season strikeouts and ninth in career strikeouts at Iowa. Weil has thrown 28 complete games this season, which also ranks fourth in school history.
Weil also leads the Big Ten in wins (25), games started (31) and innings pitched (250.1).
Iowa is 6-0 when May goes deep and 5-0 when Murray or Nichols clears the fence.
Downs Likes the Big Ten
Sophomore Summer Downs leads the team with a .361 (13-36) batting average in Big Ten play. Downs also has one home run, four doubles and nine RBI in conference action.
Nichols Feels Right at Home
Sophomore Emily Nichols must like the surroundings at Pearl Field. She is batting .386 (22-57) with two home runs, seven doubles and 15 of her 33 RBI in home games. Nichols also has recorded a .614 slugging percentage at Pearl Field.
Plenty of RBIs
Iowa might want sophomore Emily Nichols at the plate with runners in scoring position. She leads the team with 33 RBI and is batting .412 (21-51) with runners in scoring position.
Closing In On School Records
Sophomore Emily Nichols blasted her fifth home run of the season against Illinois on April 1. Nichols, who has 21 career home runs, only needs nine more home runs to break the Iowa career home run mark of 29, set by Alicia Gerlach (1999-02).
Senior Stacy May has 50 career doubles, which is only two doubles shy of the career record of 52, held by Kari Knopf (1994-97).
Call Her Clutch
Junior Mindy Heidgerken must like being in the box in clutch situations. She is batting .500 with a runner on third and less than two outs and .600 with bases loaded.
West on the Basepaths
Freshman Rachel West leads the team with 14 stolen bases on 21 attempts. West has appeared in 45 games as a pinch-runner for the Hawkeyes.
Over 50 Free
Men and women ages 50 and older will receive free admission to all softball and baseball game (non post-season events) played at Pearl Field and Banks Field during the month of May. This is part of an greement with the Johnson County Chapter of AARP.
Individuals simply need to show proof of their age (AARP card or driver’s license) upon arrival at the ticket gate.