May 16, 2006
IOWA CITY – The Setting
The University of Iowa softball team (39-20) will host the Region 10 NCAA Softball Tournament this weekend. No. 10 seed California, Nebraska and Illinois State will join the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.
Iowa opens regional action Friday at 4:30 p.m. against Nebraska. Below is a schedule of the Iowa City region. The tournament format is double elimination.
Friday, May 19
Game 1 – Nebraska vs. Iowa, 4:30 p.m.
Game 2 – #10 California vs. Illinois State, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 20
Game 3 – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 2 p.m.
Game 4 – Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, 4:30 p.m.
Game 5 – Loser of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4, 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 21
Game 6 – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5, Noon
Game 7 – Winner of Game 6 vs. Loser of Game 6, 2:30 p.m. (if neccessary)
Hawkeyes on the Web
Fans who can’t make it to Pearl Field can access free audio broadcasts of all Iowa games via the All-Access page on www.hawkeyesports.com.
Fans can also check out the NCAA Regional page found on www.hawkeyesports.com. Live stats (gametracker), box scores, game stories and other updates will be available for all tournament games.
Iowa in NCAA Tournament
The Hawkeyes hold a 29-27 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, including a 24-19 mark in regional action.
Iowa has advanced to the College World Series four times (1995-97, 2001) and holds a 5-8 record at the CWS.
Home Sweet Home
Iowa is hosting an NCAA regional for the seventh time in school history and the first time since 2002.
The Hawkeyes hold a 12-6 record in regional games played in Iowa City and advanced to the College World Series three times (1996-97, 2001) out of the Iowa City regional.
Haven’t We Met?
Iowa is 8-10 all-time vs. Nebraska and California, while the Hawkeyes hold a 30-14 advantage over Illinois State.
The Hawkeyes faced both California and Illinois State earlier this season. Iowa defeated Illinois State twice (9-3, 10-2) but fell to California (1-0).
In addition, Iowa is 2-3 all-time vs. Nebraska in the NCAA Tournament and 1-0 vs. California.
Tough Schedule in `06
The Hawkeyes posted an 8-13 record against 13 teams that were selected for the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa is 2-0 vs. Illinois State, 1-0 vs. Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada, 1-1 vs. Michigan, Indiana and Penn State, 0-1 vs. Tennessee, Southern Illinois, Long Island and California, 0-2 vs. Northwestern and 0-4 vs. Arizona State.
Big Ten Accolades
Six Hawkeyes were selected to all-Big Ten teams. Sophomore Summer Downs was named first team all-Big Ten as the designated player. Senior Stacy May earned second team honors at shortstop. Freshmen Erin Riemersma and Brittany Weil, sophomore Emiy Nichols and junior Mindy Heidgerken were all third team selections. Riemersma was chosen at second base, Weil at pitcher, Nichols at third and Heidgerken in center field.
Heidgerken boasts a 3.84 grade point average and is majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications along with art. She finished the regular season with a .300 batting average with four home runs, seven doubles, three triples and 25 RBI.
May, who has a 3.38 grade point average, is majoring in accounting and physics. She leads the team in batting average (.344), runs (40), hits (63) and home runs (6). Both May and Heidgerken have started all 59 games for the Hawkeyes.
Another Milestone Approaching
Iowa Head Coach Gayle Blevins is just one win shy of reaching 1,100 career victories and 800 wins at Iowa.
Blevins is in her 19th year as Iowa’s head coach and her 26th season overall.
Weil Making Her Mark
Freshman pitcher Brittany Weil is already making her mark in the Iowa softball record books. Her 259 strikeouts this season ranks fourth for single-season strikeouts and eighth in career strikeouts at Iowa. Weil has thrown 32 complete games this season, which also ranks second in school history.
In overall games, Weil leads the Big Ten in wins (27), innings pitched (279.1) and games started (35). In Big Ten games only, she leads the conference in innings pitched (119.2), games started (17) and batters struck out looking (30). Weil is tied for first in wins (12) and appearances (19).
Ducks on the Pond
The Hawkeyes might want sophomore Emily Nichols at the plate with runners on base. Nichols leads the team with 34 RBI and is batting .393 with runners in scoring position. She also has a .625 average with a runner on third and less than two outs.
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 to break the Iowa career home run mark of 29, set by Alicia Gerlach (1999-02).
Senior Stacy May has 51 career doubles, which is only one double shy of the career record of 52, held by Kari Knopf (1994-97).
Iowa is 6-0 when either May or Murray goes deep and 5-0 when Nichols or Riemersma clears the fence.
Downs and Nichols Love Pearl
Summer Downs and Emily Nichols must like the surroundings at Pearl Field. Downs is batting .419 with two home runs and eight RBI in 15 home games. Nichols has a .365 batting average to go along with two home runs, seven doubles and 15 RBI in 21 games played at Pearl Field.
If History Repeats Itself…
The Hawkeyes are hoping Stacy May can repeat her performance at the 2005 NCAA Tournament. May batted .583 and collected seven of Iowa’s 12 total hits in the 2005 tournament. She also scored all of Iowa’s runs, including a game-winning, solo home run against Nebraska in an elimination game.
Downs Riding Hit Streak
Sophomore Summer Downs brings an 11-game hitting streak into the NCAA Regional Tournament. Downs has collected 15 hits in her last 11 games, including a perfect 3-3 performance against South Dakota State.
The 14th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers are 42-10 overall and 13-4 in the Big 12 Conference.
The Cornhusker offense is led by Lizzy Aumua, who is batting .385 with three triples, six doubles and 16 RBI. Crystal Carwile supplies the power to Nebraska’s offense with 12 home runs and 42 RBI.
Ashley DeBuhr and Molly Hill have split time in the circle for the Cornhuskers. DeBuhr has started 28 games with a 24-8 record. She also has a team-best 1.38 ERA and 272 strikeouts. Hill is 18-2 with a 1.83 ERA and 169 strikeouts.
Nebraska and Iowa have eight common opponents this season. The Cornhuskers are 3-0 vs. South Dakota State, 2-0 vs. Northern Iowa, 1-0 vs. Nevada and Illinois, 1-1 vs. Iowa State and 0-1 vs. North Carolina and Indiana.
The sixth-ranked California Golden Bears enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 10 seed with a 44-12 overall record and a 12-9 record in Pac-10 play.
Lindsay James leads the Golden Bears with a .383 batting average. Haley Woods has a team-best 14 home runs, 14 doubles and 51 RBI.
Kristina Thorson paces the Golden Bears in the circle with a 32-8 record. Thorson also has a 0.82 ERA with 399 strikeouts.
California and Iowa have 10 common opponents this season. The Golden Bears are 2-0 vs. Illinois, Santa Clara and Sacramento State, 1-0 vs. Florida International, Southern Illinois, North Dakota State, Long Island and Penn State, 1-2 vs. Arizona State and 0-1 vs. Northwestern.
Scouting Illinois State
The Illinois State Redbirds are 37-14 overall and 19-4 in the Missouri Valley.
Tricia Gaither is batting .344 to lead the Redbird offense while Amber Smith leads the team with 17 home runs and 50 RBI.
Stacy Birk and Shannon Nicholson have each seen time in the circle. Birk is 21-9 with a 2.32 and a team-high 160 K’s. Nicholson is 16-5 with 91 strikeouts.
Iowa and Illinois State have seven common opponents this season. The Redbirds are 3-1 vs. Drake, 1-0 vs. Western Illinois and Illinois, 0-1 vs. Tennessee and 0-3 vs. Arizona State.