Hawkeyes Head West

Feb. 13, 2007

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IOWA CITY – Hawkeyes Head West
The University of Iowa softball team travels to Tempe, AZ, this weekend to compete in the Littlewood Classic. Iowa opens the tournament Friday at 12 p.m. against UC Riverside and faces North Carolina at 4:30 p.m. The Hawkeyes face two tough opponents Saturday in Illinois State and No. 2 ranked Arizona State. Iowa and Illinois State face off at 4:30 p.m. while the Hawkeyes battle the Sun Devils at 6:30 p.m. The Hawkeyes wrap up the tournament Sunday at 12 p.m. against Idaho State. All times listed are central.

Iowa Claims Stetson Tournament Championship
The Hawkeyes started the 2007 season with a bang, claiming the Stetson Tournament championship with a 4-1 record. Iowa defeated Howard (11-0 in five innings), Marist twice (8-0, 5-2) and Stetson in the championship game (4-1). Iowa’s only loss came to Stetson (5-3).

Ackerson No-Hits Howard in Season Opener
Junior Stephanie Ackerson took full advantage of her first career start in the circle, tossing a five-inning no-hitter in Iowa’s season opener against Howard. The Clive, IA, native allowed only four Howard baserunners and struck out five.

Prior to the start against Howard, Ackerson had only thrown 11 innings in relief.

Last Year at the Littlewood Classic
Iowa finished the 2006 Littlewood Classic with a 2-3 record. Iowa defeated Illinois State twice (9-3, 10-2), but lost to Arizona State three times (5-4, 10-7 in nine innings, 8-1). Sophomore Erin Riemersma finished the Littlewood Classic with a .471 batting average (8-17) along with two home runs. Junior Emily Nichols collected six hits and seven RBI.

Hawkeyes Receiving Votes
Iowa is one of 15 teams to receive votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball pre-season poll.

Opponents in the Rankings
Nine of Iowa’s opponents appear in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll.

Arizona State (2nd), Northwestern (8th), California (10th), and Michigan (15th) are all ranked.

Kansas, Louisville, Wisconsin, Illinois State and Penn State are receiving votes.

The USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll is released on Wednesday’s.

Zust Impressive in Debut
Freshman Amanda Zust tallied two wins and 16 strikeouts in her first weekend as a Hawkeye. Zust allowed only one hit, which was the first batter of the game, and struck out seven batters.

Zust threw four and two-thirds innings relief against Marist in day two of the tournament to pick up her second win. She struck out two in her second outing against the Red Foxes.

Zust currently leads the team with a total of 16 strikeouts.

Nichols Out to a Fast Start
Junior Emily Nichols finished the Stetson Tournament with a .500 batting average (7-14), along with 10 RBI. She tallied one home run, one triple and one double and recorded a .929 slugging percentage.

Nichols had at least one hit and one RBI in every game, including a two-hit, four RBI performance in the season opener against Howard and a three RBI game against Marist.

Staff Starts Hot
Iowa’s pitching staff allowed only one hit and a total of six baserunners (one hit, one error, four walks) in the first two games of the Stetson Tournament.

Bringing Home the Runs
Iowa scored a total of 19 runs in its first two games of the season. That is the highest run total in the first two games of a season since 1999, when Iowa defeated Michigan State 3-2 and Illinois State, 16-5.

The most runs scored in the first two games of a season is 29 by the 1997 team.

Scoring Early and Often
The Hawkeyes are outscoring their opponents 15-2 in the first inning. Iowa is 3-1 when scoring in the first inning.

In addition, Iowa has scored in every inning except the seventh so far this season and has scored at least one run in 14 of 31 innings played.

No Runs Allowed
Iowa shut out its first two opponents of the season. That marks the first time since the 1998 season that the Hawkeyes have shut out their first two opponents of a season.

The 1998 squad recorded three-straight shutouts over Wisconsin, Arizona State and Illinois State to open the season.

Weil Suffers Injury
Sophomore pitcher Brittany Weil suffered an undisclosed injury during practice Thursday, February 1. Weil will be sidelined indefinitely.

Weil was a third team all-Big Ten selection as a freshman in 2005. She led the team with 270 strikeouts and 296 innings pitched.

Weil is expected to make a full recovery from the injury.

Digmann Hurt Against Marist
Freshman second baseman Lindsey Digmann suffered a strained hamstring in Iowa’s game agaisnt Marist February 9. She is expected back in the lineup this weekend at the Littlewood Classic.

Digmann was impressive in her first two games, going 2-5 with an RBI, three runs scored and three stolen bases. She also had a great diving catch in shallow right field.

Movin’ All Over
Iowa’s infield and outfield had a few different looks at the Stetson Tournament last weekend.

Erin Riemersma started three games at shortstop and two at second base. Quinn Morelock started three games in right field and two at shortstop. Summer Downs played one game at first base, one game at second base and three games as the designated player. Rachel West started one game as the designated player and two games in right field.

Sami Baugh (catcher), Emily Nichols (3B), Colleen McGlaughlin (LF) and Mindy Heidgerken (CF) were the only Hawkeyes to start every game at the same position.

Blevins Reaches Milestones
Head Coach Gayle Blevins reached the 1,100 win mark with an 11-0, five-inning win over Howard. The win was also Blevins’ 800th win at Iowa.

Hawkeyes Add Five Freshmen
Iowa welcomes a class of five freshmen to the 2007 squad. Katie Brown, Lindsey Digmann, Taylor Leichsenring, and Amanda Zust hail from Iowa while walk-on Heidi Daumen is from Illinois.

Brown and Zust will see time in the circle while Digmann will play scond base. Leichsenring is an outfielder and Daumen is a utility player who can catch or play first base.

Freshmen Win Rainbow Classic
Four of Iowa’s freshmen were members of the Iowa Select All-Star team that won the Rainbow Classic championship in Hawaii over the summer. Those freshmen include Katie Brown (Spirit Lake), Lindsey Digmann (Marion), Taylor Leichsenring (Amana) and Amanda Zust (Des Moines).

Iowa Adds Two New Coaches
Jen Fried and Stacy May are new members of the Iowa coaching staff. Fried is a volunteer assistant and May is a student assistant.

Fried joins the staff from Swarthmore College in Media, PA, where she was an assistant coach from 2005-06. Her duties included designing and implementing daily practices for outfielders along with batting instruction.

Fried played both softball and soccer at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. She was named the Centennial Conference Softball Player of the Year in 2004 and was an all-conference selection from 2001-04.

May was a four-year letterwinner at both third base and shortstop for Iowa from 2003-06. She was named both Big Ten Freshman of the Year and first team all-Big Ten in 2003. May was also a three-time NFCA all-Mideast Region pick and was a two-time ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America District 7 selection.

May was drafted by the Chicago Bandits of the National Professional Fastpitch League as the fourth pick in the second round in the 2006 draft. She earned the 2006 Nokona Rookie of the Year award and was also named to the all-NPF team.