Hawkeyes Ready For Big Ten Softball Tournament

May 8, 2007

Hawkeyes to Compete in Big Ten Tournament
The University of Iowa softball team (37-20, 10-7) travels to Columbus, OH to compete in the 2007 Big Ten Softball Tournament. Iowa is the No. 4 seed and will face No. 5 seed Purdue (32-31-1, 10-9) in opening round play Friday at 1:30 p.m. central time.

Below is a schedule of games for the Big Ten Tournament. All times listed are central.

Thursday May 10
Game 1 – #2 Northwestern vs. #7 Michigan State, 4 p.m.
Game 2 – #1 Ohio State vs. #8 Penn State, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, May 11
Game 3 – Michigan vs. #6 Illinois, 11 a.m.
Game 4 – #4 IOWA vs. #5 Purdue, 1:30 p.m.
Game 5 – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 3, 4 p.m.
Game 6 – Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 2, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 12
Game 7 – Championship Game, Noon (Live on CSTV).

Hawkeyes on the Air
All of Iowa’s postseason games will be broadcast live via www.hawkeyesports.com. Rob Brooks will handle play-by-play commentary.

The broadcasts are free and can be found in the Hawkeye All-Access section.

Hawkeyes on the Web
Fans who can’t make it to the Big Ten Tournament can follow along with Gametracker via www.hawkeyesports.com. Just click on the Gametracker link found on the softball schedule page.

Gametracker for all Big Ten Tournament games can be found at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com. In addition, live audio for all Big Ten Tournament games will be available at www.OhioStateSports.com.

Iowa in Big Ten Tourney
The Hawkeyes have a 19-19 all-time record in the Big Ten Softball Tournament.

Iowa has won two tournament titles, claiming the 2000 and 2003 titles. The 2003 tournament was held in Iowa City.

Last season, Indiana defeated Iowa, 5-4, in eight innings in the first round.

Scouting Purdue
The Purdue Boilermakers finished the regular season with a 32-31-1 record and a 10-9 mark in Big Ten play.

Ashley Hall leads the team with a .391 batting average. Katie Mitchell has a team-best 14 home runs, 15 doubles and 52 RBI.

Brooke Baker is 25-16 with a 2.22 earned run average and has a team-high 168 strikeouts in the circle. Ashley DiDomenico is 7-14 with a 3.69 earned run average and has 43 strikeouts.

Iowa leads the all-time series, 32-4. The two teams have met only once in the Big Ten Tournament, which was a 2-0 win for the Hawkeyes in the 1997 tournament.

Hawkeyes Swept Season Series
Iowa swept a Sunday doubleheader against Purdue April 1. The Hawkeyes won game one, 6-1 and game two, 4-3 in nine innings.

In game one, sophomore Erin Riemersma hit a towering three-run home run in the sixth inning to give Iowa a 6-1 lead.

Senior Mindy Heidgerken hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning in game two to complete the thrilling Iowa comeback.

Nichols Finishes .400
Junior Emily Nichols finished the regular season with a .401 batting average (75-187) and is on pace to become the first Hawkeye since the 1997 season (Lea Twigg, .422, Debbie Bilbao, .408, Kari Knopf, .404) to finish with a batting average of .400 or better.

Nichols’ batting average has not dipped below the .400 mark all season. She maintained an average of .500 or better for 21-straight games from February 11 to March 11.

Weil Leads Iowa in the Circle
Sophomore Brittany Weil leads the Hawkeyes in almost every pitching category, despite being sidelined the first 24 games of the season with a head injury.

Weil leads the team in appearances (29), starts (23), complete games (19), shutouts (9), innings pitched (167), wins (18), earned run average (1.63) and strikeouts (175).

The Garden Grove, CA, native returned to the Iowa lineup March 13 and threw 21.1 innings of shutout softball in her first four starts of the season. She also tallied three of her four double-digit strikeout games in her first three starts, including a career-high 15 K’s against BYU.

Riemersma Ends Season in Style
Sophomore Erin Riemersma hit a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Iowa a thrilling 7-6, extra-inning win over Illinois on May 5. Her home run put an end to a very exciting contest with seven lead changes and two ties.

Iowa’s final regular season game against Illinois on May 6 was rained out.

Versatile Hawkeyes
Four Hawkeyes have started all 57 games this season, but only senior Mindy Heidgerken has started every game at the same position.

Heidgerken has patrolled every game in center field not only this season, but in every game since her sophomore season (182-straight games).

Junior Emily Nichols has started 32 games behind the plate and 25 games at third base. Junior Stephanie Ackerson has started 44 games at first base and 13 in the circle. Sophomore Colleen McGlaughlin has gotten the starting nod 23 times at second base, 19 times at third base, 13 times at left field and one time at both shortstop and right field.

Outscoring Early
Iowa is outscoring its opponents, 117-74 in the first three innings of games this season.

The Hawkeyes have outscored teams 45-24 in the first inning and 30-5 in the second inning of contests. Iowa’s opponents hold a slight advantage of 45-42 in the third inning. Iowa is outscoring its opponents in every inning except the third and holds a 249-154 advantage in runs scored.

Seven’s are Wild in the Circle
The number seven has appeared a total of 13 times for pitchers Brittany Weil and Amanda Zust in box scores this season.

Weil has struck out seven batters five times and Zust has tallied seven K’s eight times.

Money on the Road
Junior Emily Nichols is batting .444 with nine of her 12 home runs, 13 of her 14 doubles and 32 of her 48 RBI on the road.

Nichols has also tallied 60 of her 75 hits on the road and has stolen all six of her bases away from Pearl Field.

Hitting Streak Snapped
Junior Emily Nichols’ school and Big Ten record hitting streak was snapped at the Capital Classic March 16. Nichols failed to collect a hit against Mercer, ending her streak at 28 games.

The 28-game hitting streak was also the seventh-longest in NCAA history.

Nichols Breaks Home Run Mark
Junior Emily Nichols broke Iowa’s career home run record with a two-run home run against Indiana on March 31. Nichols’ home run cleared the center field fence and gave Iowa a 9-0, six-inning win over the Hoosiers.

Nichols passed former Hawkeye Alicia Gerlach, who hit 29 career home runs from 1999-02. Nichols currently has 33 career home runs.

Weil Earns Big Ten Pitcher of the Week
Sophomore pitcher Brittany Weil was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for her efforts during Iowa’s five-game road trip March 28-April 1. This was the first time Weil earned the award.

Weil picked up five wins with a 0.78 ERA in 27 innings. She collected 27 strikeouts and helped Iowa to a 4-0 record in the opening weekend of Big Ten play.

No-Hitter to Open the Season
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.

Hawkeyes in Big Ten Stats
Here is a list of where different Hawkeyes rank in the top five of different categories.

All Games
Player Category Rank
Emily Nichols Batting Avg. (.401) 2nd
Rachel West Stolen Bases (29) 2nd
Brittany Weil ERA (1.57) 3rd
Emily Nichols Total Bases (127) 3rd
Emily Nichols Hits (75) 3rd
Brittany Weil Saves (2) 4th
Mindy Heidgerken Stolen Bases (18) 4th
Colleen McGlaughlin Doubles (15) T4th
Rachel West Triples (4) T4th
Emily Nichols RBI (48) T5th
Erin Riemersma Stolen Bases (17) 5th
Brittany Weil K's Looking (45) 5th

Big Ten Games
Player Category Rank
Amanda Zust ERA (0.75) 1st
Brittany Weil Innings Pitched (101.1) 2nd
Brittany Weil Starts (14) 1st
Brittany Weil Appearances (17) 1st
Summer Downs Doubles (6) 1st
Mindy Heidgerken Stolen Bases (9) 1st
Brittany Weil Wins (9) T2nd
Rachel West Stolen Bases (8) 2nd
Erin Riemersma Runs Scored (16) T2nd
Brittany Weil Strikeouts (85) T2nd
Taylor Leichsenring Triples (1) T3rd
Erin Riemersma Doubles (5) T3rd
Emily Nichols RBI (16) T4th
Erin Riemersma Walks (10) T4th
Brittany Weil Saves (1) T4th
Brittany Weil ERA (2.00) 5th




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