NFCA Leadoff Classic Next For Iowa

Feb. 27, 2008


IOWA CITY – This Weekend’s Action ? The University of Iowa softball team travels to Columbus, GA, to compete in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Leadoff Classic. Below is Iowa’s schedule at the Classic. All times listed are central.

Friday, Feb. 29
vs. No. 23 North Carolina (12:30 p.m.)
vs. Tennessee Tech (3 p.m.)
Saturday, March 1
vs. No. 19 DePaul (3 p.m.)
vs. No. 16 Louisiana-Lafayette (5:30 p.m.)
Sunday, March 2
vs. Florida State (9 a.m.)

Tough Tournament This Weekend ? Iowa is scheduled to face three teams that are ranked in both the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and the Softball Top 25 polls. Those teams include Louisiana-Lafayette (16th/15th), DePaul (19th/19th) and North Carolina (23rd/23rd).

Hawkeyes on the Web ? Fans can follow the action at, where live stats (Gametracker) will be available. The link can be found along the right side of the softball schedule page.

Last Week’s Action ? For the second week in a row, the Hawkeyes finished the weekend with a 4-1 record. Iowa’s only loss at the Littlewood Classic came to fourth-ranked host Arizona State, 1-0. Iowa defeated Miaimi, OH (3-2), Buffalo (6-1) and Radford (5-4).

Tough Loss Against Sun Devils ? Iowa lost a heartbreaking game against fourth-ranked Arizona State in the bottom of the seventh inning. ASU’s Mindy Cowles hit a first-pitch, walk-off home run for the win.

Junior Brittany Weil tossed a gem despite her first loss of the season. She held the top offense in the Pac-10 to only four hits, three of which were singles, and struck out seven batters while walking only three. After giving up a single to the first batter of the game, Weil retired 16 of the next 17 batters, including seven in a row between the first and third innings. She threw 90 pitches, 60 of which were strikes.

Deja Vu vs. ASU ? The Hawkeyes fell to Arizona State by a run in the final inning for the second time in as many years last weekend.

Last season at the Littlewood Classic, Iowa scored two runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 3-3, but ASU all-American Kaitlin Cochran hit a bases loaded, RBI single in the bottom of the frame to escape with a one-run victory.

Big Comeback Against Radford ? The Hawkeyes scored five unanswered runs to complete a 5-4, comeback win over Radford in the final day of play at the Littlewood Classic.

Radford jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after the first two innings, but Iowa scored two runs in both the second and third innings along with another in the fourth to seal the win.

Hawkeyes in the Polls ? Iowa is one of 17 teams to receive votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA poll.

Opponents in the Polls ? Eight Iowa opponents are ranked in both the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and Softball Top 25 polls. Arizona State (3rd/2nd), Florida (5th/7th), Northwestern (6th/5th), Michigan (12th/11th), Louisiana-Lafayette (16th/15th), DePaul (19th/19th), Ohio State (20th/21st) and North Carolina (23rd/23rd) are all ranked.

In addition, Arkansas is receiving votes in both polls, Iowa State is receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll and Purdue is receiving votes in the Softball poll.

Haven’t We Met? ? The Hawkeyes are scheduled to face Tennessee Tech this weekend, who they defeated, 1-0 in eight innings earlier this season in the Metrodome Classic.

Junior Brittany Weil threw all eight innings and allowed only one hit and struck out nine. Junior Colleen McGlaughlin had the game winning single in the bottom of the eighth inning.

First Time For Everything ? The Hawkeye pitching staff allowed its first earned runs of the season at the Littlewood Classic.

Sophomore Amanda Zust had tossed an impressive 27 innings without giving up an earned run before Iowa’s game vs. Radford. Junior Brittany Weil had thrown 25.1 innings before giving up an earned run againt Miami, OH.

Best in the Big Ten ? Iowa’s staff leads the Big Ten in earned run average with a team mark of 0.60. Junior Brittany Weil leads the way with a 0.49 ERA and sophomore Amanda Zust has a 0.77 ERA.

Brown in Tempe ? Sophomore Katie Brown batted .600 (6-10) with two doubles and three RBI last weekend at the Littlewood Classic. Brown energized Iowa’s comeback against Radford, going 3-3 with three RBI.

Speed in the Desert ? Iowa went 17-19 in the stolen base department last weekend. Junior Rachel West and freshman Chelsey Carmody each stole four bases in four attempts while sophomore Lindsey Digmann swiped three bases in four attempts.

Nichols Named to Watch List ? Senior catcher Emily Nichols has been named to the 2008 USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List. The Portland, OR, native is one of 50 players to be selected. Nichols is the first Hawkeye player named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List.

The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) sponsors the award, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in collegiate softball. This is the seventh year the ASA has given the award.

NFCA Leadoff Classic Tidbits ? Two of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division I softball history will face each other when Iowa takes on Florida State. Seminole Head Coach JoAnne Graf currently has the second-most wins in NCAA Division I softball history, with a record of 1,188-403-3. Iowa Head Coach Gayle Blevins ranks third on the list, with a 1,144-531-5 record. They are two of only seven coaches in Division I softball to record over 1,000 career wins.

? The 2008 NFCA Leadoff Classic will feature two teams that qualified for the College World Series last season, including DePaul, who will face Iowa Saturday. Tennessee will also participate in this year’s Classic.

? In 1996, the College World Series was held at the Stadium Field at the South Commons Complex in Columbus, GA, the site of the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Iowa won its regional that season and made its second-straight College World Series appearance. The Hawkeyes lost their opening round game to eventual national champion Arizona before defeating Michigan and California. Iowa was eliminated from the College World Series after its second loss to Arizona.

? The Hawkeyes are slated to face two of the same opponents they were scheduled to play in the 2006 NFCA Leadoff Classic, which was the last time they competed in the tournament. The Hawkeyes were defeated by Louisiana-Lafayette, 6-0, and were scheduled to face Florida State, but the game was rained out.

? Iowa is 1-4 vs. North Carolina, 2-1 vs. Tennessee Tech, 8-1 vs. DePaul, 0-2 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, and 3-2 vs. Florida State.

? Florida State junior Melissa May and Iowa senior Summer Downs were high school teammates at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, CA.

? Tennessee Tech Head Coach Tory Acheson is a native of Dubuque, IA.

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