Hawkeyes Return To Big Ten Play

April 3, 2008

IOWA CITY – On Deck ? The University of Iowa softball will wrap up a seven-game roadtrip this weekend at No. 5 Michigan and Penn State. The Hawkeyes will face the fifth-ranked Wolverines Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. Iowa then travels to State College, PA, to face the Nittany Lions in a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. Sunday. All times listed are central.

Hawkeyes on TV ? Iowa will make its Big Ten Network (HD) debut Friday at No. 5 Michigan. The contest will be televised live starting at 3 p.m. Dan Gutowsky will handle play-by-play with Nicole Motycka providing color commentary.

Hawkeyes on the Air ? Saturday’s game against the fifth-ranked Wolverines will be broadcast live on AM-800 KXIC. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. Rob Brooks will handle the play-by-play.

Hawkeyes on the Web ? Fans can follow along with Gametracker via hawkeyesports.com. Gametracker links can be found on the softball schedule page.

The remainder of Iowa softball games will be broadcast live on hawkeyesports.com. Fans can listen for free, but do have to go through a quick registration. Audio links can be found next to the Gametracker links. Rob Brooks will handle the play-by-play.

Iowa in the Polls ? Iowa is one of 13 teams to receive votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll.

Opponents in the Polls ? Eight Iowa opponents are ranked in both the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 polls. Arizona State (1st/2nd), Florida (3rd/T3rd), Michigan (5th/5th), Northwestern (15th/15th), North Carolina (16th/17th), DePaul (18th/25th), Louisiana-Lafayette (19th/20th) and Ohio State (24th/RV) are all ranked.

In addition, Florida State is receiving votes in both polls.

Scouting Michigan ? The fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines are 29-3 overall and are tied for the Big Ten lead at 4-0 in conference play. The Wolverines have the highest team batting average in the Big Ten (.294) and the lowest team earned run average (0.63). Michigan has won 22 of its last 23 games, including seven in a row.

Samantha Findlay leads the team with a .402 batting average, 11 home runs, 34 RBI, a .837 slugging percentage and a .504 on base percentage. Teddi Ewing is batting .338 with nine stolen bases. Five of Michigan’s starters are batting .300 or better.

Jordan Taylor is 16-2 with a 0.55 earned run average and has collected 138 strikeouts. Nikki Nemitz is 13-1 with a 0.73 earned run average and 120 strikeouts.

Last Time vs. the Wolverines ? Iowa lost a pair of close games last season against Michigan at Pearl Field. The Hawkeyes fell, 3-2, in 10 innings in game one before dropping a 2-0 decision in game two.

Scouting Penn State ? The Penn State Nittany Lions are 25-10 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play heading into the weekend. Penn State is scheduled to face Illinois Friday and Saturday before Sunday’s doubleheader.

Danielle Kinley is batting .386 to lead the team offensively. Ashley Esparza has a team-high four home runs while Desi Giordano leads the team with 26 RBI.

Esparza is Penn State’s top pitcher with an 11-6 record and a 1.28 earned run average. She also has team-best 140 strikeouts. Jackie Hill is 12-4 with a 1.40 earned run average and 83 strikeouts.

Last Time vs. the Nittany Lions ? The Hawkeyes picked up two wins over Penn State last season at Pearl Field. Iowa won game one, 1-0, and game two, 7-0.

One of the Best ? Iowa’s team earned run average (1.05) is second-best in the Big Ten and ranks fourth nationally.

Before Tuesday’s game against Iowa State, sophomore Amanda Zust ranked 24th-nationally with a 0.97 ERA while junior Brittany Weil was 35th with a 1.10 ERA.

Taming the Clones ? For the second season in a row, sophomore Katie Brown recorded the game-winning hit against intra-state rival Iowa State.

In Tuesday’s game, Brown smashed a solo home run in the top of the seventh to give Iowa a 2-1 lead. Last season, the Spirit Lake, IA, native roped a pinch-hit, two-RBI double to give Iowa the lead in the fourth inning.

Zust Impressive in Relief ? Sophomore Amanda Zust threw four impressive innings in relief for her 10th win of the season against Iowa State. She allowed only one hit while striking out seven of the 12 batters she faced. Zust retired the last eight batters of the game in a row and struck out four-consecutive hitters between the fifth and sixth innings.

Riemersma Heating Up ? Junior Erin Riemersma has been clutch in Iowa’s last two games.

Riemersma finished 1-2 and scored the game-winning run against Ohio State last Saturday. She followed with a 2-2 performance against Iowa State, including a solo home run to tie the game in the fifth. Riemersma also singled and scored from first to plate the third Hawkeye run of the contest.

Michigan Series Notes ? Iowa is 51-46-1 all-time vs. Michigan.

? The teams share three common opponents this season in Drake, Central Florida and Louisiana-Lafayette. Michigan lost to Drake (2-0), but defeated Central Florida (6-1, 3-1) and Louisiana-Lafayette (9-0, 7-2). Iowa defeated Drake (4-1) and Louisiana-Lafayette (2-1), but fell to Central Florida (4-1).

? The top four pitchers in the Big Ten are set to take the field this weekend. Michigan’s Jordan Taylor and Nikki Nemitz rank first and second, respectively, in Big Ten earned run average while Iowa’s Amanda Zust and Brittany Weil rank third and fourth.

? Michigan leads the country in team ERA (0.63) while Iowa ranks fourth (1.05).

? Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins served as an assistant at Indiana under Iowa Head Coach Gayle Blevins during the 1981 season.

? Two of the winningest coaches in Division I softball will face off this weekend. Entering the 2008 season, Blevins ranked third in all-time wins with 1,136 while Hutchins ranked sixth with 1,031 wins.

? Michigan Associate Head Coach Bonnie Tholl was an assistant coach at Indiana during the first two seasons of Iowa Associate Head Coach Michelle Venturella’s career as a Hoosier (1992-93).

? Venturella and Michigan Assistant Coach Jennifer Brundage were teammates on the 2000 USA Olympic gold medal team.

? Brundage played against Iowa in the 1995 College World Series for UCLA. The Bruins defeated Iowa twice (2-1, 5-0) in Oklahoma City.

? Iowa junior Erin Riemersma and Michigan freshman Nicole Guska are both from Orland Park, IL, and graduated from Carl Sandburg High School.

? Both Samantha and Angela Findlay are from the same hometown (Lockport, IL) as Iowa freshman Lindsey Major. The Findlay’s attended Lockport East High School while Major attended Joliet Catholic.

? Iowa’s last televised contest was in 2005 against Michigan. Stacy May hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh to help the Hawkeyes defeat Michigan, 1-0 in Iowa City.

Penn State Series Notes ? Iowa is 36-11 all-time vs. Penn State.

? Penn State and Iowa share one common opponent this season in Central Florida. The Nittany Lions defeated Central Florida (2-1), but Iowa lost to the Golden Knights (4-1).

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader