Hawkeyes Set To Host Big Ten Foe Illinois

March 31, 2009

IOWA CITY – On Deck ? The University of Iowa softball team hosts Illinois Wednesday in a mid-week doubleheader. Game one is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start. Tickets are $3 for adults and free for UI students and children 18 and under.

This Week’s Promotions ? Iowa Head wrestling Coach Tom Brands will throw out the first pitch before Wednesday’s first game. Also, Big Ten Network t-shirts will be handed out to fans while supplies last.

Hawkeyes on the Tube ? Both games of Wednesday’s doubleheder will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network in High Definition. Brent Stover and Heather Lyke will call the action.

Hawkeyes on the Web ? Gametracker links for all Iowa games can be found on hawkeyesports.com. The links can be accessed under the schedule tab on the home page or on the softball schedule page.

The remainder of Hawkeye softball games will be broadcast over the internet at hawkeyesports.com (for a fee). The “Listen” links can be found next to the Gametracker links. Rob Brooks enters his third season calling the action for Iowa softball.

Iowa in the Polls ? The Hawkeyes are listed as receiving votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and are ranked 24th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.

Opponents in the Polls ? Seven Iowa opponents are ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 polls.

Arizona State (4th/8th), UCLA (7th/5th), Northwestern (8th/7th), Michigan (10th/9th), Ohio State (17th/15th), Florida State (21st/RV) and Texas (25th/T22nd) are all ranked.

In addition, Cal State Fullerton and Illinois are receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25, while Northern Iowa is receiving votes in teh ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.

Scouting Illinois ? The Illinois Fighting Illini are 18-8 overall and tied for first in the Big Ten with a 3-0 conference mark.

Danielle Zymkowitz leads the Illinois offense with a .478 batting average. Hollie Pinchback, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, is second with a .413 batting average. Meredith Hackett has a team-best five home runs, while Hope Howell has a team-high 24 RBI.

Illinois is led in the circle by freshman Monica Perry, who has thrown 131.2 of Illinois’ 178.1 innings. She is 13-6 with a 3.83 earned run average. Perry has 124 strikeouts to 43 walks.

Illinois is coached by Terri Sullivan.

Illinois vs. Iowa Notes ? Iowa leads the all-time series, 13-6. The Hawkeyes have won the previous six meetings.

? Iowa faced Illinois three times last season, with the final meeting coming in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. The Hawkeyes won all three meetings (5-2, 12-6, 9-1). As a team, the Hawkeyes batted .423 with a .833 slugging percentage, along with eight home runs against the Fighting Illini. Iowa out-scored Illinois, 26-9 and collected 24 RBI.

? Katie Brown had a Ruthian-like performance against the Fighting Illini last year, batting .875 (7-8) with four home runs, one double, five runs scored an an eye-popping 2.500 slugging percentage.

? Iowa senior Erin Riemersma and Illinois sophomore Ashley Conrad are both from Orland Park, IL, and were high school teammates at Carl Sandburg High School.

Last Time Out ? Iowa split a two-game series at No. 15 Ohio State last weekend. The Hawkeyes dropped Saturday’s contest, 3-0, but rebounded with a 12-4, six-inning route over the 15th-ranked Buckeyes.

Send Them Home ? Iowa’s 12 runs scored against No. 15 Ohio State last Sunday tied for the most runs the Hawkeyes have scored in a Big Ten game since 1997. Last season, Iowa plated 12 runs in the season finale against Illinois. The Hawkeyes scored 19 runs against Penn State in 1997.

Production From the Top ? Iowa’s first five hitters did the most damage Sunday against Ohio State.

Chelsey Carmody, Taylor Leichsenring, Colleen McGlaughlin, Katie Brown and Liz Watkins combined for 14 of Iowa’s 17 hits, scored seven of the 12 runs and collected eight of the 11 RBI.

RBI Machine ? Senior Colleen McGlaughlin not only leads the Hawkeyes in RBI, her 34 runs driven in also leads the Big Ten Conference.

McGlaughlin has collected nearly half of her RBI in the last seven games, plating 16 runs.

Pitchers Ranked Nationally ? Iowa’s pitching staff is establishing itself as one of the best in the nation, statistically speaking.

As a team, the Hawkeyes rank eighth-nationally in earned run average (1.25). Senior Brittany Weil ranks seventh in saves (3), ninth in strikeouts (182), 10th in shutouts (7), 17th in strikeouts per seven innings (9.9) and 20th in earned run average (1.14).

Junior Amanda Zust is ranked 22nd in wins (14), 27th in shutouts (5) and 41st in earned run average (1.39).

Weil Getting Close to Records ? Senior Brittany Weil is close to becoming Iowa’s all-time strikeout and wins leader.

Weil is just 23 strikeouts and 14 wins away from breaking both records. She also ranks among Iowa’s career leaders in complete games (3rd), innings pitched (3rd), games pitched (4th) and shutouts (5th).

Closing in on History ? Head Coach Gayle Blevins is just 14 wins away from becoming the second-winningest coach in Division I history.

Blevins, who recently picked up her 1,200 career win March 17 against Stetson, trails former Florida State Head Coach JoAnne Graf for second place by 14 wins. Blevins’ record currently has 1,205 wins. Graf retired after a 24-year career at Florida State, recording 1,218 victories.

Never Off the Field ? Six Hawkeyes have played in all 34 games this season, while four players have started every game.

Erin Riemersma, Colleen McGlaughlin, Sam Heinzman and Katie Brown have started every game in 2009. Katie Keim has played in all 34 games with 31 starts while Taylor Leichsenring has 33 starts in 34 games played.

Call Her Clutch ? Senior Sam Heinzman has delievered for Iowa in some important situations this season.

The Omaha, NE, native drove in the game-winning run in extra innings against Kent State with a sacrifice fly. Heinzman’s walk-off RBI also gave Brittany Weil her first-career no-hitter.

Heinzman collected the go-ahead RBI single in the top of the eighth against UCLA, before Iowa gave up the late lead in the bottom of the frame.

Against Cal State Fullerton, Heinzman tallied a triple and scored the game-tying run, forcing extra innings. She also knocked in the game-winning run in the 10th inning against the Titans.

Senior Stepping Up ? Senior Colleen McGlaughlin has come through with some big hits for Iowa this season.

Against Long Island, McGlaughlin delivered a one-out grand slam in the third to help Iowa claw back from an early 3-0 deficit. McGlaughlin’s home run gave Iowa a 4-3 lead that it never relinquished, winning by a 6-3 margin.

McGlaughlin gave Iowa a comfortable 3-0 lead in extra innings at Bethune-Cookman. After seven scoreless innings, Iowa managed to plate two runs before McGlaughlin drove in the third run of the eighth inning.

Iowa once again relied on McGlaughlin for a game-winning hit, this time at Central Florida in an extra-inning marathon. With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the 11th, McGlaughlin hit an RBI single to plate the eventual game-winning run.

McGlaughlin also drove in the game-tying run in the sixth at Illinois State with an RBI single to left.

Weil No-Hitters ? Senior Brittany Weil became just the second player in Iowa school history to throw two no-hitters in a single season after her five-inning no-hit performance at Kennesaw State Feb. 22.

Weil’s first-career no-hitter came in an eight-inning game against Kent State Feb. 13.

Zust Tosses First No-Hitter ? Junior Amanda Zust threw her first career no-hitter in Iowa’s 15-0, five-inning win over South Dakota March 22.

Zust dominated the Coyote offense, allowing only two walks, both of which were in the first inning. She then retired the final 13 batters in order with seven strikeouts.

This season marks the first time in school history that the Hawkeyes have tossed three no-hitters in a single season. Senior Brittany Weil threw no-hitters against Kent State and Kennesaw State earlier this season.

Scoreless Streak Snapped ? UCLA’s two-run, walk-off home run ended Iowa’s opponent scoreless streak at 51 innings, which is the second-longest shutout stretch in school history.

The longest opponent scoreless streak is 82 innings, which Iowa accomplished during the 1992 season.

Weil Drafted ? Senior pitcher Brittany Weil was one of 25 NCAA softball seniors chosen in the National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) Draft Feb. 17. Weil, who wears No. 7 at Iowa, was drafted by the Akron Rachers as the seventh overall pick in the draft (second pick of the second round).

Weil, who will join the Racers once the Hawkeyes finish their 2009 season, is the fourth Hawkeye to play in the NPF, and the third since 2005 to be drafted. Stacy May and Emily Nichols were both selected in the second round of the NPF Draft by the Chicago Bandits in 2005 and 2008 respectively. Kristin Johnson was also a member of the Akron Racers from 2003-07.

Tough Schedule in `09 ? Iowa is scheduled to face 16 teams that were selected for the NCAA Tournament in 2008, including four super-regional teams and the defending national champion.

Central Florida, Texas, Stephen F. Austin, Kent State, Michigan, Chattanooga, Florida State, Long Beach State, Northwestern, Western Illinois, Drake, Arizona State, Long Island, Purdue, Cal State Fullerton and UCLA all played in a regional. Michigan, Northwestern, Arizona State and UCLA all advanced to super regional action and Arizona State was the 2008 NCAA national champion.

Road Warriors ? Iowa played its first 29 games on the road this season. The Hawkeyes opened the home portion of its schedule March 22 with a doubleheader sweep over South Dakota.

The Hawkeyes went 24-5 in the first 29 games of the season.

New Field, Same Location ? Pearl Field, Iowa’s home facility, received a major facelift after the Floods of 2008.

Pearl Field was gutted and re-built, with new additions including a new Hilltopper infield surface and new outfield sod, new concessions and restrooms, new locker rooms and team meeting areas among other additions.

The facility will be ready for Iowa’s home opener March 22.

Bye-Bye Big Ten Tourney ? This season marks the first time in 15 years there will be no Big Ten Softball Tournament. The conference coaches decided to cancel the tournament after last season.

The first Big Ten Tournament was held in 1982, but the conference didn’t host another postseason tournament until the 1995 season.

Iowa won two Big Ten Tournament titles (2001, 2003) and hosted the tournament three times.

SoftBlog ? Senior Erin Riemersma, junior Lindsey Digmann and freshman Liz Watkins will blog for hawkeyesports.com throughout the season. The student-athletes will discuss life on the road and what its like being a softball player at the University of Iowa.

Fans can access the blog on the softball page of hawkeyesports.com.

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