Hawkeyes To Host Penn State At Pearl Field

April 3, 2009

IOWA CITY – On Deck ? The University of Iowa softball team hosts Penn State this weekend. The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions will play single games Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.)

This Week’s Promotions ? Saturday will serve as Junior Hawk Club Day and Family Day. Keychain lanyards will be handed out and the first set of Hawkeye trading cards will also be available.

Sunday is “Be Bold Wear Gold” game. Fans are encouraged to wear gold.

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 Penn State ? The Penn State Nittany Lions are 9-18 overall and 0-6 in Big Ten play.

Ashley Todd leads the Nittany Lion offense with a .333 batting average. Sam Hovanec has a team high four home runs, with Desi Giordano leading the way with 19 RBI.

Jackie Hill is 5-5 with a 1.09 earned run average. Lisa Akamine is 4-10 with a 5.29 earned run average, and leads the team with 87 strikeouts.

Penn State is batting .255 as a team, and its pitching staff has a combined 4.09 earned run average.

Penn State vs. Iowa Notes ? Iowa leads the all-time series, 38-11. The Hawkeyes have won 10 of the previous 11 meetings, including the last four in a row. Iowa’s only loss to Penn State over the 11 game stretch was in 2006.

Last Time vs. the Nittany Lions ? Iowa swept a Sunday doubleheader last season in University Park, PA, 5-2 and 6-4.

Katie Brown led Iowa in game one, recording three hits and three RBI. Brittany Weil allowed two runs on five hits with four strikeouts in the circle for the win.

The Hawkeyes mounted a comeback with a five-run fifth inning in game two. Colleen McGlaughlin delivered a two-RBI single with the bases loaded to get things started, and Erin Riemersma hit a three-run home run into the teeth of a stiff wind blowing in from left field.

Weil threw 4.2 innings relief for the win. She allowed only one run on two hits with one K and no walks.

Weil Getting Close to Records ? Senior Brittany Weil is close to becoming Iowa’s all-time strikeout and wins leader. Weil is just three strikeouts and 13 wins away from breaking both records. She also ranks among Iowa’s career leaders in complete games (3rd), innings pitched (3rd), games pitched (3rd) and shutouts (5th).

Last Time Out ? Iowa swept Illinois in a doubleheader Wednesday. The Hawkeyes won the first game, 1-0, and game two by a 9-1 count in six innings.

Perfection From Weil ? Senior Brittany Weil threw just the third perfect game in Iowa softball history in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

Weil had the Illinois hitters fooled on April Fool’s Day, facing the minimum in the thrilling first game of a twin bill. Weil struck out the side in the first and recorded two K’s in the second, third and seventh frames for a total of 13 for the game.

Weil joins former Hawkeye all-American Debbie Bilbao as the only Iowa players to ever throw a perfect game. Bilbao accomplished the feat twice, tossing a perfect game in both the 1997 and 1998 seasons. Weil also shattered Bilbao’s record for most hitless games in a season, as Wednesday’s perfect game was Weil’s third of the season. If Weil manages to toss another hitless game, she will tie Bilbao for the most hitless games in a career.

Watkins Walk-Off ? Freshman catcher Liz Watkins hit her fifth home run of the season in style, smacking a walk-off, solo home run to defeat Illinois in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The home run also secured a perfect game for pitcher Brittany Weil.

Watkins followed in game two with a towering, three-run shot to center, improving her team-best home run tally to six.

Going Deep ? Wednesday’s second game against the Fighting Illini marked the first time this season that Iowa has hit three home runs in a game.

Freshman Liz Watkins, junior Katie Brown and senior Quinn Morelock each had a home run in the contest.

RBI Machine ? Iowa’s offense is starting to put up some impressive numbers.

The Hawkeyes rank first in the Big Ten in runs scored (183) and hits (282) and second in both team batting average (.295) and RBI (158).

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).

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 1,200th career win March 17 against Stetson, trails former Florida State Head Coach JoAnne Graf for second place by 12 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 36 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 36 games with 33 starts while Taylor Leichsenring has 35 starts in 36 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.

Complete Release in PDF Format