Hawkeyes Set To Entertain Spartans

April 17, 2009

IOWA CITY – On Deck ? The University of Iowa softball team hosts Michigan State in a doubleheader, starting at noon Saturday.

Tickets are $3 for adults and admission is free for children 18 and under and UI students.

This Week’s Promotions ? The Hawkeyes will be signing autographs in the dugout after the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The third set of trading cards will also be available Saturday.

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 is in his third season calling the action for Iowa softball.

Iowa in the Polls ? The Hawkeyes are currently ranked 23rd in both the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 polls.

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.

UCLA (3rd/3rd), Arizona State (5th/8th), Michigan (8th/5th), Northwestern (10th/7th), Ohio State (T-15th/13th), Florida State (19th/RV) and Texas (RV/24th) are all ranked.

In addition, Minnesota and Illinois are receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25.

Scouting Michigan State ? The Michigan State Spartans are 14-22 overall and 0-9 in Big Ten play. As a team, the Spartans are batting .283 and have a 4.86 earned run average.

Gina Mondo leads the Spartan offense with a .396 batting average, a .646 slugging percentage and is also a perfect 9-for-9 in stolen bases. Lindsey Hansen has a team-best 10 home runs and 24 RBI.

Megan Hair has thrown 94.1 innings and is 5-8 with a 4.75 earned run average. She has 47 strikeouts to 53 walks and has allowed 64 earned runs on 108 hits. Lauren Kramer is 4-9 with a 5.31 earned run average and leads the team with 51 strikeouts. Kramer has given up 24 walks, 64 earned runs and 123 hits in 84.1 innings pitched.

Iowa vs. Michigan State Notes
? Iowa leads the all-time series, 64-27. Iowa has won eight of the previous nine meetings, dating back to the 2004 season. Iowa’s only to Michigan State over the past five years came in 2006. The two teams did not meet in 2005.

? Michigan State and Iowa share two common opponents in Florida International and Bethune-Cookman. Both teams defeated Bethune-Cookman (Iowa, 3-0 in eight innings, Michigan State, 10-2). Iowa knocked off Florida International (6-5), but the Spartans were defeated, 5-3.

? Michigan State Associate Head Coach Kathryn Gleason played at Michigan from 1993-96. Iowa was 9-8 against the Wolverines during Gleason’s time at Michigan.

Last Time Out ? Iowa was swept by No. 10 Northwestern in Evanston Wednesday, 6-5 in nine innings and 16-5 in five innings.

Weil Close to Milestone ? Brittany Weil is just 10 strikeouts away from recording her 1,000-career strikeout.

Weil would become the first pitcher in Iowa history to reach the 1,000 strikeout plateau, and the eighth pitcher in Big Ten history to reach the mark.

Weil Named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week ? Iowa senior pitcher Brittany Weil was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week April 13 for her efforts in Iowa’s four wins during the week. This is the second time this season and seventh time in her career Weil has been given the award.

Weil threw her fourth hitless game of the season Sunday, tossing a no-hitter in a 4-0 win at Purdue. Weil struck out seven batters and allowed only four baserunners in the seven-inning contest, hitting a batter in the second, walking two in the fourth and one in the sixth.

In game one against the Boilermakers Saturday, Weil tossed a complete game, one-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts in the win. She had a perfect game through 5.1 innings before a dropped third strike gave Purdue its first baserunner. She still had a no-hitter after the fifth, but a Boilermaker infield single to start the bottom of the sixth ended the no-hit bid. In the fifth, Weil managed to strike out four batters after the dropped third strike.

During the two-game series at Purdue, Weil threw all 14 innings, giving up only the one hit with 20 strikeouts and three walks. She limited Purdue to just a .024 batting average.

Weil threw a complete game, two-hitter against Western Illinois last Wednesday. She had six strikeouts and no walks.

Weil also entered Iowa’s game against Iowa State last Tuesday in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and only one out in the seventh, recording a fly ball and a strike out to preserve the win.

For the week, Weil was 3-0 (all complete games), with a 0.00 ERA in 20.2 innings of work. She gave up just three hits, while striking out 27 batters to just three walks. She limited her opponents to a slim .045 batting average.

Weil has been named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week more than any other player to pitch at Iowa. Last season, Weil became the first Iowa player to garner the award four times in a single season.

Weil Ties Another Record ? Brittany Weil also tied former Hawkeye all-American Debbie Bilbao’s record for most hitless games in a career.

Weil and Bilbao have both thrown four hitless games, with Weil’s all coming this season. She threw her first career no-hitter against Kent State (Feb. 13), her second at Kennesaw State (Feb. 22) and her first perfect game against Illinois (April 1). Bilbao threw one no-hitter in 1995, a no-hitter and a perfect game in 1997 and a no-hitter in 1998.

Big Time for Brown ? Junior Katie Brown led Iowa offensively last week with some impressive numbers.

Brown batted .500 (6-12) with one home run, two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. The Spirit Lake, IA, native also recorded a .917 slugging percentage and a .571 on base percentage.

Power with the Bases Packed ? Senior Colleen McGlaughlin must like the looks of things when the bases are loaded.

McGlauglhin is batting .833 (5-6) when she is at bat with the bases full of Hawkeyes.

RBI Machine ? Senior Colleen McGlaughlin not only leads the Hawkeyes in RBI, her 41 runs driven in also leads the Big Ten Conference.

In addition, 16 of her 41 RBI have come with two outs in the inning.

Pitchers Rank High Nationally ? Iowa’s pitching staff of senior Brittany Weil and junior Amanda Zust rank very high in some national statistics.

Heading into this week, Iowa ranks eighth nationally in earned run average (1.20). Individually, Weil ranks eighth in saves (3), ninth in strikeouts (211), 10th in shutouts (8), 14th in strikeouts per seven innings (10) and 17th in earned run average (1.10).

Zust has the 27th-most victories in the country (15) and also ranks 33rd in earned run average (1.33).

In addition, the Hawkeye staff is tied for the most wins in the Big Ten (33), and second in both ERA (1.32) and opposing batting average (.159). Individually, senior Brittany Weil ranks in the top five in five different categories, while junior Amanda Zust ranks in the top 9 in four categories.

Gold Gloves ? The Hawkeye defense has played solid all season, and it shows in the NCAA statistics.

Heading into the week, Iowa’s .976 team fielding percentage is the fifth-best number in the entire country. The Hawkeyes have two starters (Lindsey Digmann and Sam Heinzman) with a perfect. 1.000 fielding percentage, while Liz Watkins and Katie Brown have only committed one error.

As a team, Iowa has 809 putouts, 280 assists and only 29 errors.

Lucky Numbers 3 & 4 ? Iowa has scored 77 of its 217 runs this season in the third and fourth innings, and are stretching its leads during the middle innings.

The Hawkeyes are outscoring their opponents 36-10 in the third inning and 41-7 in the fourth for a combined total of 77-17 during the two-inning stretch.

Holding Leads ? If Iowa manages to gain a lead during the middle-to-late innings, chances are it will hold on for the win.

Iowa is 22-0 when leading after three innings, 26-0 after four and 22-0 after five. Iowa is also 18-1 when leading after six frames, with the lone loss coming against Stetson (6-5, March 15).

Scoring Early ? The Hawkeyes have scored in their first at-bat 14 times, and hold a 14-1 record when plating a run in the first inning. Iowa’s only loss in this situation came at Northwestern (April 15).

In addition, Iowa is 28-4 when scoring before its opponent.

Closing in on History ? Head Coach Gayle Blevins is just eight 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 seven wins. Blevins’ record currently has 1,11 wins. Graf retired after a 24-year career at Florida State, recording 1,218 victories.

Weil Sets Record ? Senior Brittany Weil became Iowa’s all-time strikeout leader April 4, when she struck out Penn State’s Christan Crivellaro with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning.

Weil, who struck out 11 batters in the record-breaking peformance, now has 962 career K’s.

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 a doubleheader April 1. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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