Hawkeyes Take On Purdue At Pearl Field This Weekend

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The University of Iowa softball team (19-13-1, 5-0) hosts Purdue (16-20, 1-3) this weekend at Pearl Field. The two teams will play single games Saturday and Sunday, with both games starting at 2 p.m.

Admission to Pearl Field is $3 for adults. There is no charge for youth (high school age and younger) or UI students with a valid student ID.

Live Audio from Your Computer
You can follow the Hawkeyes from your computer via the All-Access page at hawkeyesports.com. Rob Brooks, the voice of Iowa softball, will be calling the action live at all home and away events for the remainder of the season. Hawkeye All-Access is a subscription service that charges $9.95 per month.

Hawkeyes on the Web
Fans that can’t make it to Pearl Field for the home opener can follow the action at hawkeyesports.com, where live stats (Gametracker) will be available. The “GT” link can be found under the calendar tab on the right-hand side of the hawkeyesports.com home page, or on the softball schedule page.

Scouting Purdue
The Purdue Boilermakers are 16-20 overall and 1-3 in Big Ten play.

Molly Garst leads the team with a .353 batting average and nine doubles. Liane Horiuchi has a team-best five home runs, while Maia Monchek leads the way with 25 RBI.

Suzie Rzegocki is 12-15 with a 2.78 ERA inside the circle. She has 145 strikeouts to 69 walks and has appeared in 32 of Purdue’s 36 games with 27 starts. Erika Petruzzi is 3-3 in 12 appearances witha 4.85 ERA.

Series Notes
? Iowa leads the all-time series, 36-5. The Hawkeyes have won nine of the last 11 contests, with the only losses during that stretch coming in 2005 (1-2) and in the 2007 Big Ten Tournament (1-4).

? Eight of the last 10 games in the series have been decided by three runs or less.

Digmann on a Role
Senior Lindsey Digmann enters this weekend’s games on a nine-game hitting streak.

Digmann is batting .538 (14-26) with one double, four RBI and eight runs scored over the hitting streak. She is also a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases during the nine game streak.

Where’s Digs?
Senior Lindsey Digmann has been a fixture in the Iowa lineup, but not in one particular place. After starting the first 24 games at third base, Digs has seen time in left field, center field, second base and as the designated player. She has also bounced around the lineup – hitting leadoff (.364), second (.412) and ninth (.333) in the batting order.

Lyon Rising to Occasion and Firing it Home
Freshman Chelsea Lyon has been hot in her last six apperances.

Lyon is 5-0 and has not allowed an earned run in her last 35.1 innings pitched. She has struck out 13, with three starts and two complete games. She has also limited her opponents to a .189 batting average.

Hawkeyes Hot in Conference Play
Iowa has stormed out to a 5-0 start in Big Ten play, which is its best start in league action since 2004 when the Hawkeyes won their first eight games. Iowa went on to finish second in the Big Ten in 2004.

The Hawkeyes are led by senior Lindsey Digmann in Big Ten play. Digmann is batting .643 with six runs scored and three stolen bases. Sophomore Liz Watkins is batting .500 in league play with one home run, three doubles, one triple and four RBI. Juniors Jenny Schuelke and Chelsey Carmody each have five RBI.

As a team, the Hawkeyes are batting .400 and have a combined 1.53 ERA in the circle.

Welcome Home Amanda Zust
Senior Amanda Zust kicked off the 2010 home opener in spectacular fashion March 21. Zust led Iowa to an 8-0 win over South Dakota by pitching her second career no-hitter. She struck out a season-high eight hitters while tossing her 11th complete game.

The Big Ten honored Zust for her efforts by naming the senior Big Ten Pitcher of the Week.

Triple Threat
Sophomore Liz Watkins played in 56 games last season without recording a single three-base hit. Apparently eager to avoid repeating such a feat, the Taylor Ridge, IL native has banged out five triples in 2010.

Diamonds are Forever
Iowa boasts four position players that have started every game this season. Those players include Lindsey Digmann, Jenny Schuelke, Katie Brown and Johnnie Dowling.

Chelsey Carmody, Taylor Leichsenring and Katie Keim have all started 32 games.

Watkins Named co-Big Ten Player of the Week
Sophomore catcher Liz Watkins was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week March 29 for her efforts in Iowa’s two-game sweep at Michigan State.

Watkins batted an impressive .857 (6-7) with one home run, two doubles and three RBI against the Spartans. Watkins also recorded an eye-popping 1.571 slugging percentage and a .875 on-base percentage.

Watkins started the weekend by going 2-for-3 Saturday. She followed with a perfect 4-for-4 outing Sunday, including a solo home run in the first inning. She added the game-winning RBI in the sixth with a line drive to the left field fence.

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

Michigan (2/3), UCLA (5/5), Arizona State (9/10), Alabama (6/7), Georgia Tech (10/6), Illinois (18/19) and Ohio State (20/22) are all ranked.

The Hawkeyes return three of their top four hitters from 2009. Senior Katie Brown, junior Chelsey Carmody and sophomore Liz Watkins hit .337 collectively in 168 combined games.

Road Warriors
Iowa played its first 25 games of 2010 outside of Iowa City. The Hawkeyes finished 12-12-1 on their road trip across the country. Iowa played in Minnesota, Arizona, Georgia, California and Florida before their first scheduled home game.

The Hawkeyes ran up an impressive 31-13 record outside of Iowa City last season, including a 13-9 mark in true road contests and an 18-4 record in neutral site games.

Now Batting for Iowa
The Hawkeyes welcome eight newcomers to the 2010 roster. Juniors Stephanie Ochoa and Sarah Spiering hit campus after two celebrated careers at the Junior College level.

The Hawkeyes have six freshmen on this year’s roster, including Iowa natives Ashley Akers, Johnnie Dowling, Sam Valentine and Ashley Vanderloo. Oklahoma native Chelsea Lyon and Oregon native Jordan Goschie round out the freshmen class.

Home Grown Hawkeyes
Nine of Iowa’s 17 players hail from the state of Iowa.

Those players include Katie Brown (Spirit Lake), Ashley Akers (Tiffin), Johnnie Dowling and Amanda Zust (Des Moines), Taylor Leichsenring (Amana), Sam Valentine (Centerville), Jenny Schuelke (Solon), Ashley Vanderloo (Sioux City) and Lindsey Digmann (Marion).