May 7, 2010
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IOWA CITY – On Deck
The University of Iowa softball team (23-21, 8-7) will take its last road trip of the regular season this weekend for a two-game series at Minnesota (15-33, 1-13). Games are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
On Your Television
Both games this weekend can be seen live on the Big Ten Network (HD). Marney Gellner and Jennie Ritter will call the action.
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 can follow the action at hawkeyesports.com, where live stats will be available. The live stats 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.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are 15-33 overall and 1-13 in Big Ten play.
Malisa Barnes leads the team with a .327 batting average and 48 hits. Heidi Carls has a team-best 21 RBI while Alex Davis has a team-high nine home runs. Barnes and Carls are also tied for the team lead with eight doubles.
Lacey Middlebrooks has 30 appearances with 26 starts. She is 15-14 with a 2.52 ERA and has 165 strikeouts to 70 walks. Alissa Koch is 0-19 with a 6.21 ERA. She has 109 strikeouts to 88 walks.
? Iowa leads the all-time series, 51-37. The Hawkeyes have won eight of the 10 previous meetings, with their only losses coming in 2004 (2-0) and 2008 (1-0 in 13 innings) over the 10 game stretch.
? This weekend marks the first time since 2004 that Iowa has played at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. The Hawkeyes were scheduled to play two games in Minneapolis in 2007, but the series was snowed out.
Watkins Back to Hitting Ways
Sophomore Liz Watkins has returned to her offensive self over the past three games.
Watkins was on fire between March 21 and April 3, recording a six-game hitting streak where she batted an eye-popping .778 (14-18) with four home runs, four doubles, 10 RBI and nine runs scored. Watkins cooled off during the middle of the Big Ten season, recording just one hit in five games between April 18 and May 1.
Watkins is now back on track, collecting a total of four hits in Iowa’s last three games. She had one hit in game two vs. Ohio State last Sunday and another hit in game one vs. Illinois Wednesday. Watkins had two hits in game two vs. the Fighting Illini, including three RBI.
Taking One For the Team
Sophomore Liz Watkins had only one official at-bat in State College April 24-25, but reached base plenty of times.
Watkins was hit by a pitch in four-straight plate appearances to start the weekend, upping her team-leading total to nine HBP’s. Watkins went 1-for-1 on the weekend with a sacrifice fly.
Watkins was hit by another pitch Wednesday at Illinois, running her HBP total to 10.
Keim On a Tear
Sophomore Katie Keim is starting to heat up at the plate, recording 10 hits in Iowa’s last six games.
Keim is batting .474 (9-for-19) over the six-game stretch, including a double and her first-career triple. She has also scored three runs, drawn three walks and stole a base.
Keim has also been solid in the field during her hitting streak, recording seven putouts and 16 assists without comitting an error.
Brown Becoming an Option in the Circle
Senior Katie Brown has seen extended time in recent games in the circle for the Hawkeyes.
Brown has thrown a total of 5.2 innings in Iowa’s last four Big Ten games. She tossed 2.1 innings against Ohio State May 2 and 3.1 in game two against Illinois May 5. Brown appeared in four games earlier this season.
Brown came to Iowa with an impressive high school pitching resume. She was named the Iowa Class 3A Pitcher of the Year in 2004 and 2006 and, at the time, was the only player in Iowa high school history to strike out 22 batters in a seven inning game.
She appeared in six games as a freshman before emerging as Iowa’s top third baseman, and has held that spot throughout her career.
Iowa is fielding a lineup with plenty of freshmen and sophomores.
Iowa had five underclassmen in its lineup for game two against Illinois, including catcher Liz Watkins (sophomore), second baseman Jordan Goschie (freshman), third baseman Katie Keim (sophomore), pitcher Chelsea Lyon (freshman) and centerfielder Johnnie Dowling (freshman).
In addition, designated player Stephanie Ochoa is a junior college transfer playing her first season of Division I softball.