May 11, 2010
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IOWA CITY – On Deck
The University of Iowa softball team (25-21, 10-7) hosts No. 2 Michigan (44-6, 16-1) this weekend to wrap up regular season play. Games are scheduled for Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (4 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.
On Your Television
Both games this weekend can be seen live on the Big Ten Network (HD). Leah Secondo 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 (Gametracker) will be available. The live “GT” 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 second-ranked Michigan Wolverines are 44-6 overall and 16-1 in Big Ten play.
The Wolverines boast six players with a batting average of .300 or better. Maggie Viefhaus leads the team at .389 along with 11 stolen bases. Dorian Shaw is batting .354 and has a team-best 18 home runs and 54 RBI.
Michigan’s pitching staff is one of the best in the country, sporting a team ERA of 1.58. Jordan Taylor is 23-3 with a 1.41 ERA. She has a team-high 264 strikeouts and just 38 walks while limiting her opponents to just a .157 batting average. Nikki Nemitz is 19-3 with a 1.76 ERA. She has 162 K’s to 28 BB. Nemitz is also batting .351 with 40 hits in 114 at bats.
? Iowa leads the all-time series, 52-49-1. The teams have split the two-game regular season series three of the last five years, with Michigan taking both games in 2007 and 2009.
? Only three games in the series, since 2000, has been decided by more than three runs. Michigan won both games by a five-run margin in 2000 and won a 6-0 decision last year. There have been six one-run contests, five two-run games and three games that were decided by three runs. Two games since 2001 have also gone extra innings. ? Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins served as an assistant at Indiana under Iowa Head Coach Gayle Blevins during the 1981 season. Both coaches are in the NFCA Hall of Fame.
? Two of the winningest coaches in Division I softball will face off this weekend. Entering the 2010 season, Blevins ranked second all-time in wins, while Hutchins ranked fifth.
Leichsenring Ending on a High Note
Senior Taylor Leichsenring is wrapping up her Hawkeye career in style.
Leichsenring is riding an eight-game hitting streak into the regular season finale this weekend.
Over the eight-game streak, Leichserning is batting .448 (13-for-29) with one double, three RBI and one run scored. She has also recorded five sacrifice hits in the last eight contests.
Junior Sarah Spiering had a breakout weekend in Minneapolis.
Spiering entered the two-game series batting just .081 (3-for-37), but was on fire at Cowles Stadium. She hit .667 (2-for-3) with her first career home run, a three-run shot in game two, along with two runs scored and three walks.
Watkins Back to Hitting Ways
Sophomore Liz Watkins has returned to her offensive self over the past five 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 six hits in Iowa’s last five 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. She also went 2-for-4 with an RBI in game two at Minnesota.
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 has 11 HBP’s on the season.
Keim On a Tear
Sophomore Katie Keim is starting to heat up at the plate, recording 11 hits in Iowa’s last eight games.
Keim is batting .407 (11-for-27) over the eight-game stretch, including a double and her first-career triple. She has also scored four runs, drawn three walks and stole two bases.
Keim has also been solid in the field during her hitting streak, recording nine putouts and 19 assists with only one 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 first baseman, and has held that spot throughout her career.