Hawkeyes Head to West Coast

March 3, 2011

Complete Release in PDF Format

The University of Iowa softball team, winners of six-of-its-last-seven games, returns to action at the DeMarini Invitational Mar. 4-6 in Fullerton, Calif. The Hawkeyes open the tournament against No. 14/16 Stanford at 1:15 p.m. Friday before playing host Cal State Fullerton at 8 p.m. Iowa plays IPFW (1:15 p.m.) and No. 10/11 California (1:15 p.m. ) Saturday before rounding out the weekend against Murray State Sunday morning at 11 a.m. All times listed are Central.

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 Hawkeyes posted a 4-1 record last weekend at the Moe’s Blue and Green Invite in Fort Myers, Fla. Iowa downed Albany (2-1), Florida Gulf Coast (11-9), UMBC (5-1) and Eastern Michigan (7-0) before closing out the tournament with a 5-1 loss to Southern Illinois.

Stanford enters the weekend having won four straight and five-of-its-last seven contests to improve to 12-3 this season. The Cardinal’s three losses have come against Nebraska, No. 9 Hawaii and Memphis. Six Stanford players are above the .300 mark on the year with Ashley Hansen leading the way with a .500 batting average. Jenna Rich is pacing the squad with seven home runs and 25 RBI, while hitting .471. In the circle, Teagan Gerhart and Ashley Chinn both have six victories. Gerhart has six complete games and a 1.56 ERA.

Cal State Fullerton has a 3-7 overall record after downing Long Island, 13-4, in its finale at the Cathedral City Classic. The Titans other two wins came over Oregon (4-3) and Cal State Bakersfield (3-0). Ashley Carter leads the team with a .360 batting average. Ari Cervantes leads the squad on the mound, posting a 3.47 ERA with 23 strikeouts and five complete games.

The Mastodons head to California after posting a 4-1 record at the North Carolina A&T Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Ashleigh Bousquet leads IPFW with a .500 batting average on the year. In the circle, Courtney Cronin was dominant in the opening tournament, going 3-0 with three complete game shutouts and a 0.00 ERA.

California enters the weekend with a 9-1 overall record and a No. 10/11 national ranking. The Golden Bears have won seven straight games since falling 5-4 to Texas Tech Feb. 12 in Tempe. Six California players have a batting average over .300 with Britt Vonk leading the way with a .536 clip. Jolene Henderson is 9-1 with a 0.77 ERA on the mound with 63 strikeouts.

Murray State heads to the West Coast with a 2-4 record on the season after dropping three-of-four games at the War Eagle Classic. The Racers’ lone win was an 8-0 shutout over Belmont. Lauren Buch is MSU’s top bat, posting a .714 average with 10 hits in 14 at-bats. Six of her 10 hits are of the extra base variety. Chelsey Sullivan is 2-2 on the mound for the Racers with a 2.04 ERA and 19 strikeouts.

? Iowa is 10-13 all-time against the five schools it will face at the DeMarini Invitational. The Hawkeyes are 2-1 against Cal State Fullerton and 8-12 against California. The games against Stanford, IPFW and Murray State will be the first meeting in the all-time series.
? The Hawkeyes will be facing their second and third ranked opponents this weekend in Fullerton, Calif. Iowa fell to No. 3/4 Georgia, 8-1, on Feb. 12.

Four Hawkeyes will be returning to their home state this weekend when Iowa plays at the DeMarini Invitational. Brianna Luna, Stephanie Ochoa, Nikki Gentile and Kayla Massey all hail from the state of California.

Senior Chelsey Carmody brings a 12-game hitting streak into Fullerton, Calif., this weekend. The Missouri native has tallied multiple hit games in three of her last six contests.

Carmody has a team-best 15 hits on the year with three doubles, one triple and one home run. She is also 3-for-3 on the base paths.

Sophomore Johnnie Dowling was forced to miss the first games of her Iowa career last weekend in Florida. The Des Moines, Iowa, native is out 3-6 weeks with an elbow injury suffered Feb. 18 in Tempe. Prior to last weekend, Dowling had started 55 consecutive games.

After seeing limited action in the first seven games of the season, freshman Michelle Zoeller had a breakout weekend in Fort Myers, Fla. The Wisconsin native started all five games at third base, and she posted a .462 batting average with six hits in 13 at-bats. In the victory over Florida Gulf Coast, Zoeller went 3-for-4 with four RBI.

Senior Stephanie Ochoa saw her first action of the season at the Moe’s Blue and Green Invite, and she made it count. The California native collected hits in four-of-the-five games, posting multi-hit games in wins over Florida Gulf Coast and Eastern Michigan.

? Iowa had season-highs 18 hits and tied a season-best with 11 runs in the 11-9 triumph over Florida Gulf Coast on Feb. 25.
? Senior Jenny Schuelke is second in the Big Ten with five doubles on the year. The five doubles match a season career-high for the Solon, Iowa, native.
? Freshman Katie Kroeger’s .440 batting average is sixth best in the conference.
? Freshman Kayla Massey is eighth in the Big Ten with a 2.53 ERA.
? Sophomore Chelsea Lyon had a career-high eight strikeouts against Florida Gulf Coast.
? The Hawkeyes are 7-1 this season when scoring first. Last weekend in Fort Myers, Iowa scored in its first at-bat in three-of-the-five games.

Freshman Kayla Massey has won three straight starts to improve her overall record to 5-1 on the year. The California native posted her second complete game shutout of the season in the 7-0 victory over Eastern Michigan. The righthander retired the first 11 batters she faced and allowed a single hit over the first six innings. EMU finished with three hits for the game.

Massey is pacing the team with a 2.53 earned run average and 45 strikeouts. The freshman has pitched complete games in four of her five starts and is limiting opponents to a .227 batting average.

Senior Jenny Schuelke connected on her second home run of the season in the 11-3 run-rule victory over Idaho State on Feb. 18. The Solon, Iowa, native hit a walk-off grand slam to send the Hawkeyes to the win. Schuelke also ripped a first inning double against the Bengals and finished the game with a career-high five RBI.

Junior Katie Keim has played four different positions for the Hawkeyes this. The Missouri native played first base, third base and second base at the Red & Black Showcase in Georgia before seeing action at shortstop in both games in Tempe.

Freshman Kayla Massey pitched a complete game shutout in the first start of her career, a 1-0 victory over Maryland on Feb. 11. The California native scattered four hits in seven innings, while striking out nine Terrapin batters.

Jenny Schuelke opened her senior season in grand fashion, belting a three-run first inning home run on Feb. 11 against Lipscomb.

A pair of Hawkeyes are among the career statistical leaders in school history. Junior Liz Watkins is tied for seventh with 16 career home runs. Senior Chelsey Carmody is tied for 10th in triples (10), tied for 12th with 102 career runs scored and 14th with 190 hits.

Senior Chelsey Carmody and junior Katie Keim were chosen by their teammates as the team captains for the 2011 Hawkeyes.

Five Iowa softball games will be televised live on the Big Ten Network this season. Hawkeye road games at Purdue (Apr. 3), the doubleheader at Minnesota (Apr. 13) and home contests against Northwestern (Apr. 17) and Penn State (May 8) will all be broadcast live.

The Hawkeyes have a youth-filled roster in 2011, as 11 of the 16 student-athletes are underclassmen. The Iowa roster is comprised of three seniors, two juniors, six sophomores and five freshmen.

Two-time all-Big Ten selection Liz Watkins returns behind the plate for her junior season in Black and Gold. Last season, Watkins was a second team all-Big Ten selection after batting .328 with seven doubles, five triples, five home runs and 26 RBI. As a freshman, Watkins was a third team all-Big Ten honoree, hitting .331 with nine jacks and 45 RBI.

For the first time since 1988, the Hawkeyes will have a new head coach in charge of the Iowa softball program. Marla Looper takes over the reigns as the Hawkeye head coach, coming to Iowa City from the University of Texas, where she spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach.

During her stint in Austin, Looper helped lead the Longhorns to nine NCAA Tournament berths, four Big 12 regular season titles and a pair of Big 12 Tournament championships.

Looper served as Texas’ pitching coach from 1999-2005 and mentored softball great Cat Osterman to the USA National Player of the Year Award in 2003, 2005 and 2006. Texas’ pitching staff led the nation in earned run average in three of Looper’s final four years as pitching coach, while Osterman led the country in 2003 and 2006 in both earned run average and strikeouts per seven innings.

Four-year letterwinner Stacy Johnson (formerly Stacy May) returns to the Hawkeye coaching staff after wrapping up a stellar professional player career in the National Professional Fastpitch league.

Johnson, who started every game in her Iowa career, was a three-time NFCA all-Mideast Region selection for the Hawkeyes. In 2003, she was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after leading the Hawkeyes to the regular season and conference tournament titles.

The Hawkeyes will be frequent fliers prior to opening their home season at Pearl Field on March 20. Iowa will rack up nearly 7,000 frequent flier miles (6,789) with trips to Georgia, Arizona, Florida, California and Florida (a second time).

The Hawkeyes will play a challenging schedule in 2011, as 12 of their opponents participated in the NCAA Tournament a season ago. Two of Iowa’s foes — Tennessee and Georgia — both advanced to the 2010 Women’s College World Series.

Iowa has made four Women’s College World Series appearances (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001) and it has played in 16 NCAA Tournaments in school history. The 16 appearances are the second most in Big Ten history.

The Hawkeyes have won four Big Ten Conference regular season championships and two Big Ten Tournament titles.