Iowa Hosts Iowa State in Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series

April 19, 2011

Complete Release in PDF Format

The University of Iowa softball team will host Iowa State in a Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk series match-up Wednesday afternoon at Pearl Field. The game, which is being tabbed as a “Blackout Day”, is slated to begin at 5 p.m., and it will be streamed live on

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

Wednesday’s game will be streamed live on Kyle Hughes and Brendan Ferguson will call the action for the “Student U” broadcast. The game will be replayed on the Big Ten Network at 9 a.m. Friday morning.

Fans can follow the Hawkeyes online via the All-Access page at Rob Brooks, the voice of Iowa softball, will call 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.

Fans can follow the action at, where live stats (Gametracker) will be available. The live “GT” can be found under the calendar tab on the right-hand side of the home page, or on the softball schedule page.

Hawkeye fans can follow the University of Iowa softball team on Twitter: @iowasoftball.

Iowa posted a pair of come-from-behind victories over Northwestern to sweep the two-game series last weekend at Pearl Field. In the opener, Johnnie Dowling hit a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to send the Hawkeyes to the 10-8 victory. On Sunday, Iowa fell behind 7-1 through three and a half innings before erupting for eight runs in the bottom of the fourth to complete the sweep by the count of 9-7.

Iowa State has lost 11 of its last 16 games to drop its record to 19-19 overall and 1-7 in the Big 12 Conference. Last week, the Cyclones took a pair of games against Drake, winning, 2-1, in Des Moines and 8-6 in Ames. The squad rounded out the week with a pair of road losses at No. 3 Texas, 3-0 and 6-1.

The Cyclones are batting .288 as a team, and they have seven players hitting above .300. Bianca Lopez has the top average at .366, while Dalyn Varela is the top everyday player, hitting .342 with six home runs and 23 RBI. Erica Miller is the team’s top long ball threat, hitting nine thus far in 2011 with 35 runs driven in.

Rachel Zabriskie has thrown 64 percent of Iowa State’s innings this season, tossing 152 of the team’s 238.2 innings. Zabriskie is 12-13 with a 3.73 ERA, and she has 163 strikeouts.

? Iowa and Iowa State are dead even in the all-time series, as the record stands at 30-30-1 entering Wednesday’s game. Last season, the Cyclones were victorious in both games, winning 8-2 in Minneapolis and 7-3 in Ames. Prior to that, the Hawkeyes had won the previous six meetings dating back to the 2003 season.
? Two sets of former high school teammates will be squaring off on Wednesday. Iowa’s Jenny Schuelke will battle former Solon teammate Heidi Kidwell, while Johnnie Dowling will face former West Des Moines Valley teammate Erin Johnson.

Junior Liz Watkins was tabbed as the Big Ten Player of the Week April 18 after leading the Hawkeyes to a 3-1 record in games against Minnesota and Northwestern. The catcher finished the week with a .625 batting average with seven RBI and four runs scored.

Watkins earned the accolade the first time on March 28 after hitting .714 with six RBI and six RBI and three runs scored in Iowa’s series sweep at Ohio State. The catcher went 4-for-4 in the opener with three RBI before tallying her fifth straight hit on a three-run long ball to send Iowa to the sweep. It was Watkins’ second career honor.

Senior Stephanie Ochoa was the first Hawkeye honoree March 21 after hitting .612 to lead the Hawkeyes to a 4-2 record. The California native went 4-for-4 in a game at No. 11 Tennessee, which were a career high in hits. She then closed out the week going 5-for-6 with four runs and an RBI in the doubleheader sweep of South Dakota.

The Hawkeyes have posted three series sweeps in Big Ten Conference play. Iowa opened league play with a road sweep at Ohio State before doing the same in home series over Michigan State and Northwestern. It was the Hawkeyes’ first sweep over Northwestern since the 2004 season.

Junior Liz Watkins matched her career high in home runs when she belted her eighth and ninth jacks of the season in the 9-7 victory over Northwestern on April 17. The catcher, who is tied for sixth in the Big Ten in homers, also hit nine long balls during her freshman season in 2009.

Watkins’ nine home runs are tied for the seventh most in a single season in school history. Emily Nichols holds the top two totals (16/12), while a quartet of individuals are tied for third with 10.

Iowa plated eight runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to rally from a 7-1 deficit to beat Northwestern, 9-7, on April 17. The Hawkeyes scored the eight runs despite coming up with just two hits in the inning. It was the most runs for the team since plating nine at Wisconsin last season.

Iowa has plated five or more runs in seven innings this season. The eight runs are a high for a single inning, while the squad has scored six runs on three occasions (vs. Idaho State, vs. South Dakota, vs. Michigan State).

Junior Liz Watkins reached base in each of her first eight plate appearances in Iowa’s two game sweep over Northwestern. The catcher went 2-for-2 to go along with three hit by pitches in the opener and 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs in the finale. Watkins struck out in her final at-bat of the weekend.

Over the last five games, Watkins is batting .636 with seven hits in 11 at-bats. She has nine RBI, five runs scored and a 2.062 OPS.

Junior Katie Keim has been coming on as of late, serving as a catalyst at the top of the Iowa line-up. The Missouri native is riding a five game hitting streak, where she has recorded multi-hit contests in four of the five games.

During the stretch, Keim is batting .476 with 10 hits in 21 at-bats.

Junior Liz Watkins has thrown out 16 base runners this season. In the series against Northwestern, the catcher gunned down three Wildcat base runners. Entering the weekend, NU had been caught only three times the entire season (67-70).

Sophomore Chelsea Lyon pitched one of the best games of her Hawkeye career in leading Iowa to a 2-1 victory at Minnesota on Wednesday evening. The Oklahoma native allowed a single hit – a third inning solo home run – in the complete game victory.

In the doubleheader against the Golden Gophers, Lyon pitched 9.1 innings in the circle, allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts.

After serving as mostly a pinch runner during her freshman season, Ashley Akers has come on at the plate for the Hawkeyes. The Tiffin, Iowa, native has hits in nine of her last 12 games, which includes a pair of three hit affairs against Western Illinois and Michigan State. The sophomore has 27 hits on the year, where she is batting .260.

The Hawkeyes erupted for 17 hits in the 9-8 victory over Michigan State in the series finale at Pearl Field. The 17 hits were the most for the team since Feb. 25 (at FGCU – 18 hits) and the second most for the squad in a game this season. The hit total are also the most in a conference game.

The Hawkeyes have jumped on opponents early in games this season, out scoring the opposition 42-22 in the first inning alone. Iowa has gone on to post an 20-6 record when scoring first.

Junior Liz Watkins’ 100th career RBI was one she won’t soon forget. After all, it came in the unlikeliest of fashions in the 2-1 road win at Minnesota. Iowa’s power-hitting catcher pushed a bunt in between the third baseman and pitcher, allowing Stephanie Ochoa to cross the plate for what turned out to be the game-winning run.

Watkins, who has 35 RBI this season, has 11 multiple RBI games this season, which includes four three-RBI and one four-RBI game. The Illinois native is the 11th player in Iowa history with at least 100 RBI, ranking 10th with 106 driven in.

? The Hawkeyes are a perfect 6-0 in the friendly confines of Pearl Field this season.
? Senior Stephanie Ochoa is currently riding a nine game hitting streak dating back to March 27, which is the second longest streak for the team this season. Ochoa has hit safely in 16-of-her-last-18 games.
? Senior Chelsey Carmody has hit safely in 33-of-38 games this season. The shortstop, who had a 25-game hitting streak to start the season, has a team-leading 12 multi-hit games. Carmody missed the Michigan State series due to personal reasons.
? Junior Liz Watkins has caught every inning and every pitch at the catcher position this season. She and fellow junior Katie Keim are the only two Hawkeyes to start every game.
? Senior Stephanie Ochoa is eighth in the Big Ten with a .404 batting average, while Carmody is 12th with a .389 average.
? Iowa is aggressive on the base paths, as the squad has 54 stolen bases on the season, which are fourth most in the Big Ten.
? Iowa batters have been plunked 30 times this season. Junior Liz Watkins overtook Johnnie Dowling for the team high after being hit three times April 16 against Northwestern.
? The Hawkeyes are batting .280 as a team with runners in scoring position. ? Sophomore Chelsea Lyon has gone the distance to register complete games in 12 of her last 14 starts.
? Freshman Kayla Massey has allowed four hits or fewer in seven starts this season. Massey has 11 complete games and three shutouts on her resume.

Iowa’s two pitchers — Kayla Massey and Chelsea Lyon — have shared the duties in the circle this season. Massey is pacing the team with a 2.91 ERA, while posting an 11-6 record with 12 complete games and three shutouts. Lyon, meanwhile, is 13-10 on the rubber with a 3.46 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 129.1 innings.

Massey tossed a four hitter with nine strikeouts in her first collegiate start against Maryland on Feb. 11 in Georgia.

Junior Liz Watkins tied assistant coach Stacy (May) Johnson on the Iowa career home runs list with her two long balls against Northwestern on April 17. Watkins now has 23 career home runs, which is tied for fourth in the record books. Watkins is two long balls shy of moving into sole possession of third place all-time, trailing only Colleen McGlaughlin (24), Alicia Gerlach (29) and Emily Nichols (37).

Three different Hawkeye players have posted perfect 4-for-4 games at the plate this season. Chelsey Carmody accomplished the feat against Liberty on March 12 in Florida, Stephanie Ochoa went 4-for-4 at No. 11 Tennessee, and Liz Watkins went 4-for-4 in the Big Ten opening win at Ohio State.

Eleven different Iowa players have tallied at least one multi-hit game this season. Senior Chelsey Carmody leads the squad with 12 multi-hit games, including three contests with at least three hits. Katie Keim and Stephanie Ochoa both have 11 multi-hit games, while Liz Watkins has 10 on the year.

Iowa posted a 4-1 record to win the round robin formatted Stetson Classic Mar. 11-13 in DeLand, Fla. After opening the tournament with a loss to Liberty, the Hawkeyes won four straight games, including beating Liberty, 4-3, in the championship game.

A pair of Hawkeyes are among the career statistical leaders in school history. Below is the breakdown.

Liz Watkins
t4th – Home runs – 23
10th – RBI – 106

Chelsey Carmody
6th – Hits – 224
7th – Runs – 124
t9th – Batting Average – .338
t10th – Triples – 10
11th – At-bats – 662
12th – Doubles – 33

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.