Top-Ranked Wolverines Await Hawkeyes

April 21, 2011

Complete Release in PDF Format

The University of Iowa softball team hits the road this weekend for a two-game series at No. 1/1 Michigan. Saturday’s game is set to begin a 5 p.m. (CT), while Sunday’s finale is slated to start at 1 p.m. (CT). Both games will be contested at Alumni Field, while Sunday’s contest will be streamed live on

Sunday’s game will be streamed live on via a “Student U” broadcast. The game will be replayed on the Big Ten Network at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

Saturday’s series opener will be broadcast live on 800-AM KXIC with Rob Brooks calling the play-by-play action.

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.

On Wednesday, Iowa picked up a 4-3 victory over Iowa State in the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series at Pearl Field. The Hawkeyes grabbed a 3-0 lead on Jenny Schuelke’s three-run homer in the second inning. After the Cyclones fought back to tie the game, Michelle Zoeller’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth knocked in the game-winning run.

Michigan, who moved into the No. 1 ranking in both polls April 18, enters the weekend riding an eight game winning streak that has improved its record to 41-3 overall and 9-1 in the Big Ten. On Wednesday, the Wolverines claimed a pair of tight 5-4 victories at Penn State.

Michigan, who is second in the conference with a .330 batting average, has five batters hitting above .300 and a pair of players above the .400 mark. Bree Evans is pacing the squad with a .422 average with 65 hits. Amanda Chidester, meanwhile, is batting .405 with 10 home runs and 52 RBI. She is tied for the team lead in RBIs with Ashley Lane.

Jordan Taylor is Michigan’s top hurler, posting a 21-3 overall record with a 1.49 ERA. Taylor has 21 complete games and eight shutouts on the year, and she’s struck out 227 batters. Stephanie Speierman, meanwhile, is a perfect 18-0 with a 1.70 ERA. She has five complete games and 98 strikeouts.

? Iowa holds a slight 52-51-1 advantage in the all-time series over the Wolverines. Last season Michigan downed the Hawkeyes, 8-2 and 6-0, in Iowa City.
? Only five games in the series, since 2000, has been decided by more than three runs. There have been six one-run contests, five two-run games and five games that were decided by three runs. Two games since 2001 have also gone extra innings.
? The Wolverines opened the season winning their first 24 games before suffering a 3-2 loss against Western Kentucky on March 12. UM’s only other two defeats came against Fresno State (3-1) and Indiana (5-4).
? Three Michigan players have at least 11 home runs and more than 35 RBI. Ashley Lane is tied for the Big Ten lead with 14 jacks, while she and Amanda Chidester are tied for the league lead with 52 RBI. Dorian Shaw, meanwhile, has 11 homers and 37 runs driven in.
? The Wolverines are leading the conference with a 1.57 team ERA with Jordan Taylor and Stephanie Speierman having the top two ERAs in the league.

Iowa will square off against a top-ranked team for the first time since the 2005 season this weekend in Ann Arbor. The 2005 meetings also came at Michigan, where the Hawkeyes won the opener, 5-2, on April 1, 2005. The Wolverines won the second game of the series, 3-1, before claiming the third meeting at the Big Ten Tournament, 7-2, on May 14.

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 seventh 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 six games, Watkins is batting .615 with eight hits in 13 at-bats. She has nine RBI, six runs scored and a 2.004 OPS.

Senior Jenny Schuelke belted her fourth home run of the season in the 4-3 victory over Iowa State April 20. The long ball was the outfielder’s 14th career home run.

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 six game hitting streak, where she has recorded multi-hit contests in four of the six games.

During the stretch, Keim is batting .440.

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.

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 21-6 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 7-0 in the friendly confines of Pearl Field this season. ? Senior Stephanie Ochoa is currently riding a 10-game hitting streak dating back to March 27, which is the second longest streak by a Hawkeye this season. Ochoa has hit safely in 17-of-her-last-19 games.
? Senior Chelsey Carmody has hit safely in 34-of-39 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 ninth in the Big Ten with a .402 batting average, while Carmody is 11th with a .391 average.
? Iowa is aggressive on the base paths, as the squad has 56 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 .278 as a team with runners in scoring position.
? Sophomore Chelsea Lyon has gone the distance to register complete games in 12 of her last 15 starts.
? Freshman Kayla Massey has allowed four hits or fewer in seven starts this season. Massey has 12 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 2.90 ERA, while posting an 12-6 record with 12 complete games and three shutouts. Lyon, meanwhile, is 13-10 on the rubber with a 3.36 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 133.1 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 – 225
7th – Runs – 125
t8th – Batting Average – .339
t10th – Triples – 10
t10th – At-bats – 664
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.