Iowa Heads to Big Ten-Leading Indiana

April 29, 2011

Complete Release in PDF Format

The University of Iowa softball team heads to Bloomington, Ind., for its final conference road series of the season this weekend at Big Ten-leading Indiana. The Hawkeyes and Hoosiers square off at 12 p.m. (CT) both Saturday and Sunday at the IU Softball Field.

Saturday’s game at Indiana will be streamed live at via a “Student U” broadcast.

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.

The Hawkeyes dropped both games of its doubleheader against Wisconsin Wednesday afternoon at Pearl Field. Iowa dropped the opener, 7-6, as Wisconsin broke a 6-6 tie with a squeeze bunt in the top of the seventh. In the night cap, the Badgers hit a pair of home runs, including a three run shot in the top of the sixth, to down Iowa, 6-3.

The Hoosiers enter the weekend riding a 12-game winning streak that has improved their record to 32-15 overall and 12-2 in the Big Ten. Indiana swept a road series at Illinois Thursday, winning the opening game, 8-0, in six innings before claiming the night cap, 3-1.

Four Hoosier batters are above the .300 mark this season with Sara Olson pacing the team with a .355 average. Olson is also leading IU with eight doubles, seven home runs and 32 RBI on the year. Morgan Melloh is batting .343 in limited action at the plate, while Ashley Warrum is hitting .333 and Breanna Saucedo .327 with a team-best 52 hits. Saucedo also has 14 steals on the year.

The Indiana pitching staff centers around Melloh, as the senior has thrown 266.1 of 320 innings on the year. She is 27-14 on the year with a 1.76 ERA with 32 complete games and 10 shutouts. Melloh, who transferred to IU from Fresno State to be closer to home for her senior season, has struck out 418 batters, which are the most in IU history and the fourth most ever by a Big Ten pitcher.

? Iowa holds a 57-31-1 overall record against the Hoosiers. The Hawkeyes have won the last four meetings in the series, and three of the four have been run-rule victories. Last season, Iowa beat IU, 5-1, in the first game and 12-1 in five innings in game two.
? During Indiana’s 12-game win streak, Morgan Melloh has posted a 0.98 ERA with 134 strikeouts and just 27 walks.
? Indiana’s last defeat came at Louisville on April 6 by the count of 1-0. The Hoosier’s lone Big Ten defeats came against Minnesota (2-0) in their Big Ten opener and at No. 3 Michigan, 2-1.
? IU assistant coach Christy Hebert has extensive ties to the state of Iowa and the Hawkeyes. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native played shortstop at Iowa, where she earned All-America honors in 1996 and 1997. She played in three Women’s College World Series in each of her final three seasons at Iowa. Hebert also coached at Northern Iowa for seven seasons, the last five as the head coach.

Sophomore Chelsea Lyon was tabbed as the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week April 25 after leading Iowa to a 4-2 victory over No. 1 Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Broken Arrow, Okla., native struck out seven Wolverine batters in the contest, while allowing two runs on eight hits in the complete game victory. The honor is the first of Lyon’s career.

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 posted their first victory over a top-ranked team since the 2005 season when it downed No. 1 Michigan, 4-2, April 23 in Ann Arbor. It was also Iowa’s first victory over a ranked foe since the 2008 campaign when it topped No. 18 Long Beach State in the NCAA Regional in Iowa City.

Iowa is receiving votes in the Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll. The Hawkeyes have four points, which puts them in a tie for 29th place with BYU.

It is the first time Iowa has received votes since the 2010 USA Today/NFCA Top 25 preseason poll.

The softball has been more like a beach ball for Iowa junior Katie Keim over the past 10 games. The Missouri native is riding a 10-game hitting streak, and she’s hit a home run in three consecutive contests. Keim is the first Hawkeye to go deep three straight games since Emily Nichols hit long balls in four consecutive games during the 2005 season.

During her current 10-game hitting streak, Keim is batting .447 (17-38) with three home runs and eight RBI. Her batting average has gone up 51 points from .241 to .292.

Senior Stephanie Ochoa has a hitting streak of 14 games dating back to March 27 at Ohio State. The first baseman has 20 hits in 49 at-bats during the stretch for a .408 batting average. Ochoa has four multi-hit games in the 14 games, including a 3-for-4 outing in the 4-2 win at No. 1 Michigan.

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 eighth 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).

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 se.ries over Michigan State and Northwestern. It was the Hawkeyes’ first sweep over Northwestern since the 2004 season.

Junior Liz Watkins has thrown out 19 base runners this season, which is the most in the Big Ten. 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 46-23 in the first inning alone. Iowa has gone on to post an 22-8 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.

? Four Hawkeyes are batting above .300 in Big Ten Conference play and seven players are hitting at least .293. Ashley Akers is pacing the team with a .357 average, collecting 15 hits in 42 at-bats.
? Junior Liz Watkins has 17 RBIs in 14 Big Ten games. She is batting .351 with five extra base hits.
? Senior Jenny Schuelke hit her fourth and fifth home runs in back-to-back games against Iowa State and Michigan. She now has 15 career long balls.
? Senior Chelsey Carmody has hit safely in 38-of-43 games this season. The shortstop, who had a 25-game hitting streak to start the season, has a team-leading 14 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 seventh in the Big Ten with a .412 batting average.
? Iowa is aggressive on the base paths, as the squad has 59 stolen bases on the season, which are fourth most in the Big Ten.
? Iowa batters have been plunked 32 times this season. Junior Liz Watkins overtook Johnnie Dowling for the team high (10) after being hit three times April 16 against Northwestern.
? Sophomore Chelsea Lyon has gone the distance to register complete games in 13 of her last 16 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 3.09 ERA, while posting an 12-9 record with 14 complete games and three shutouts. Lyon, meanwhile, is 14-10 on the rubber with a 3.42 ERA with 102 strikeouts in 145.1 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 14 multi-hit games, including three contests with at least three hits. Katie Keim has 13 multi-hit contests, Stephanie Ochoa 12 with five games with at least three hits, and 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 – 231
7th – Runs – 126
8th – Batting Average – .341
9th – At-bats – 677
t10th – Triples – 10
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.