Hawkeyes Entertain Illinois Wednesday

May 3, 2011

Complete Release in PDF Format

The University of Iowa softball team returns home to host Illinois in a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon at Pearl Field. The opening game is slated to begin at 4 p.m., while game two will start 20 minutes following the conclusion of the first contest.

During the opening game of the doubleheader, the concession stand will offer $1 hot dogs and $1 drinks. Coupons will be handed out at the ticket windows to each ticketed fan. 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.

Fans can follow the Hawkeyes online via the All-Access page at hawkeyesports.com. 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 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.

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

Iowa will recognize its three seniors — Chelsey Carmody, Stephanie Ochoa and Jenny Schuelke — on Sunday with a short post game ceremony following the regular season finale against Penn State.

The Hawkeyes dropped a pair of road games at Indiana, falling 3-1 Saturday in the opener and 5-0 in Sunday’s finale. Iowa couldn’t figure out IU starter Morgan Mellow. The senior limited Iowa to three hits on the weekend, allowing two hits Saturday and a single hit — a seventh inning blooper with two outs — Sunday.

Illinois ended a streak where it lost six of seven games with a two-game series sweep over Northwestern last weekend in Urbana. The Fighting Illini won a pair of one-run games, downing the Wildcats, 5-4 and 5-3.

Illinois is batting .287 as a team, and it has three players hitting above .300 and six over the .280 mark. Danielle Zymkowitz is pacing the squad with a .431 average with a team-best 62 hits and 17 stolen bases. Meredith Hackett is hitting .358 with nine home runs, 15 doubles and 43 RBI, while Jessica Davis sits at .314 with 13 long balls and 36 RBI. A total of four Illini players have driven in more than 30 runs.

Pepper Gay lead Illinois in the circle with a 16-13 record with 13 complete games and two shutouts. Gay has a 3.07 ERA with 117 strikeouts to 104 walks in 148 innings. Jackie Guy has a team-leading 2.92 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 110.1 innings. She is an even 6-6 on the year.

? The Hawkeyes hold a 15-8 advantage in the all-time series over Illinois. Last season, the Fighting Illini swept the series in Urbana, downing Iowa, 6-4 and 10-6.
? Illinois is fourth in the Big Ten with a .287 team batting average. Danielle Zymkowitz is fifth in the conference, individually, with a .431 mark. She is also fifth in overall hits (62) and third with 45 runs scored.

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.

The Hawkeyes are 7-2 in the friendly confines of Pearl Field this season. The squad is batting .336 as a team in home contests, and six players are hitting over .300. Liz Watkins and Chelsey Carmody are both batting at a .500 clip. Five of Watkins’ hits are of the extra base variety (2 2B, 3 HR), and she has 12 RBI.

Junior Katie Keim has been Iowa’s hottest hitter over the last three weeks, as the second baseman has hit nearly .400 over the past 12 games. The Missouri native is batting .395 (17-43) during the stretch, which includes a 10-game hitting streak from April 10 through April 27.

Keim hit home runs in three consecutive games on April 24-April 27, as she became the first Hawkeye to go deep three straight games since Emily Nichols hit long balls in four consecutive contests during the 2005 season.

? Four Hawkeyes are batting above .300 in Big Ten Conference play. Senior Stephanie Ochoa is pacing the squad with a .327 average.
? The Hawkeyes received votes in the ESPN.com/USA Today Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll on April 26.
? Junior Liz Watkins has 17 RBIs in 16 Big Ten games. She is batting .325 with five extra base hits.
? Sophomore Johnnie Dowling hit her fourth home run of the season — a solo shot — at Indiana on April 30. It was her ninth career long ball.
? 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 39-of-45 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 ninth in the Big Ten with a .400 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 33 times this season. Junior Liz Watkins and sophomore Johnnie Dowling have each been hit 10 times.
? Freshman Kayla Massey has allowed four hits or fewer in seven starts this season. Massey has 16 complete games and three shutouts on her resume.

Senior Stephanie Ochoa had a 14-game hitting streak from March 27 through April 27, which was the second longest streak for a Hawkeye player this season. The California native has collected at least one hit in 20-of-her-last-22 games this season, which includes seven multi-hit contests.

Ochoa broke up Indiana starter Morgan Melloh’s no-hit bid May 1 in Bloomington with a two-out, seventh inning bloop single to centerfield.

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

Junior Liz Watkins has thrown out 20 base runners this season, which is the most in the Big Ten. The total is more than Watkins’ first two seasons combined, when she threw out 14 base runners (6 – 2010, 8 – 2009).

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.

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 3.05 ERA, while posting an 12-10 record with 16 complete games and three shutouts. Lyon, meanwhile, is 14-11 on the rubber with a 3.50 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 150 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 – 232
7th – Runs – 126
8th – Batting Average – .340
9th – At-bats – 683
t10th – Triples – 10
12th – Doubles – 34

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.