Iowa Heads to West Coast

Feb. 22, 2012

Complete Release in PDF Format

The University of Iowa softball team heads to Palm Springs, Calif., for the Cathedral City Classic on Friday through Sunday. The Hawkeyes open play with games against Fresno State and Oregon State on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. Iowa then faces Cal State Northridge at 7 p.m. Saturday before closing out play against LIU Brooklyn at 11 a.m. Sunday. All times are Central.

All four games will be held at the Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City, Calif.

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 the social media platforms Twitter (@iowasoftball) and Facebook ( Game updates will be tweeted during each game.

Fresno State enters the Cathedral City Classic on a four-game winning streak that has improved its record to 7-2 on the season. The Bulldogs have five players hitting over .300 with Andrea Ortega and Kaitlin Griffin leading the way with .348 averages. Griffin also paces the team with 10 RBI and two home runs. Fresno State had a 0.80 team ERA. Michelle Moses is 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA with five complete games and three shutouts. Makenzie Oakes, the reigning WAC Pitcher of the Week, is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA with three complete games and two shutouts. Oakes tossed her third career no-hitter in FSU’s Feb. 19 victory over Cal State Fullerton.

Oregon State is riding a three-game winning streak to push its record to 7-3 on the season. One of the Beavers’ victories was an 11-3, six inning run-rule win over Big Ten foe Nebraska. Six OSU players are hitting over .300 with Desiree Beltran leading the way with a .385 batting average with three home runs. In the circle, Marina Denmore has posted a 3-1 record with a 1.67 ERA. She has 26 strikeouts in 29.1 innings of work.

Cal State Northridge is 0-10 on the season, being run-ruled in nine of the 10 games. The Matadors, who have scored just 17 runs, have a 11.09 team ERA, and they have given up seven home runs and a total of 33 extra base hits.

LIU Brooklyn brings a 1-9 record to California. After dropping their first nine games, the Blackbirds picked up their first victory with a 7-2 victory over Florida Atlantic. LIU has scored 16 runs in 10 games.

? Iowa is 8-7 against the four teams it will face in the Cathedral City Classic. The Hawkeyes are 4-2 against Long Island, 2-3 against Fresno State and 1-1 against both Oregon State and Cal State Northridge.

? Four California natives on the UI roster — Megan Blank (Culver City), Brianna Luna (Indio), Nikki Gentile (Martinez) and Kayla Massey (Foothill Ranch) – return to their home state this weekend for the Cathedral City Classic.
? Iowa scored 26 runs in the 26-5 rout of Iowa State on Feb. 19. The Hawkeyes plated 13 runs in the top of the third inning alone. Iowa didn’t score 13 runs in a game last season.
? Senior Katie Keim hit two home runs against Iowa State, the first two-home run game of her career. She hit then hit her team-leading third long ball against Central Michigan.
? Sophomore Kayla Massey has five starts and five complete games this season. She is 3-2 with a 1.21 ERA.
? Iowa nearly tallied its first victory over a ranked foe on Feb. 17 at No. 5/6 Arizona State. The Hawkeyes led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning before the Sun Devils scored five runs before hitting a three-run walk-off home run.
? Freshman Megan Blank has reached base safely in each of the last eight games. Blank and senior Katie Keim lead the Hawkeyes with five multi-hit games this season.
? Junior Chelsea Lyon had a career-high 10 strikeouts in the 7-5 victory over Central Michigan on Feb. 18.
? Three different Hawkeyes — Katie Keim, Bradi Wall and Kayla Massey — have tallied a four hit game this season, while senior Liz Watkins has a five-hit contest.

Iowa had a record-setting 26-5 rout of Iowa State on Feb. 18 at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The Hawkeyes set school records for runs (26), hits (29), RBI (23), total bases (41) and single game batting average (.659). Iowa scored 13 runs in the second inning alone, which is believed to be the school record.

Senior Katie Keim set a school record with five runs scored, while senior Liz Watkins tied the single game school record with five hits.

The Hawkeyes posted a .378 team batting average in the team’s five games at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe. Six of the team’s starters finished with at least a .400 batting average with freshman Megan Blank leading the way at .533.

Senior Katie Keim hit three home runs in the Littlewood Classic, which included her first career two home run game against Iowa State. She finished the weekend with a .474 batting average with nine hits in 19 at-bats to go along with 10 RBI. Seven of her nine hits were of the extra base variety.

Sophomore Kayla Massey has an expanded role in 2012. She is not only the team’s most consistent pitcher, but she has added hitting to her responsibilies. Massey is batting .308 with five RBIs. She went 4-for-4 with two RBI in the win over Iowa State.

Sophomore Kayla Massey is 3-2 on the 2012 season with her two losses coming against No. 7 Baylor and No. 5/6 Arizona State. The California native has posted a 1.21 ERA with five complete games. Her ERA is the fifth best in the Big Ten. She has 22 strikeouts in 34.2 innings of work.

The Hawkeyes are second in the Big Ten in runs (64), tied for second in hits (82) and are third in RBI (48) and batting (.332). Iowa is fourth in team ERA at 2.60.

Freshman Megan Blank is leading the conference in batting average (.556) and doubles (five), while ranking fourth in on-base percentage (.629) and sixth in slugging percentage (.852). She also is third in runs scored (12) and total hits (15).

Shortstop Megan Blank was tabbed as the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week on Feb. 13 after posting a .583 batting average with six runs and two steals at the Getterman Classic. The California native reached base at nearly a 70 percent clip, getting on twice or more in four games. She went 3-for-3 against Arkansas, drew four walks against Wichita State and scored the game-winning run in the 1-0 win over UT-Arlington.

Freshman Megan Blank and junior Ashley Akers were selected to the Getterman Classic all-Tournament Team. Blank collected hits in 7-of-12 at-bats for a .583 average, while Akers batted .500, tallying six hits in 12 at-bats.

Through the first 10 games of the 2012 season, the Hawkeyes have matched the number of run-rule victories from the 2011 campaign. Iowa has run-rule Wichita State, Belmont and Iowa State this season.

At the plate, junior Johnnie Dowling made the transition from a right-handed hitter to a left-handed slapper following the 2011 season to utilize her speed. The Des Moines, Iowa, native hit .216 with five home runs as a sophomore.

The 2012 season will be junior Bradi Wall’s third year playing softball. Growing up, she played baseball and parlayed that experience into two appearances for the Canadia National Baseball Team. The last two years Wall played softball at Iowa Western Community College, where she earned All-America recognition after batting .458 with 32 doubles.

UI assistant coach Stacy May-Johnson was selected as the 2011 USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year. She earned the honor after helping Team USA to gold medals at the World Cup of Softball VII and the Pan American Games. May-Johnson batted a team-best .418 with team highs in home runs (six), runs (26) and RBI (36). She will play for the Red, White and Blue again in 2012.

The Hawkeyes will face a difficult schedule in 2012, squaring off against 14 teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season. Five of those teams participated in the Women’s College World Series, including 2011 national champion Arizona State.

The Hawkeyes will play their first 26 games away from Iowa City before making their Pearl Field debut March 24 against Wisconsin. Iowa will rack up the frequent flier miles, as it will log nearly 5,500 miles (5,413) with trips to Waco, Texas, Palm Springs, Calif., Oklahoma City, Fullerton, Calif., and Columbia, Mo.

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.