Hawkeyes Bound for Oklahoma

Feb. 29, 2012

Complete Release in PDF Format

The University of Iowa softball team heads to the Sooner State this weekend for four games. The Hawkeyes open play in Stillwater at No. 23 Oklahoma State on Friday, facing the Cowgirls at 6 p.m. (CT) at Cowgirl Softball Stadium. The game was originally scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Iowa will be one of four teams competing in The Preview college softball showcase Saturday at Hall of Fame Stadium, the home of the Women’s College World Series, in Oklahoma City. The Hawkeyes face Oklahoma State at 1:30 p.m. (CT) before facing No. 8/9 Oklahoma at 6:30 p.m. (CT).

Iowa closes out the weekend against the Sooners in Norman. The game is slated to begin at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex beginning at 11 a.m. (CT).

In conjunction with The Preview, the ASA and the Oklahoman will be running a pencil drive to benefit North Highland Elementary School in Oklahoma City. Fans are encouraged to bring a new pack of pencils and in exchange they will receive a free ASA Complex souvenir drink. (*Limit one per person)

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

Oklahoma State went 2-3 at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., to drop its overall record to 6-7. The Cowgirls defeated BYU (3-2) and Northwestern (4-3) and fell to Pacific (5-0), Arizona (8-0) and Oregon (8-0). OSU, which is averaging two runs per game, has three players hitting .300. Tamara Brown is leading the team with a .389 clip with six RBI, while Ari Morrison is hitting .381 to go along with four stolen bases. Simone Freeman and Kat Espinosa are the Cowgirls’ two top pitchers. Freeman is 3-3 with a 2.58 ERA and two shutouts. She has 39 strikeouts in 38 innings. Espinosa is 2-3 with a 3.93 ERA with 31 strikeouts.

No. 8/9 Oklahoma is 9-3 overall after going 3-2 at the Cathedral City Classic. The Sooners opened with wins over San Diego State, UC Davis and Boise State before falling to Stanford and Georgia. Six OU players are hitting over .300 on the season with Jessica Shults leading the way with a .472 average. Shults has 17 hits and 13 RBI, while Lauren Chamberlain is hitting .324 with four home runs and 14 RBI. Junior Keilani Ricketts is 4-3 in the circle for the Sooners with a 1.56 ERA and three shutouts. She has 78 strikeouts in 45 innings. Michelle Gascoigne is 5-0 with a 0.57 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 24.2 innings.

? The Hawkeyes are 2-10 all-time against Oklahoma State and 4-5 against Oklahoma.
? Iowa dropped the first nine meetings against the Cowgirls, but have won two of the last three meetings, including a 2-0 victory in Tempe, Ariz., in 2002.
? Iowa has won two straight and three of the last four meetings against the Sooners. The two programs last met in the NCAA Regionals in Iowa City during the 1996 season.
? Both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State advanced to the 2011 Women’s College World Series. Iowa has already faced two other qualifiers — Baylor and Arizona State, the defending National Champion — and the Hawkeyes will face Missouri on March 21 in Columbia.
? Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults were teammates of Iowa’s Stacy May-Johnson on the USA National Team.

? Two Hawkeyes return to their home state this weekend — junior Chelsea Lyon (Broken Arrow) and freshman Melanie Gladden (Asher).
? Iowa ranks third in the Big Ten Conference in pitching (1.82 ERA) and fourth in team batting (.304) and fielding (.958).
? Junior Johnnie Dowling batted .500 with seven hits in 14 at-bats at the Cathedral City Classic. The outfielder had three multi-hit games in the tournament, including three against LIU Brooklyn, which tied a career-high.
? Freshman Melanie Gladden tallied her first career two-hit game and first RBIs in the 7-0 victory over LIU Brooklyn. She has started the last 12 games at third base.
? Senior Katie Keim took over the team lead in batting average with her play at the Cathedral City Classic. Keim has a .417 (20-of-48) average on the season, while freshman Megan Blank is second at .390 (16-of-41).
? Freshman Megan Blank is tied for the Big Ten lead with six doubles.
? 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.
? Iowa is 0-2 against ranked competition during the 2012 season, falling 4-0 to No. 7/7 Baylor on Feb. 10 and 5-2 at No. 5/6 Arizona State on Feb. 17. The Hawkeyes led the Sun Devils 2-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
? The Hawkeyes are 7-1 this season when scoring three or more runs and 6-3 when scoring the game’s first run.

Senior Katie Keim has a team-best eight multi-hit games for the Hawkeyes this season. The first baseman, who is riding a six-game hitting streak, has seven two-hit contests and one four-hit game. She went 4-for-6 with five runs and five RBI in the win over Iowa State. She also had her first career two-home run game against the Cyclones.

Keim’s team-best .417 batting average ranks ninth in the Big Ten, her 20 hits are second most in the league and her 16 RBIs are tied for fifth.

Sophomore Kayla Massey has made seven starts for the Hawkeyes this season, and she has notched seven complete games. The California native has a 0.99 ERA in 49.2 innings of work, which ranks second in the Big Ten. She is limiting opposing batters to a .185 batting average.

The Hawkeyes are playing “station-to-station” softball in 2012. Iowa leads the Big Ten with 17 sacrifice hits, seven more than the second most. Junior Ashley Akers ranks second with four sacrifices, while junior Johnnie Dowling and sophomore Brianna Luna are tied for third with three on the year. The Hawkeyes are also 21-of-26 in stolen base attempts, which are the third most in the conference.

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.

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 .294 with seven RBI on the season, which are tied for the third most on the team. She went 4-for-4 with two RBI in the win over Iowa State.

Shortstop Megan Blank was tabbed 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 14 games of the 2012 season, the Hawkeyes have matched the number of run-rule victories from the 2011 campaign. Iowa has run-ruled 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.