Iowa Set for Big Ten Tournament

May 7, 2013

Complete Big Ten Tournament Notes | Big Ten Tournament Bracket

Tournament Central

The University of Iowa softball team (30-23, 8-15) begins postseason action this week in the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa will face Ohio State (33-21, 10-13) in the first round on Thursday. The ninth-seeded Hawkeyes and the eighth-seeded Buckeyes will meet at 2 p.m. (CT) in the second game of the day. The tournament, hosted by Nebraska, is a single-elimination format. All games will be played at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.

The winner will advance to play No. 1 seed and league champion Michigan on Friday at 2 p.m. The winner of that game advances to the semifinals on Saturday at 2 p.m. The tournament title game is set for noon Sunday. The tournament champion will earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.

The semifinals and championship game will be broadcast live on BTN. Thursday’s opening-round and Friday’s quarterfinal contests will be streamed online at

Fans can listen via the All-Access page at and on AM-800 KXIC (Thursday and Friday).

Hawkeye fans can follow the University of Iowa softball team on social media platforms Twitter (@iowasoftball) and Facebook ( Game updates will be tweeted during each game.

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.

Entering the tournament, the Hawkeyes have won five-straight games, and six of their last eight overall. The five-game winning streak matches Iowa’s longest of the season. Iowa finished the regular season at 30-23 overall and 8-15 in Big Ten play. The 30 victories mark the most for the program since finishing 42-16 in 2009.

The Big Ten Tournament is back this season for the first time since 2008. The Hawkeyes have claimed two Big Ten Tournament titles (2001, 2003) and have won 21 games in the event all-time — the second most of any team. The conference tournament was discontinued from 2009-12.

? Iowa is 33rd in the latest NCAA Division I Softball RPI.
? The Hawkeyes are 22-5 when scoring first, 19-0 when holding their foes to two runs or less, and 23-4 when out-hitting opponents.
? Iowa has six wins against ranked opponents: No. 11 Louisville, No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 15 Stanford, No. 19 Nebraska, No. 21 Kentucky, No. 24 Oregon State.
? Megan Blank, who became the ninth player in school history to garner first team All-Big Ten honors as a freshman, and the ninth to earn all-region recognition as a freshman in 2012, is second in the Big Ten with 58 RBIs (second-highest single-season total in program history). The sophomore was named Big Ten Player of the Week on March 4 and April 15. Blank is 13th nationally in on-base percentage (.548), 24th in RBIs per game (1.09) and 21st in batting average (.436).
? Senior Johnnie Dowling is second in the league with four triples. Dowling ranks 38th nationally.
? Iowa has been hit-by-pitch 79 times this season to lead the Big Ten. Bradi Wall has been plunked 28 times this season. The senior leads the league and has twice as many HBPs as the next closest league player in the rankings. Wall is third nationally in HBPs.
? The Hawkeyes are 13-5 in neutral site games this season.

? Defensively, Iowa has 557 assists this season to lead the conference. On May 4, Kayla Massey blanked the Purdue offense, tossing a complete game shutout. The junior scattered five hits in eight innings. Of the 24 Boilermaker outs, Massey coaxed 20 groundouts, three strikeouts and one flyout. The Hawkeyes have turned the third-most double plays in the league (18).

? Iowa is 64-37 all-time against Ohio State.
? Iowa and Ohio State met in a nonconference game earlier this season in College Park, Md., in the Miken Invitational (March 10). The Hawkeyes run-ruled the Buckeyes, 8-0, in six innings as Holly Hoffman hit a walk-off grand slam. Iowa out-hit the Buckeyes, 12-3. Senior Johnnie Dowling finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and sophomore Megan Blank went 2-for-4 with a run. Junior Kayla Massey earned the win in the circle, tossing a complete game shutout. She scattered three hits in six innings.
? Iowa won 2-of-3 against the Buckeyes a year ago in Columbus, and swept Ohio State in two games in 2011. Both contests were played in Columbus.
? Head coach Marla Looper is 5-1 against the Buckeyes during her three seasons at Iowa.

? The Buckeyes are 33-21 overall and 10-13 in league action.
? Ohio State is 14-6 in neutral site contests.

? Iowa swept Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., last weekend to conclude regular season action. Both teams finished 8-15 in league play, but the Hawkeyes earned the higher seed due to Iowa’s 3-0 head-to-head mark.
? Hawkeye starter Massey limited the Purdue offense to four hits in the finale, throwing her second complete game in as many days against the Boilermakers to move to 17-12. She allowed two runs in 15 innings pitched during her two complete games in the series.

? Megan Blank is hitting .436. The single-season school record is .428, set by Kim Davis in 1993. The sophomore’s career average is .413. The school record is .409, set by Lea Twigg (1996-97).
? Blank has 58 RBIs this season — the second highest total in school history. Debbie Bilbao posted a school-record 61 RBIs in 1997.
? Blank has 11 home runs this season — the third-highest single-season total.
? Johnnie Dowling has scored 120 career runs — the ninth-highest total in program history. She has scored 46 runs this season, equaling the seventh-highest total in Iowa history. The senior has swiped 52 career bases, which ranks 10th. Her four triples this season tie the 16th-most in a season in school history.
? Junior Kayla Massey is eighth all-time with 65 complete games.
? Senior Chelsea Lyon ranks 10th in career strikeouts (348), ninth in career games pitched (114) and ninth with 51 complete games.

? Megan Blank is second in the Big Ten with 58 RBIs, ranks third with a .436 batting average, 15 doubles and 68 hits, and fourth with 115 total bases, a .773 slugging percentage, and a .566 on-base percentage.
? Senior Johnnie Dowling is tied for second in the league with four triples. Junior Michelle Zoeller is tied for fourth with three.
? Dowling ranks seventh in runs scored (46) and eighth in stolen bases (19).
? Bradi Wall leads the Big Ten with 28 hit-by-pitches.

Head coach Marla Looper led the Hawkeyes to a runner-up finish in the Big Ten a year ago — the program’s highest finish since winning the league title in 2003. Iowa dropped two of its first three conference series before winning five straight to close out the season. It was the first time the team had won five-straight series since the 2004 season. Iowa entered the final weekend with a conference title within reach, but it couldn’t close the gap with Michigan despite taking 2-of-3 games at Minnesota. The Hawkeyes finished with a 27-26 overall and 16-8 conference record in 2012, winning 11 of their final 15 Big Ten games. Looper is 33-34 at Iowa during league play.

Iowa topped Penn State April 28, 5-0, and celebrated the careers of five Hawkeye seniors in the process. The Hawkeyes honored team manager Cameron Cole, Ashley Akers, Johnnie Dowling, Chelsea Lyon, Sam Valentine and Bradi Wall following the victory. Lyon and Wall had big games for Iowa in their final conference home game. Lyon tossed a complete game shutout, allowing three hits. Wall finished a perfect 3-for-3 with her third career home run.

? Iowa defeated Iowa State, 8-3, on May 1 in its home finale and the final Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series event of the year.
? Iowa, winner of the 2012-13 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, extends its lead to 16-9. The Iowa women’s gymnastics team clinched the Cy-Hawk Series with a 196.375-194.575 victory over Iowa State on March 8. Iowa has claimed the last seven events in the series this year (wrestling, women’s basketball, men’s basketball, women’s swimming, women’s tennis, women’s gymnastics, softball). The academic points remain.
? The 12-event series awards two points (except football, which is worth three) to the winning school in each head-to-head match-up between the two institutions. Additionally, one point is awarded to an institution if the graduation rate of its student-athletes is greater than the national average as reported each fall by the NCAA.

? In three games this season against in-state opponents, Iowa outscored Drake, UNI and Iowa State a combined, 36-4.
? Iowa routed Drake, 18-0, in five innings on April 3 at Ron Buel Field behind a season-best 17 hits and a complete game victory from junior starter Kayla Massey.
? The Hawkeyes defeated Northern Iowa, 10-1, in five innings on April 25 at Robinson-Dresser Field in Cedar Falls, Iowa, before topping Iowa State, 8-3, on May 1 in Iowa City.

? Iowa routed Drake, 18-0, in five innings on April 3 at Ron Buel Field behind a season-best 17 hits and a complete game victory from junior starter Kayla Massey.
? The Hawkeyes also posted season highs in runs (18), RBIs (15), home runs (three) and walks (seven).
? The 18 runs mark the most for Iowa since Feb. 18, 2012, when the Hawkeyes blasted Iowa State, 26-5, in five innings.
? Eleven players found the hit column, while four posted multi-hit games and three notched multi-RBI contests.
? The Hawkeyes, 34-10 all-time against the Bulldogs, posted their largest margin of victory over their in-state foes in series history.
? Senior Johnnie Dowling, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, scored a career-best four runs in the leadoff spot, finishing 2-for-5 at the plate.
? Megan Blank finished a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, adding two RBIs and two runs. Massey helped herself at the plate, hitting her-team leading sixth home run of the season. She finished with three RBIs and also posted a game-high six assists in the field.

Megan Blank was named Big Ten Player of the Week on April 15, earning her second Player of the Week honor this season (March 4). Blank did not record an out in 14 plate appearances while leading the Hawkeyes to a series victory at Northwestern. The shortstop finished a perfect 4-for-4 when Northwestern chose to pitch to her, compiling a solo home run, a triple, two singles, three runs and three RBIs. She garnered eight walks and two hit-by-pitches. Blank added a stolen base to go along with a 2.250 slugging percentage. She was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice last season.