Hawkeyes Travel to Face Ranked Foes


April 20, 2015


Iowa at Missouri, Minnesota Get Acrobat Reader

The University of Iowa softball team travels to Columbia, Missouri, for a Wednesday contest against the No. 15-ranked Tigers before traveling to Minneapolis for a three-game set at No. 12-ranked Minnesota. Wednesday’s contest is set for 5 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes and Gophers will open the series on Friday at 6 p.m., continue on Saturday at 1 p.m., and wrap up the series with a 12 p.m. contest on Sunday.

Wednesday’s game will be shown live online on SEC Network + available at espn.go.com. Live audio on Hawkeye All-Access is available for all four games. Zach Mackey will have the call on Wednesday, while Austin Bramley will call the action in Minneapolis. Links to audio and Gametracker (live stats) are available on the softball schedule page at hawkeyesports.com.

For in-game updates and additional coverage, follow @IowaSoftball on Twitter and `like’ the team’s official Facebook page at facebook.com/iowahawkeyessoftball.

Hawkeye senior Megan Blank is on track to break Iowa’s single season batting average record for the second time in her career. She currently owns a batting average of .445, eight points ahead of the record she set in 2013 when she ended the season with a .437 clip. In her career, Blank boasts a .409 batting average which ties Lea Twigg, who played from 1996-97, for the career batting average school record. The Culver City, California, native has started all 203 games at shortstop since arriving at Iowa.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Shayla Starkenburg has more than tripled her strikeout total of 51 from a season ago, totaling 167 so far in 2015. She has also significantly raised her strikeouts per appearance average from 2.55 (51 strikeouts in 21 appearances) in 2014 to 4.18 (167 in 40 appearances) this year. Starkenburg currently leads the Big Ten in innings pitched (197.2), is second in appearances (40) and games started (30), third in looking strikeouts (52), and tied for fourth in strikeouts (167).

Nine of Iowa’s 2015 opponents are ranked in the most recent release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll (April 14). They include: Oregon (1), Florida (2), Michigan (4), Oklahoma (5), Louisiana Lafayette (9), Minnesota (13), UCF (15), Missouri (20), and North Dakota State (RV). The Hawkeyes have played 10 games against opponents ranked in the top six this season.

The Hawkeyes registered a 2-1 series victory over Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana, on April 17-18. Iowa took the first game of the series, 2-0, after a two-run blast from senior Megan Blank. After falling, 4-1, in game two, the Hawkeyes took game three, 5-1. Iowa claimed its second consecutive Big Ten series after taking 2-of-3 from the Badgers on April 10-12 in Madison, Wisconsin.

? Senior Megan Blank is second in the Big Ten in hits (65) and batting average (.445), tied for second in doubles (15), ranks fifth in total bases (108), and is sixth in on-base percentage (.515) and slugging percentage (.740).
? Redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman is fourth in the conference in total plate appearances (180).
? Redshirt sophomore pitcher Shayla Starkenburg leads the Big Ten in innings pitched (197.2), is second in appearances (40) and games started (30), third in looking strikeouts (52), and tied for fourth in strikeouts (167). Starkenburg is also tied for eighth in games finished (10), tied for seventh in wins (14), and ranks 12th in opposing batting average (.273).
? Redshirt junior Holly Hoffman is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in runners caught stealing (11).

? The Tigers are 31-10 overall and 11-7 in SEC action this season.
? Missouri is ranked No. 20 in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll (April 14).
? Seven Tiger starters are hitting above .300, including Sami Fagan (.388), Emily Crane (.354), Taylor Gadbois (.346), Corrin Genovese (.333), Kelsea Roth (.333), Kirsten Mack (.325), and Amanda Sanchez (.320).
? Pitcher Tori Finucane leads the Tigers with 17 wins, a 2.89 ERA, 31 appearances, 23 starts, 6 complete games, 121.0 innings pitched, and 114 strikeouts.
? The teams last met in Iowa City in 2014. The Hawkeyes notched the doubleheader sweep over then-ranked No. 13/15 Missouri on April 16, 2014 (3-1; 13-8).
? The Tigers lead the all-time series, 13-8.

? Minnesota enters the week with a 37-7 overall record and a 12-3 mark in conference action.
? The Golden Gophers are ranked No. 13 in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll (April 14).
? Eight Gopher starters are hitting above .300, including Danielle Parlich (.400), Hannah Granger (.377), Kaitlyn Richardson (.368), Sara Groenewegen (.366), Erica Meyer (.364), Tyler Walker (.356), Sam Macken (.348), and Paige Palkovich (.333).
? Pitcher Sara Groenewegen leads the Gophers with 22 wins in the circle, a .1.74 ERA, 32 appearances, 27 starts, 18 complete games, five shutouts, 165.1 innings pitched, and 260 strikeouts.
? Minnesota enters the week with a 37-7 overall record and a 12-3 mark in conference action.
? The Gophers swept the Hawkeyes in a doubleheader at Pearl Field last season (2-0; 7-0).
? The Hawkeyes hold the advantage in the all-time series, 58-43.

The Hawkeyes recorded a home run in all three games last weekend at Purdue. Senior Megan Blank hit the game-winning, two-run blast on April 17. Freshman Allie Wood recorded a solo shot in the first game of a doubleheader on April 18, while sophomore Kaitlyn Mullarkey registered a solo blast in game two. The Hawkeyes have already increased their home run total from last season with seven games remaining (23 in 2014; 29 in 2015). Senior Megan Blank currently leads the 2015 squad with eight home runs.

Senior Megan Blank is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak. The senior recorded a 12-game hitting streak earlier this season and has recorded at least one hit in 42-of-49 games in her senior season. Redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman has reached base successfully in a season-high 14-straight games.

Shayla Starkenburg was 2-0 against Purdue on April 17-18. The redshirt sophomore notched the complete game shutout against the Boilermakers on April 17, allowing two hits and one free pass in the contest. Starkenburg registered her second complete game victory on April 18 after giving up one earned run on five hits and one walk. The Ankeny, Iowa, native gave up just one extra base hit in 14 innings and posted a 0.50 ERA.

Shayla Starkenburg threw a career-high 10 innings and fanned a career-high 11 batters in Iowa’s 10-inning win over the Badgers on April 12. The redshirt sophomore gave up three earned runs on 13 hits and two walks. The Ankeny, Iowa, native leads the Hawkeyes in wins (12), ERA (4.95), appearances (38), starts (28), complete games (22), shutouts (3), and strikeouts (155) this season.

Sammi Gyerman hit for the cycle to lead the Hawkeyes past the Illini, 15-7 after five innings, on April 3. The redshirt sophomore recorded double and a triple in Iowa’s nine-run first inning before hitting a home run in the third and a single in the fourth. The San Pedro, California, native, became the first Hawkeye in school history to hit for the cycle and just the third player in the Big Ten to accomplish the feat. Gyerman posted career bests in hits (4), RBIs (6) and runs scored (3) in the contest.

The Hawkeyes have enjoyed a jump offensively from 2014 to 2015 under new hitting coach Adam Arbour. Iowa has improved in batting average (.250 to .267), slugging percentage (.376 to .401), on-base percentage (.321 to .354), doubles (59 to 70), home runs (23 to 29), RBIs (122 to 188), walks (97 to 147), runs scored (141 to 210) and runs per game (3.0 to 4.3).

Four Hawkeyes are hitting .300+ in conference play. Senior Megan Blank leads the team with a .460 clip, while freshman Angela Schmiederer (.400) joins her in the 400s. Redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman (.486), and redshirt junior Holly Hoffman have each recorded .300+ clips in 17 conference contests this season.

Senior Megan Blank has just eight strikeouts in 146 at bats this season. Blank currently leads the team in batting average (.445), slugging percentage (.740), and on base percentage (.515).

Iowa swiped a season-high four bases against Western Illinois on April 2. Redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman stole a pair, while senior Megan Blank and sophomore Claire Fritsch each stole one. Prior to the Thursday contest, the Hawkeyes had just eight stolen bases on the season.

The Hawkeyes handed the No. 4 Wolverines their fifth loss of the season with a come-from-behind victory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on March 29. Down four runs in the top of the sixth, Iowa scored three runs off of a pair of home runs by redshirt junior Holly Hoffman and freshman Allie Wood. The Hawkeyes continued their rally in the seventh when sophomore Kaitlyn Mullarkey capitalized on an RBI opportunity with a double down the right line to give Iowa a 5-4 lead. The Hawkeyes added an insurance run on a RBI ground out from Wood to take a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh. After a Wolverine reached on a single to start the seventh, Iowa used a 4-6-3 double play to silence the scoring chance and ultimately secure the upset victory.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Shayla Starkenburg limited the Wolverines to just four hits in the first game of a doubleheader on March 28. Only three other teams have held Michigan to four hits or less this season. They include: then-ranked No. 1 Florida (2 hits), Kent State (3 hits) and Illinois State (4 hits). The Ankeny, Iowa, native registered a complete-game upset win on March 29. After a rocky first inning Starkenburg settled in and allowed just one run in her final six innings of work and did not allow a Wolverine hit in four of her final six innings.

? Career runs scored: 8th all-time (124)
? Career hits: 6th all-time (242)
? Career doubles: School record holder (58)
? Career triples: Tied for 4th all-time (12)
? Career HR: 4th all-time (26)
? Career RBI: 3rd all-time (149)
? Career Average: Tied for first all-time (.409) with Lea Twigg (1996-97)
? Doubles in a season: 17 in 2012, tied for 4th all-time; 15 in 2013, tied for 9th all-time
? Triples in a season: 5 in 2012, tied for 8th all-time
? HR in a season: 11 in 2013, 3rd all-time
? RBI in a season: 59 in 2013, 2nd all-time
? Average in a season: .437 in 2013 (record holder), currently hitting .445 with 7 games left in the regular season

Iowa leads the Big Ten Conference in double plays with 26 on the season. The Hawkeyes have recorded two double plays in a game six times: No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette (Feb. 20), No. 6 Oklahoma (March 15), Tulsa (March 18), Nebraska (March 25), No. 4 Michigan (March 29), and Illinois (April 4).

The Hawkeyes are fourth in the Big Ten in doubles. Iowa has recorded 70 doubles on the season. Senior Megan Blank, the career doubles school record holder (58), leads the team with 15, while redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman has 10.

Iowa is currently tied for sixth in the Big Ten in triples. Iowa has registered seven triples on the season. Senior Megan Blank and redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman lead the team with two triple apiece.

Redshirt sophomore Shayla Starkenburg is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in batters struck out (167) and third in batters struck out looking (52). Starkenburg fanned a career high 11 batters in Iowa’s 3-2 10-inning victory over Wisconsin on April 12. She has struck out nine batters twice this season (Florida A&M on March 1; East Carolina on March 14. Starkenburg recorded her first career no-hitter against Southern Utah on Feb. 7. The Ankeny, Iowa, native has 167 strikeouts in 197.2 innings pitched this season.

Redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman and senior Megan Blank registered back-to-back home runs to help Iowa secure a 7-6 victory over Tulsa on March 18. The feat marked the second time the duo has gone back-to-back this season (Cal State Fullerton, 3/7/15).

Senior Megan Blank recorded her 53rd career double against Nebraska on March 25 to break Iowa’s 18-year-old career doubles record. Blank is now in sole possession of the Iowa softball career doubles record with 58. The previous record of 52 was set by Kari Knopf in 1997.

The Hawkeyes defeated No. 17 UCF on Feb. 27 to notch their first win over a ranked opponent this season. Junior Erin Erickson used a squeeze bunt to score the eventual game-winning run in the fifth to guide the Hawkeyes to a 3-2 victory. Redshirt sophomore Shayla Starkenburg was credited with the complete game win. She allowed one earned run on six hits and struck out three.

Junior Erin Erickson was named to the Ragin’ Cajun Invitational All-Tournament team following the five-game invitational on Feb. 20-22. Erickson posted a .308 batting average and a .615 slugging percentage on the weekend with a double, home run, and two RBIs.

Redshirt sophomore Shayla Starkenburg registered her first career no-hitter against Southern Utah on Feb. 7. Starkenburg fanned a career-high eight batters and only walked three in seven innings of work. She became just the seventh pitcher in Iowa history to toss a no-hitter, and the first pitcher to do so since Amanda Zust on March 21, 2010. Starkenburg’s no-hitter is the 17th in Iowa softball history.

Senior shortstop Megan Blank was named a Preseason First Team All-Big Ten infielder by College Sports Madness on Feb. 4. Blank, a three-time regular season First Team All-Big Ten honoree, led the Hawkeyes in batting average (.361), slugging percentage (.602), on-base percentage (.452), hits (48), doubles (11), triples (3) and RBIs (25) in 2014.

Shortstop Megan Blank collected her third-straight NFCA honor as she was a second team All-Midwest Region pick in 2014. The senior was named to the NFCA All-Midwest Region second team as a freshman and first team as a sophomore. She is the 16th player in Iowa history to earn three regional awards in her career.

Senior Megan Blank received her third-straight First Team All-Big Ten accolade and was also named to the conference’s All-Defensive Team, following the 2014 season. The shortstop is the eighth Iowa player to earn first team distinction three times. Blank led the Hawkeyes in batting average (.361), slugging percentage (.602), on-base percentage (.452), hits (48), doubles (11), triples (3) and RBIs (25) last season. In Big Ten action, Blank hit at a .415 clip, slugged .677 and compiled an on-base percentage of .506. Seven of her 11 doubles, two of her three triples, two of her five home runs and 15 of her 25 RBIs came against conference foes. Heading into her senior season, Blank ranks in several career categories at Iowa. She is second with a .398 batting average, sixth with 43 doubles, eighth with 18 home runs, ninth with 113 RBIs and 10th with 10 triples with one season remaining with the Hawkeyes. Blank led the team with 13 multiple-hit games and six multiple-RBI games, had the longest reached base streak (14) and owned the longest hitting streak (9). She ended the season with a seven-game reached base streak.

The Hawkeyes have benefited from two new facilities in 2015 — the indoor Iowa Turf Facility, located at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex, and the Jacobson Hitting Facility, located in football’s former weight room. The HTRC Iowa Turf Facility has enabled the program to have consistency in team practices, while the Jacobson hitting cages have allowed student-athletes to take extra reps at any time.

Iowa has made four Women’s College World Series appearances (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001) and played in 16 NCAA Tournaments in school history. The 16 appearances are the second most in Big Ten history, and the four WCWS appearances equal the second most in conference history. The Hawkeyes have won four Big Ten Conference regular season championships (1989, 1997, 2000, 2003) and two Big Ten Tournament titles (2001, 2003). Iowa holds a 1262-781-5 (.618) record in 37 seasons.

Iowa returns to Pearl Field for its final three-game conference series against Northwestern on May 1-3.

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