Hawkeyes Gear Up for B1G Tournament


May 5, 2015


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The University of Iowa softball team heads to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the 2015 Big Ten Softball Tournament on May 7-9. The Hawkeyes enter the single elimination tournament as the No. 10 seed and will face No. 7 Rutgers at 7 p.m. (CT) on Thursday. If victorious, Iowa will face No. 2 Minnesota at 7 p.m. (CT) on Friday.

Both games will be televised on the Big Ten Network. A live audio stream is also available. Play-by-play announcer Jil Price will call the action. Links 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.

? Iowa is 21-23 (.477) in 17 appearances at the Big Ten Tournament.
? The Hawkeyes have won the conference tournament twice (2001, 2003).
? Iowa fell to Illinois in the first round of the 2014 Big Ten Tournament. After six scoreless innings, the Fighting Illini rallied to score six runs in the top of the seventh to secure the 6-0 victory.

Hawkeye senior Megan Blank has a shot at breaking Iowa’s single season batting average record for the second time in her career. She currently owns a batting average of .435, two points behind the record she set in 2013 when she ended the season with a .437 clip. In her career, Blank boasts a .408 batting average and has started all 210 games at shortstop since arriving at Iowa. Lea Twigg, who played from 1996-97, holds the career batting average record with a mark of .409.

Eleven of Iowa’s 2015 opponents appear in the most recent release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll (May 5). They include: Oregon (1), Florida (2), Michigan (3), Oklahoma (5), Louisiana-Lafayette (10), Minnesota (12), Missouri (13), UCF (15), North Dakota State (RV), Hofstra (RV), and North Carolina State (RV). The Hawkeyes have the 11th highest strength of schedule in Division I Softball.

In 26 games versus Top 75 RPI Teams, senior Megan Blank has registered a .457 clip, a .753 slugging percentage, and a .500 on base percentage. Blank has 32 hits in 70 at bats during those games, including eight doubles and four home runs. The Culver City, California, native currently leads the team with a .435 clip, a .733 slugging percentage, and a .511 on base percentage.

Freshman right fielder Allie Wood led Iowa to its 8-6 Senior Day victory over Northwestern on May 3. Wood gave the Hawkeyes an early lead when she sent the first grand slam of her career over the left field wall in the first, before logging her second long ball in as many at bats with a two-run blast to center in the bottom of the third. The Cypress, California, native recorded her fifth multiple-hit game of the season with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate. She set career-highs with six RBIs and two home runs.

? Rutgers is 29-19 overall and 11-12 in Big Ten action.
? Six Scarlet Knight starters are hitting above .300 on the season, including Jackie Bates (.393), Jordan Whitley (.364), Stephanie Huang (.346), Sierra Maddox (.342), Chandler Howard (.333), and Rebecca Hall (.325).
? Pitcher Alyssa Landrith leads the team with 15 wins, 3.23 ERA, 29 appearances, 23 starts, 17 complete games, 164.2 innings pitched, and 147 strikeouts.
? The Hawkeyes and Scarlet Knights last met in 2010 at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Arizona. Iowa posted a 7-0 victory.
? Iowa leads the all-time series, 4-0.

? Minnesota is 46-8 overall, 20-3 in Big Ten play, and currently ranked No. 12 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll (May 5).
? Nine Gopher starters are hitting above .300 on the season, including Danielle Parlich (.410), Sara Groenewegen (.384), Kaitlyn Richardson (.371), Sam Macken (.358), Tyler Walker (.356), Erica Meyer (.351), Paige Palkovich (.345), Hannah Granger (.327), and Taylor LeMay (.312).
? Pitcher Sara Groenewegen leads the team with 28 wins, 1.52 ERA, 38 appearances, 33 starts, 24 complete games, 202.1 innings pitched, and 332 strikeouts.
? The Gophers swept the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten regular season on April 25-26 (8-0, 8-0, and 9-0).
? Iowa leads the all-time series, 58-46.

? Career runs scored: 8th all-time (126)
? Career hits: 6th all-time (247)
? Career doubles: School record holder (60)
? Career triples: Tied for 4th all-time (12)
? Career HR: 4th all-time (27)
? Career RBI: 2nd all-time (153)
? Career Average: 2nd all-time (.408), one point away from tying the school record (Lea Twigg (.409)
? Doubles in a season: 17 in 2012, 2015, 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 .435

? Senior Megan Blank is tied for second in the Big Ten in batting average (.435). She also ranks fourth in doubles (17), sixth in hits (70), seventh in slugging percentage (.733) and total bases (118), and eighth in on base percentage (.511).
? Redshirt junior Holly Hoffman is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in runners caught stealing (12).
? Redshirt sophomore pitcher Shayla Starkenburg currently ranks second in the Big Ten in innings pitched (229.0) and games started (35), fourth in looking strikeouts (58) and appearances (46), and is tied for fifth in strikeouts (181).
? Sophomore Kaitlyn Mullarkey has been hit by a pitch 11 times this season, tying for the fifth most in the Big Ten conference.

Iowa leads the Big Ten Conference and ranks third nationally in fielding double plays with 33 on the season. The Hawkeyes have recorded two double plays in a game eight times: No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette (Feb. 20), No. 6 Oklahoma (March 15), Tulsa (March 18), Nebraska (March 25), No. 4 Michigan (March 29), Illinois (April 4), Minnesota (April 25), and Northwestern (May 2).

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Shayla Starkenburg has more than tripled her strikeout total of 51 from a season ago, totaling 181 so far in 2015. She has also significantly raised her strikeouts per appearance average from 2.43 (51 strikeouts in 21 appearances) in 2014 to 3.93 (181 in 46 appearances) this year. Starkenburg currently ranks second in the Big Ten in innings pitched (229.0) and games started (35), fourth in looking strikeouts (58) and appearances (46), and is tied for fifth in strikeouts (181).

The Hawkeyes are tied for fifth in the Big Ten in doubles. Iowa has recorded 76 doubles on the season. Senior Megan Blank, the career doubles school record holder (60), leads the team with 17, while redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman has 11.

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

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 .261), slugging percentage (.376 to .395), on-base percentage (.321 to .352), doubles (59 to 76), home runs (23 to 33), RBIs (122 to 204), walks (97 to 169), runs scored (141 to 226) and runs per game (3.0 to 4.0).

Three Hawkeyes are hitting .300+ in conference play. Senior Megan Blank leads the team with a .419 clip, while freshman Angela Schmiederer (.400) joins her in the 400s. Redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman has a .366 average through 23 conference contests this season.

Senior Megan Blank has just 11 strikeouts in 161 at bats this season. Blank currently leads the team in batting average (.435), slugging percentage (.733), and on base percentage (.511).

Redshirt sophomore Shayla Starkenburg ranks fifth in the Big Ten in batters struck out (181) and fourth in batters struck out looking (58). 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 181 strikeouts in 229.0 innings pitched 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.

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 (14), ERA (5.18), appearances (43), starts (33), complete games (26), shutouts (4), and strikeouts (171) this 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.

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 60. The previous record of 52 was set by Kari Knopf in 1997.

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 a 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.

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).

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 1268-792-5 (.612) record in 37 seasons.

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