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The University of Iowa softball team travels to Rosemont, Illinois, for the Total Control Sports Invitational hosted by UIC and Loyola this weekend. The Hawkeyes open the weekend with an 11:30 a.m. (CT) contest against IUPUI on Friday before taking on UIC at 4:30 p.m. Iowa will face Lipscomb at 11:30 a.m. and Loyola at 2 p.m. on Saturday, before concluding the weekend with an 11:30 a.m. contest against Indiana State on Sunday.
The Total Control Sports Invitational will be held at The Dome at Rosemont. The Hawkeyes will compete at an indoor tournament for the second time in as many seasons. Iowa went 3-2 at the UNI Dome Tournament in 2015.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Fans can follow all the action with GameTracker. Links can be found on the Iowa softball schedule page on hawkeyesports.com. For in-game updates, follow @IowaSoftball on Twitter and “like” the official page on Facebook, facebook.com/iowahawkeyessoftball.
IN THE RANKINGS – B1G
Three Big Ten teams appear in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Softball Coaches Poll released on Feb. 16. No. 2 Michigan and No. 20 Minnesota are ranked within the top 25, while Nebraska is receiving votes in the poll.
After stealing 18 bags in all of 2015, the Hawkeyes stole nine bags at the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tournament from Feb. 12-14. Junior Claire Fritsch and sophomore Katy Taylor stole three bags apiece, while redshirt junior Sammi Gyerman stole two. Junior Kaitlyn Mullarkey also stole a bag in opening weekend action.
Three Hawkeyes hit .300 or better at the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tournament from Feb. 12-14. Junior Claire Fritsch led the Hawkeyes at the plate with a .385 average. Sophomore Katy Taylor followed close behind, hitting .353, while redshirt senior Holly Hoffman hit .333.
TAKING ON THE BEST
•Seven of Iowa’s 2016 opponents are coming off a 2015 NCAA Tournament appearance.
•Iowa is scheduled to play 15 games against those opponents this season.
•The team’s include: Louisville, Texas, Nebraska, Northwestern, Missouri, Indiana State, and Minnesota.
Four student-athletes made their Hawkeye debuts at the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tournament from Feb. 12-14. Sophomore Katy Taylor started all five games (four at SS, 1 at DP). Junior Elizabeth Wiegand and freshmen Mallory Kilian and Erin Riding all made their debuts in the circle on opening weekend.
ATOP THE BIG TEN
•Iowa’s team ERA of 2.25 is currently the lowest ERA in the Big Ten. Opposing batters are hitting .198 against Iowa pitchers — the lowest percentage in the conference.
•The Hawkeyes allowed just 23 hits in five games on opening weekend — the fewest hits allowed in the Big Ten.
•Iowa allowed the fewest runs (11) in the Big Ten on opening weekend.
A PAIR OF SHUTOUTS
•Freshmen Mallory Kilian and junior Elizabeth Wiegand each threw a complete-game shutout in the circle on opening weekend.
•Wiegand allowed just three hits in Iowa’s 1-0 win against Louisville on Feb. 12. The junior transfer walked one and struck out five in seven innings.
•Kilian held Sam Houston State to just two hits in Iowa’s 8-0 run-rule victory over Sam Houston State on Feb. 13. The freshman allowed just two hits and a walk in six scoreless innings. She struck out four.
Six of Iowa’s seven hits against Sam Houston State on Feb. 12 came from its two-three-four hitters. Juniors Kaitlyn Mullarkey and Claire Fritsch and redshirt junior Sammi Gyerman went a combined 6-for-9 with two hits apiece in Iowa’s 8-0 run-rule victory over the Bearkats.
EARLY SUCCESS FOR FRITSCH
Sophomore Claire Fritsch leads the Hawkeyes at the plate through five games. The Round Rock, Texas, native registered five hits in 13 at bats in her home state. She successfully advanced runners in 7-of-9 chances, and hit a .500 (3-for-6) with runners in scoring position.
TAYLOR SHOWS SPEED
Sophomore transfer Katy Taylor hit .353 in five games at the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tournament on Feb. 12-14 — the second-highest average on the team. The Owasso, Oklahoma, native registered six hits in 17 at bats. Four of her six hits were infield singles. Taylor also stole three bases in three attempts and scored three runs.
Kaitlyn Mullarkey recorded a pair of extra-base hits for the Hawkeyes on opening weekend in Corpus Christi, Texas. The junior went 2-for-3 with a double, triple, walk, and three runs scored against Sam Houston State on Feb. 13. The three runs scored are a new career high.
The Hawkeyes registered four sacrifice hits at the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tournament after recording five in all of 2015. Juniors Claire Fritsch and Kaitlyn Mullarkey and sophomores Sarah Kurtz and Daniella Ibarra each registered a sacrifice hit.
Two Hawkeyes will be playing in their home state this weekend. Sophomore Angela Schmiederer hails from Prospect Heights, Illinois, while junior Kaitlyn Mullarkey is a native of Park Ridge, Illinois.
•IUPUI went 1-4 in opening weekend action.
•The Jaguars fell to Eastern Illinois (6-0, 6-5) and Iowa State (7-0, 7-0) twice before defeating North Dakota (3-1).
•IUPUI gave up 27 runs in their first five games. Pitcher Erica Tharp led the team with a 3.82 ERA.
•Infielder Taylor Chitwood led the Jaguars at the plate with a .375 batting average.
•Friday marks the first meeting between the Hawkeyes and Jaguars.
•Tournament co-host UIC owns a 2-3 record on the season.
•The Flames defeated Memphis (11-7) and Middle Tennessee (5-1) and fell to Kent State (10-0 in 5 innings), Florida Golf Coast (4-3) and Michigan State (4-3).
•UIC surrendered 21 earned runs on 25 hits in the first five games of the season. Elaine Heflin pitched 14.2 innings in the circle. She owns a 4.30 ERA.
•Infielder Taylor Cairns led the Flames at the dish, batting .500 with eight hits in 16 at bats.
•Iowa owns a 4-1 advantage in the all-time series. The Hawkeyes won the last meeting, 4-3, in 2006.
•Lipscomb owns a 1-4 record in 2016.
•The Bison fell to Samford (3-2), South Alabama (7-3), Florida A&M (4-3), and Louisiana Tech (6-4) before defeating Southern Mississippi (6-1) on opening weekend.
•Tanner Sanders posted a 0.38 ERA in 18.1 innings last weekend. •Centerfielder Brittany Elmore led the Bison at the plate, hitting .368.
•Lipscomb owns a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series. The Hawkeyes and Bison last met in 2014 when Lipscomb won 10-0 in five innings.
SCOUTING LOYOLA CHICAGO
•Tournament co-host Loyola Chicago went 2-1 in opening weekend action.
•The Ramblers defeated Murray State (9-1) and North Carolina Central (9-0) in five innings on Feb. 12 before falling to Murray State (8-1) on Feb. 14.
•Kiley Jones threw a team-high 6.2 innings throughout opening weekend. The freshman owns a 2.10 ERA.
•Sophomore infielder Brooke Wyderski hit .625 on the weekend, registering five hits in eight at bats.
•The Hawkeyes hold a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series. Iowa defeated the Ramblers 5-0 on March 24, 2006.
SCOUTING INDIANA STATE
•Indiana State will open its 2016 season this weekend after going 27-31 in 2015.
•The Sycamores are coming off their first ever NCAA Regional appearance.
•Taylor Lockwood led the Sycamores in the circle in 2015, registering 18 wins with a 3.19 ERA.
•Iowa holds a 4-0 advantage in the all-time series. The team’s last met on March 2, 2003. The Hawkeyes won 11-0 in five innings.
The Hawkeyes return 16 letterwinners, eight starters, and three pitchers from a team that finished 19-40 overall, and 8-15 in the Big Ten last season. Sophomores Allie Wood, Cheyenne Pratt, and Sarah Kurtz, juniors Kaitlyn Mullarkey and Claire Fritsch, redshirt junior Sammi Gyerman, and seniors Holly Hoffman and Erin Erickson each spent time in the starting lineup last season. Redshirt junior Shayla Starkenburg started 38 games in the circle and led the Hawkeyes in every pitching category last season.
The Hawkeyes re-launched their blog, The Dugout, for the 2016 season. The blog will reach out to fans and provide them with the opportunity to connect with the student-athletes, coaches, and staff who work hard every day to make the Hawkeye softball program a success. The Dugout aims to deliver unique insight into the lives of the Iowa softball team. Each Thursday, The Dugout will feature a different softball student-athlete. To see the latest post, visit hawkeyesports.com.
•Junior transfer Elizabeth Wiegand joins the team after spending two seasons with UT Martin. Wiegand appeared in 26 games with 21 starts for the Skyhawks in 2015. She led UT Martin in ERA (2.94), wins (12), appearances (26), starts (21), complete games (16), shutouts (3), innings pitched (135.2), and strikeouts (63) as a sophomore.
•Sophomore transfer Katy Taylor joins the Hawkeyes after spending a season at Labette Community College. Taylor helped the Cardinals to a 38-16 overall record and a Region VI Championship. She led the nation in stolen bases (89) and paced the Cardinals in hits (76), doubles (10), triples (3), walks (21), batting average (.435), and on base percentage (.485).
•Freshmen Erin Riding (pitcher), Mallory Kilian (pitcher/utility), and Brooke Rozier (catcher/utility) will all make their Hawkeye debut in 2016.
•Jake Schumann joined the Iowa softball staff on Aug. 5, 2015. Schumann will handle the Hawkeye offense. He joins the staff after spending last season as the associate head coach at Ole Miss. He has also served as the head coach at Florida International (2011-14), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (2007-11), Texas A&M-Kingsville (2003-07), and Carl Albert State College (2001-03).
•Former Hawkeye Rachel West is Iowa’s new volunteer assistant coach. West appeared in 202 games for the Hawkeyes from 2005-09. The Burlington, Iowa, native still stands as one of the best base stealers in program history. West swiped 86 bags during her four-year career — a mark that ranks fourth in program history.
•Sharon Palma is in her first year as the director of operations for the Iowa softball program. The Grand Rapids, Michigan, native came to Iowa after spending the 2014 season as an assistant coach at Ole Miss. A former professional pitcher for the Carolina Diamonds in the National Pro Fastpitch League, Palma has also spent time as an assistant coach at Florida International (2014) and IUPUI (2013), and a volunteer assistant coach at Michigan State (2012).
•Haley Hansel, Whitney Repole and Kara Misel were named to the spring Academic All-Big Ten team following the 2015 season. All three carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
•Hansel was named a 2015 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Recipients must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year and have a minimum GPA of 3.7 or higher.
•Hansel, Sarah Kurtz, and Cheyenne Pratt were recognized as 2014-15 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Scholar Athletes. In order to be eligible for the award, student-athletes must achieve a 3.5 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale.
The Hawkeyes benefited from two new facilities — 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 1272-796-5 (.615) record in 38 seasons.