The University of Iowa softball team faces Illinois in its conference opener Friday at 5:30 p.m. (CT) at Pearl Field. The Hawkeyes take on the Fighting Illini again Saturday at 1 p.m. before concluding the three-game series Sunday at noon.
- Friday’s game will be live streamed on Hawkeye All-Access, while Saturday and Sunday’s games will be live streamed on BTN Plus. A direct link to each game is on the softball schedule page on hawkeyesports.com.
- Live stats for each contest is on the softball schedule page on hawkeyesports.com.
- Live audio is available for all Big Ten games on Hawkeye All-Access at hawkeyesports.com.
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For all of the latest news and information on Iowa softball, visit hawkeyesports.com. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at Facebook.com/iowahawkeyessoftball and @iowasoftball on Twitter and Instagram.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit hawkeyesports.com/tickets, call the ticket office at 1-800-IA-HAWKS or visit the ticket office located in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Fans who purchase a season ticket will receive a special edition Iowa softball blanket. Tickets start at just $12.
After a non-conference schedule that featured five tournaments and a midweek series, Iowa opens conference play at home against the Fighting Illini this weekend. The Hawkeyes play seven weekend series and one midweek doubleheader during league action.
- Six of Iowa’s 2017 opponents are currently ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll: Florida (1), Washington (5), Minnesota (8), Wisconsin (21), California (23), and Arizona State (24). Ohio State, Missouri, Texas State, and Fresno State also received votes.
- Five foes are ranked in the USA Today/NFCA poll: Florida (2), Washington (6), Minnesota (8), Arizona State (21), and Wisconsin (22). California, Ohio State, Missouri, and Fresno State also received votes.
- Kaitlyn Mullarkey leads Iowa in: runs (9), hits (17), RBIs (9), and doubles (6). Defensively, she leads the team in putouts with 135.
- With her home run against Virginia Tech, Mullarkey now has 16 career home runs to tie for 13th in program history.
- With six doubles this season, Mullarkey has 26 in her career. She is five doubles away from tying for 15th in program history.
- Freshman pitcher Allison Doocy had five strikeouts over 7.0 innings in her first outing against Abilene Christian on Feb. 10.
- The Ankeny, Iowa, native had a career-high nine strikeouts against South Dakota State on March 19. She leads the team with 51 strikeouts this season.
I’ll Take Pratt
- Cheyenne Pratt is 6-6 in swiping stolen bases this season, which is a personal-best single season mark. She is a perfect 12-12 in her career.
- Pratt had a career-high two stolen bases against Texas Tech.
- Brooke Rozier hit her second triple of the season against No. 20 Arizona State. The redshirt freshman is two triples away from landing in the top 20 in single season triples.
- Rozier’s home run against Kansas (March 12) was the second of her career.
- With five extra-base hits, Rozier leads the team with a .423 slugging percentage.
Hot Hitting Thompson
- Lea Thompson leads the team with six sacrifice hits.
- The freshman has reached base in 10 consecutive games. In addition, she was a perfect 3-for-3 over two games against Missouri on March 15.
- Thompson hit her first triple of the season against the Tigers and added a double against Valparaiso on March 17.
- Senior Claire Fritsch exploded at the plate in the Hawkeye Invitational, going 6-for-7 with three doubles, three runs scored, and an RBI over a three-game stretch.
- Fritsch was a perfect 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI against South Dakota State on March 18. On March 20 against the Jackrabbits, the Round Rock, Texas, native was a perfect 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored.
- Fritsch also went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, and a stolen base against Creighton on March 19.
- Overall, Fritsch has three multi-hit games.
- Illinois is 16-8 after sweeping a doubleheader over UIC Tuesday night (7-3; 7-5).
- Illinois is third in the conference and 28th in the nation with a .324 batting average.
- The Fighting Illini score an average of 6 runs per game, good for fourth in the Big Ten and 21st in the nation.
- Illinois leads the series 21-16. The Hawkeyes took game one of the series on April 3, 2015 (15-7, five innings), before the Illini won the final two games (15-7; 12-7).
In the Rankings – B1G
Three Big Ten teams are currently ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Minnesota leads the league at No. 8, while Michigan is No. 18. Wisconsin rounds out the rankings at No. 21. Ohio State also received votes.
Three Big Ten teams are ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll. Minnesota lands at No. 8, while Michigan is ranked 19th and Wisconsin is No. 22. Oho State also received votes.
A Challenging Schedule
Iowa’s 2017 schedule includes 12 opponents who reached the 2016 NCAA Regionals, three of which also reached the 2016 Super Regionals. Texas State, Florida, Fresno State, Washington, Arizona State, Cal, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Western Illinois and Northwestern all reached Regionals, while Florida, Washington and Missouri each advanced to the Super Regionals.
In the Record Books
- Kaitlyn Mullarkey hit nine homeruns in the 2016 season, which tied for eighth in program history.
- With 16 career blasts, Mullarkey is tied for 13th on Iowa’s all-time career home run list. Her next home run will move her into a tie for 10th in program history.
Around the Big Ten
- Iowa leads the conference in double plays per game with a 0.61 average.
- The Hawkeyes are No. 6 in earned run average (3.07).
- Brooke Rozier ranks second in triples (2), while Lea Thompson is second in sacrifice hits per game (0.33).
In the Nation
- Iowa’s 0.63 double plays per game rank fifth in the nation.
- Lea Thompson is No. 12 in the nation with 0.33 sacrifice hits per game.
After registering 11 extra-base hits in all of 2015 (59 games), junior Kaitlyn Mullarkey tallied 21 in 48 games in 2016. This season, Mullarkey recorded three doubles in the first four games. She currently has five doubles and one home run.
After stealing 18 bags in all of 2015, Iowa swiped 51 bases in 52 games during the 2016 season.
Junior Kaitlyn Mullarkey led the team with 13 stolen bases. Of those 51 stolen bases, returnees stole 39. The Hawkeyes have 20 stolen bases in 2017.
- The Hawkeyes return 14 letterwinners and 10 players who started over 30 games from the 2016 season.
- All five pitchers from the 2016 season return.
- During the 2016 season, Kaitlyn Mullarkey racked up 44 hits and a team-high 38 runs in 154 at-bats. She tied a team-high 11 doubles and led the team with nine home runs for a team-best .571 slugging percentage. The nine home runs tied for eighth all-time in a single season. In addition, Mullarkey led the team with a .418 on-base percentage. The Park Ridge, Illinois, native had a team-high 13 stolen bases on 15 attempts. Defensively, she started every game at first base and led the team with 321 putouts and chipped in 25 assists.
- After a solid freshman season, sophomore Mallory Killian is poised to help the Hawkeyes during the 2017 season. Kilian split time between third base and designated player last year and amassed 24 hits and 12 runs in 93 at-bats. She also chipped in four doubles and four home runs for a .430 slugging percentage. Defensively, Kilian tallied 15 putouts and 24 assists.
- Angela Schmiederer split time between catcher and outfielder as a sophomore. She amassed 29 hits and 15 runs in 114 at-bats. She also chipped in eight doubles and three home runs for a .404 slugging percentage.
- Iowa added eight freshmen to its squad for the 2017 season.
- Devin Cantu played three seasons at Cedar Hill High School and was a three-time first team all-district selection. As a junior, Cantu was named Offensive Player of the Year.
- Havyn Monteer played at Boonville R-1 High School in Missouri and holds school records for most at bats (323), runs (144), hits (154), singles (103), and stolen bases (97) in a career.
- Taylor MaKowsky played at Klein Oak High School in Klein, Texas, and was a three-time all-district selection, which included first team honors as a senior.
- Lea Thompson played for Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was a three-time all-conference selection and earned the team’s Offensive Player of the Year award as a sophomore and junior.
- Taylor Libby competed at West High School in Iowa City. She hit .440 as a junior with 16 doubles and four home runs and currently holds the school record for doubles (16) and RBIs (45) in a single season.
- Allison Doocy played at Ankeny High School where she set the Iowa State Tournament strikeout record in 2015 with 33 strikeouts in three state tournament games. She holds the school record for strikeouts in a single season (233).
- McKenzie Schneider played at Carroll Senior High School where she batted .397, scored 110 runs, drove in 103 runs and posted a .460 on-base percentage. She hit .435, blasted seven home runs, notched 40 RBIs, and scored a team-high 50 runs as a senior.
Back in Black (and Gold)
- Megan Blank enters her first season as a volunteer assistant coach. She joins the Hawkeyes after two seasons with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch Association and one season as a volunteer assistant at Northwestern. Blank, who recently signed for her third season with the Bandits, was one of the most decorated softball players in Iowa’s history.
- Blank, a four-time All-Big Ten first team selection, had a standout career with the Hawkeyes. Blank played and started at shortstop in every game of her collegiate career. She broke or tied five school records and finished in the top 10 in 12 statistical records.
Other Staff Additions
- Daniel Gratz has joined the University of Iowa softball staff as the director of operations.
- Gratz joins the Hawkeyes after spending three seasons as head coach at Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School. He also worked as assistant coach this past season for John Wood Community College.
- His accomplishments at Kennedy led Gratz to be named 2016 Conference Coach of the Year (Missouri Valley Conference) and 2016 District Coach of the Year (Iowa 5A – East District).
The Hawkeyes will once again produce their blog, The Dugout, for the 2017 season. The blog will provide fans the opportunity to connect with the student-athletes, coaches, staff and alumni around the Hawkeye softball program. The Dugout aims to deliver a unique insight into the lives of the Iowa softball team. Each week, The Dugout will feature a different softball student-athlete, coach or alum. To see the latest post, visit hawkeyesports.com.
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 1283-829-5 (.607) record in 38 seasons.