The University of Iowa softball team faces Tulsa on Friday at 10 a.m. (CT) followed by Butler at 12:15 p.m. to open the Texas A&M Invitational in College Station, Texas. Saturday, the Hawkeyes take on Butler at 10 a.m. and No. 6/9 Texas A&M at 12:15 p.m. Iowa concludes the weekend Sunday at 9 a.m. against Tulsa.
Tulsa is 2-2 after opening weekend, notching wins over Virginia (9-5) and Houston Baptist (3-2) at the Cowgirl Classic in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The Golden Hurricane are led by senior Shelby Estocado who has five hits, four runs, three RBIs, and a .385 batting average.
The Golden Hurricanes collected 21 runs and 16 RBIs on 30 hits in its opening weekend.
Samantha Pochop and Emily Watson led Tulsa in the circle with seven strikeouts over 9.2 innings pitched and 11 strikeouts over 11 innings pitched, respectively.
Tulsa leads the all-time series, 3-2. The teams last faced on March 6, 2016, when Tulsa won a 9-7 decision. Iowa last defeated the Golden Hurricanes (7-6) on March 18, 2015.
Butler is 1-4 overall after a 6-0 loss to South Alabama in the Friends of Jaclyn Invitational on Sunday in Orlando, Florida.
Alyssa Garcia leads Butler with four hits, two runs, and a .500 batting average.
In the circle, Gabbi Schnaiter has four strikeouts and a 1.12 ERA over 12.0 innings pitched.
Friday’s matchup is the first between Iowa and Butler in program history.
Tournament host Texas A&M owns a 4-0 record on the season and is ranked No. 6/8 nationally.
The Aggies defeated Houston (5-4), Boston College (3-1, 11-3), and Texas Tech (9-5) in their opening weekend.
Texas A&M picked up 28 runs on 27 hits in the first four games of the season. Elaine Heflin pitched 14.1 innings in the circle. She owns a 3.92 ERA.
Infielder Tori Vidales led the Aggies at the plate, batting .500 with seven hits in 14 at bats. The senior knocked nine RBIs and scored five runs.
Iowa is 4-1 all-time against the Aggies. The Hawkeyes won the last meeting, 3-0, on March 8, 2003.
Brooke Rozier had three hits with two doubles, two RBIs, and a run during opening weekend.
The redshirt sophomore leads the team with a .333 batting average, a .556 slugging percentage, and a .500 on-base percentage.
Aralee Bogar had three hits, three runs, four stolen bases, and a .250 batting average in her first four games in black and gold. She also had a .333 slugging percentage and a .308 on-base percentage.
The freshman hit the first double of her career against UIC on Feb. 9.
WOOD ON FIRE
Senior Allie Wood came home with one run and two RBIs on four hits including a two run homer against Eastern Illinois. Wood also collected her first stolen base of the season against Eastern Illinois.
A TOUGH SCHEDULE
Iowa’s 2018 schedule features 10 opponents who reached the 2017 NCAA Regionals, two of which reached the Women’s College World Series. UIC, UL Lafayette, Tulsa, Texas A&M, Cal State Fullerton, Baylor, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota all reached Regionals, while Texas A&M and Baylor advanced to the Women’s College World Series.
Six foes are ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Poll: Texas A&M (6), Baylor (11), Minnesota (14), UL Lafayette (16), Arizona State (18), and Michigan (20). Nebraska, Tulsa, Northwestern, and Cal State Fullerton received votes.
Seven of Iowa’s opponents are ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll: Texas A&M (8), Baylor (12), Minnesota (14), Arizona State (16), UL Lafayette (T19), Michigan (T19), and Nebraska (T22). Northwestern and Tulsa also received votes.
BACK IN BLACK
Rachel West was named an assistant coach for the University of Iowa softball team in August 2017. She works with Iowa’s slap hitters and outfielders.
West, an Iowa native, has spent eight years coaching in the Iowa City area, including a season as the Hawkeye’s volunteer assistant coach (2016).
West coached in the area for seven high school seasons, including spending one year as the head softball coach at Clear Creek Amana and two years as the assistant varsity coach at Solon.
West played for Iowa Iowa in 202 games from 2005-09. In career records, she ranks fourth in stolen bases (86), eighth in batting average (.341), and 18th in runs (95). In single-season records, she ranks No. 7 in stolen bases (29) and No. 16 with four triples, both in 2007.
Keely McMillon joined the University of Iowa softball program as the Director of Operations in September of 2017.
McMillon joins Iowa after four years as the Director of Operations for Olympic sports at Liberty University.
In 2012, McMillon coached softball at Heritage High School in Lynchburg, Virginia.
McMillon was a catcher for the Lady Flames softball team from 2008-11. A four-year starter, primarily behind the plate, she played a key role as a senior on the Lady Flames’ 2011 Big South champion team.
The Hawkeyes will continue to produce their blog, The Dugout, for the 2018 season. The blog provides fans the opportunity to connect with the student-athletes, coaches, and staff 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 features a different softball student-athlete, coach, or support staff member. To see the latest post, visit hawkeyesports.com.
General Admission (Public) – $15
General Admission (Fac/Staff) – $12
Season tickets are available at hawkeyesports.com/tickets, by calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or at the UI Athletics Ticket Office at the north entrance of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Following a week off, the Hawkeyes travel to Fullerton, California, for the Judi Garman Classic on March 2-4. Iowa faces Stanford, Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly, No. 16/T19 UL Lafayette, and No. 11/12 Baylor over the three-day tournament.