The University of Iowa softball team returns to Leesburg, Florida, for The Spring Games. The Hawkeyes open with matchups against North Florida and Notre Dame on Friday at 12:30 p.m. (CT) and 5:30 p.m. respectively. They then face Princeton at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by Cornell at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
NEARING NINE HUNDRED
Head coach Renee Gillispie has 897 career wins, three wins away from 900. Gillispie ranks 19th among active coaches in D1 and 38th all-time.
Sophomore Brylee Klosterman ranks 15th in the NCAA and first in the Big Ten with five doubles.
Big Ten Lead
Four Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten in a statistical category. Nia Carter leads in batting average (.500) and on base percentage (.594), Brylee Klosterman in doubles (5) and doubles per game (.62). Grace Banes and Riley Sheehy are tied for the lead in sacrifice bunts per game (.25).
NLSN ALL-Tourney Team
Sophomore Grace Banes and freshman Tristin Doster were named to the 2022 Northern Lights/Southern Nights Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Doster, a Fort Dodge, Iowa, native hit .459 on the weekend while slugging .857. In Iowa’s win over Liberty the freshman hit her first career grand slam. She tallied six RBIs and scored three runs.
Banes, a Kansas City, Kansas, native, hit .429 while slugging .615 in the Hawkeyes’ four games. She notched an RBI in each game. In total she had five RBIs and scored four runs.
Seven Hawkeyes hail from Iowa, seven from California, three from Indiana, two from Missouri, and one from Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska. The roster is comprised of nine freshmen, seven sophomores, three juniors and three seniors. There are 11 returning letterwinners and 11 newcomers.
The Hawkeyes added two transfers for the 2022 season. Senior Breanna Vasquez comes to the Hawkeyes from Central Florida. Vasquez appeared in 51 games over three seasons for the Knights. Vasquez has a career 2.01 ERA and 18-10 record. Junior Sophia Maras comes to the Hawkeyes from DMACC after being named the 2021 NFCA Player of the Year. She led the NJCAA in six major offensive categories (including runs (105), hits (117), home runs (29), RBI (92), total bases (234), and walks (40).
SCOUTING NORTH FLORIDA
Head Coach Marcie Higgs enters her 14th season at North Florida, the second longest tenured head coach in program history. Junior Pitcher Halle Arends earned ASUN Pitcher of the Week after going 3-0 with no earned runs and 18 strikeouts at the Ju-UNF Invitational. Junior Shannon Glover ranks seventh in the ASUN conference in batting average (.453).
SCOUTING NOTRE DAME
Head Coach Deanna Gumpf enters her 20th season at the helm of Notre Dame softball. The Fighting Irish are 7-3 on the season, with wins over No. 21 LSU and No. 11 Texas. Notre Dame rank first in the ACC Conference in doubles (20) with junior Miranda Johnson and senior Abby Sweet tied for third in the conference (3). The team totes a batting average of .579, and sophomore Karina Gaskins ranks second in the nation in RBI’s, with 14.
Head coach Lisa Van Ackeren is entering her 10th season at Princeton. The Tigers are making their season debut this weekend coming off a shortened 2021 season. Thirteen players return.
Julie Farlow is entering her seventh season as the head coach for Cornell. After nearly two years of no competition, Cornell was voted seventh in the Ivy League Preseason Poll. Cornell returns seven position starters and three of its top four pitchers from the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
PLAYING THE BEST
The Hawkeyes face 10 different teams that made the NCAA tournament in 2021. Eastern Kentucky, Liberty, Kentucky, South Dakota State, Wichita State, defending national champion Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa State, Northwestern, and Northern Iowa.
Program Record in 2021
Iowa won a program-record 26 conference games in 2021. The previous record was 22 wins in 1997.
The Hawkeyes return three players who started every game a season ago for the Hawkeyes. Grace Banes, Nia Carter, and Riley Sheehy started all 44 games for the Hawkeyes.
B1G BATS ARE BACK
The Hawkeyes return 86 percent of their hits, 84 percent of their home runs, and 84 percent of their RBIs from 2021.
The Hawkeyes return two players who received Big Ten Honors. Loecker was named second team All-Big Ten. Loecker and Brylee Klosterman were both named to the All-Freshman team.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Hawkeyes compiled a 10-6 record at Pearl Field in 2021. Under Renee Gillispie the Hawkeyes are 18-16 at home (since 2019).
Junior Nia Carter returns for the Hawkeyes. In 2021, she ranked as the toughest batter to strikeout in the Big Ten (23.7 K Average). She ranked 38th in the country.
MOVE ‘EM OVER
Senior Riley Sheehy returns after being ranked 54th in the country and fourth in the Big Ten in sacrifice bunts per game (0.20) in 2021.
DON’T RUN ON THE HAWKS
The Hawkeyes tied for 11th in the country in 2021 with 17 runners caught stealing. They trailed only Rutgers and Boston College for most among power five schools.