The University of Iowa softball hosts Drake on Wednesday for a single game at 5 p.m. (CT) at Pearl Field. The Hawkeyes then host Minnesota over the weekend for a three-game series. Friday’s game begins at 5 p.m. (CT). Saturday’s match is set for 2 p.m. and Sunday’s finale is slated to start at noon. Jerry Kiwala will have the call for the Hawkeye Radio Network which can be heard on YouTube.
Wednesday’s game is the Salute to Service Game, Friday’s game is the Go Green for Mental Health Game, Saturday’s game is the Black & Gold Spirit Game, and Sunday is the Strikeout Cancer Pink Game.
Tickets are $7 for adults and free for kids 18 and under.
All three games will be streamed
live via B1G+, a paid subscription service. The radio broadcast can be heard on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Fans can follow along for live updates via Twitter @IowaSoftball.
Nia Carter tied a school record with five hits against Houston (3/18). She went 5-for-5 on the day to match Christy Herbert (1995), Brandi Macias (1996), and Liz Watkins (2012).
B1G KID STATS
Nia Carter ranks second in the Big Ten and 23rd in the nation in batting average (.457). She is second in the Big Ten in hits (41) and second in on base percentage (.515).
DOING IT ALL
Denali Loecker has started the season 9-4 in the circle with a 2.67 ERA. Loecker also has four home runs and 14 RBIs.
Former Iowa assistant Rich Calvert enters his 19th season as head coach of the Bulldogs. Drake has played multiple Big Ten opponent: splitting 1-1 with Purdue, losing to Michigan 0-1, and losing to Minnesota 0-8. Drake ranks second in the MVC in on base percentage (.487), runs per game (.95) and stolen bases per game (.67).
BULLDOG STAT LEADERS
AVG – Macy Johnson (.369)
H – Macy Johnson (24)
HR – Emily Valtman (6)
RBI – Emily Valtman (22)
SB – Macy Johnson (14)
ERA – Nicole Timmons (5.40)
W – Nicole Timmons (3)
Piper Ritter sits at the helm of the Minnesota softball program, entering her second season as head coach, and 14th year on staff. Minnesota defeated Iowa’s other opponent this week, Drake, 8-0 (6) on March 12. In conference play Minnesota went 2-1 with Rutgers, and 1-2 with Illinois. Minnesota ranks first in the Big Ten in double plays per game (.39), second in home runs per game (1.42) and on-base percentage (.395). Senior outfielder Natalie DenHartog ranks seventh nationally in home runs (14) and home runs per game (.45).
GOPHER STAT LEADERS
AVG – Lauren Espalin (.370)
H – Natalie DenHartog (38)
HR – Natalie DenHartog (14)
RBI – Natalie DenHartog & Chloe Evans (29)
SB – Natalie DenHartog (10)
ERA – Autumn Pease (4.42)
W – Autumn Pease (9)
Head coach Renee Gillispie won her 900th career game on Feb. 27 against Cornell. Gillispie ranks 19th among active coaches in Division I and 38th all-time in total wins (907).
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.
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.
The Hawkeyes are 3-3 in those games.
In the 11 games that the Hawkeyes have played on a Friday this season, the team is 8-4.
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Iowa has a 14-0 record when tallying more hits than its opponents. The Hawkeyes are 12-1 when holding their opponent to two runs or less. Iowa is 15-2 when not allowing a home run
TAKE A LEAD AND KEEP IT
The Hawkeyes have a 13-2 record when they score first. Iowa is 14-2 when leading after the fourth inning. The Hawkeyes have scored a total of 78 runs and average 2.68 runs in the first four innings.
The Hawkeyes return three players who started every game a season ago. Grace Banes, Nia Carter, and Riley Sheehy started all 44 games in 2021.
Carter and Brylee Klosterman have started every game for the Hawkeyes this season.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Hawkeyes compiled a 10-6 record at Pearl Field in 2021. Iowa is 431-222-1 all-time at Pearl Field.
PROGRAM RECORD IN 2021
Iowa won a program-record 26 conference games during the 2021 conference only season. The previous record was 22 wins in 1997.
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.