The University of Iowa softball team travels to Boca Raton, Florida, to open its 2023 season at the FAU Paradise Classic. The Hawkeyes open with matchups against Loyola and Bethune Cookman on Friday. Iowa will face Mississippi State and FAU on Saturday and Stony Brook on Sunday.
All five games will be streamed live via FloSoftball, a paid subscription service. Fans can follow along for live updates via Twitter @IowaSoftball.
Twelve Hawkeyes hail from Iowa, eight from California, two from Indiana, and one from Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. The roster is comprised of 10 freshmen, eight sophomores, six juniors, and three seniors. There are 15 returning letterwinners and 12 newcomers.
The Hawkeyes added two transfers for the 2023 season. Junior RHP Maren Judisch comes to the Hawkeyes from Baylor. Judisch appeared in 34 games with six starts over two seasons for the Bears. Judisch has a career 2.08 ERA and 5-2 record in 74 innings pitched. Sophomore Tatianna Roman transferred in from Alabama A&M. She was the only Bulldog to start all 40 games in 2022. She led the team in hits (41) and total bases (51). Roman ranked third on the team with a .308 batting average.
Head Coach Alicia Abbott enters her fourth season leading Loyola. The Ramblers were selected to finish eighth in their inaugural season in the Atlantic 10 conference. They return seven of their starters from last season, including all-conference selections Peyton Pepkowski and Madison Ebeling.
2022 SWAC Head Coach of the Year, Laura Wattenn enters her 17th season at the helm of Bethune-Cookman. In 2022, Bethune-Cookman finished in first place in the SWAC East. The Wildcats’ pitching staff led the conference in ERA (2.70). They return fifth-year senior Carrington Robinson, who led the team in hitting with a batting average of .327 and sophomore pitcher Halyne Gonzalez, who was a 2022 first-team All-SWAC honoree.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE
Head Coach Samantha Ricketts is entering her fourth season at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs finished 2022 advancing to Super regionals after defeating No. 2 FSU in the Tallahassee Regional. As a team they hit a program record, 73 home runs. MSU returns All-SEC selection Chloe Malau’ulu who was second on the team in BA, OBP, and runs scored. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 23 in the Preseason USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.
Jordan Clark is entering her first season as the head coach of the Owls. She brings in two new assistants to the program as well. FAU finished fifth in C-USA in 2022 and was voted to place fifth in the conference in the preseason poll. The Owls return 2022 all-conference selections, OF Sarah Berthiaume and RHP Lynn Gardner.
SCOUTING STONY BROOK
Head Coach Megan Bryant is entering her 23rd season and is the winningest coach in program history. The Seawolves finished second in the America East a season ago. Stony Brook returns three all-league selections from a year ago. They also return their four offensive leaders: Alyssa Costello, Ashley Jacobsen, Kyra McFarland, and Corinne Badger.
PLAYING THE BEST
The Hawkeyes will face 12 different teams that made the 2022 NCAA Tournament: Lehigh, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Princeton, South Florida, UT-Chattanooga, and Wisconsin. They will face four teams who advanced to the WCWS, Northwestern, Oregon State, UCLA, and national runner-up Texas.
Iowa was picked to finish 12th in the conference by D1 Softball.
The University of Iowa softball team played 52 games in 2022, finishing 21-31. Then-junior Nia Carter led the Hawkeyes in batting average and triples. She finished second on the team in slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
The Hawkeyes return three players who started more than 50 games a season ago for the Hawkeyes. Nia Carter, Kalena Burns, and Brylee Klosterman.
B1G BATS ARE BACK
The Hawkeyes return 79 percent of their hits and 82 percent of their RBIs from 2022. Five of the top six hit leaders return from a season ago.
Outfielder Nia Carter was named first-team All-Region in 2022. Carter is the first Hawkeye to receive NFCA first team All-Region honors since Megan Blank in 2015.
JOINING THE RECORD BOOKS
As a Junior, Nia Carter ranked second in the Big Ten in batting average (.405) and hits (66).
Her .405 average places Carter seventh in school history for single season batting average.
Carter is currently fourth at Iowa for career batting average (.378), only behind Megan Blank (12-15, .410), Lea Twigg (96-97, .409), and Kari Knopf (94-97, .380).
HERE FOR THE LONGBALL
Denali Loecker was just the fourth underclassman at Iowa to hit at least 10 home runs in a single season. She is tied for fourth most in a single season and is tied for 18th most career home runs (14).
Iowa returns 84 percent of their home runs from last season.
TAKE A LEAD AND KEEP IT
Last season, the Hawkeyes had a 18-8 record when they scored first. Iowa was 17-2 when leading after the fourth inning.