The University of Iowa softball host Northwestern in a three-game series at Pearl Field. Due to expected weather in Iowa City Friday’s game has been cancelled. First pitch for Saturday is set for 3 p.m. (CT), and Sunday will be a doubleheader with game one starting at noon.
WATCH AND LISTEN LIVE
All three games will be streamed on the B1G+ and will also be broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network with Lucas Strain. Fans can access the stream free on YouTube. Live stats will be available on hawkeyesports.com and updates will be available on Twitter (@ iowasoftball).
LAST TIME OUT
The Hawkeyes returned home to Bob Pearl Field for the first time in the 2023 season for a doubleheader with Nebraska. The Hawkeyes took game one, 4-2, before falling in game two, 9-3.
In the two games, Iowa was led by junior Brylee Klosterman who went 3-for-5 with a double and a home run. Five different Hawkeye hitters had multi hit days.
In the circle, junior Denali Loecker made an appearance in both games, throwing four innings. She picked up her fourth save of the season in game one. Senior Breanna Vasquez picked up her 11th win in game one. She went six strong innings allowing two runs on five hits and struck out two.
2022 Big Ten head coach of the year, Kate Drohan, is in her 22nd season leading the Wildcats. They are coming off a 2022 campaign that ended at the WCWS. They return conference pitcher of the year, Danielle Williams, as well as six others all-conference selections. The enter the weekend at third place in the Big Ten after an opening weekend sweep of Minnesota in Evanston.
WILDCAT STAT LEADERS
AVG – Skyler Shellmyer (.356)
H – Skyler Shellmyer (26)
HR – Angela Zedak (5)
RBI – Jordyn Rudd (24)
SB – Skyler Shellmyer (7)
ERA – Lauren Boyd (2.03)
SO – Danielle Williams (66)
W – Cami Henry (7)
Senior Nia Carter ranks first in the conference for BA (.475), hits (56), and toughest to strike out. Carter’s BA is 11th in the nation and is ranked second in the nation for hits. She ranks second in the conference for OBP (.526). Carter is one of eight players in the conference who has struck out less than five times on the season.
Junior Grace Banes leads the conference in triples (3). Freshman Tory Bennett is ranked sixth in the conference for hits (38). Junior Denali Loecker is ranked sixth in the Big Ten for RBIs (31).
BRINGING IT IN THE CIRCLE
The Hawkeyes have the third best staff ERA in the conference (2.27) and have recorded the most shutouts (8). Two of the Iowa pitchers are ranked in the top 10 in the conference for ERA. Vasquez is leading the team with a with a 1.77 ERA (4th in B1G), followed by Loecker who has the sixth best ERA in the conference (1.80). Iowa is one of three teams in the conference to have multiple pitchers in the top 10.
Vasquez is ranked second in the conference in BA against (.175) and ranks eighth in strikeouts (78). Loecker ranks second in the conference in saves (4).
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.
The Hawkeyes are currently 4-5 in those games.
Iowa has had five freshman who have started in at least 45% of the games this season. Tory Bennett has started in all 34 games thus far at shortstop and is third on the team in hitting (.352).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Carter currently ranks fifth all-time in career hits (192) and triples (7).
Loecker ranks fifth all-time in career home runs (21) and ninth in RBIs (86). Pitching, Loecker is third in all-time for saves with five and ranks second for single-season saves (4).
In her time in a Hawkeye uniform, Vasquez ranks 10th for career wins (17) and strikeouts (172), seventh for starts (41), and ninth for innings pitched (201.1).