The University of Iowa softball travels to East Lansing, Michigan for a three-game series at Michigan State. The series opener on Friday is scheduled for 4 p.m. (CT). Saturday and Sunday’s first pitch are both scheduled for 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 hosted #20 Northwestern in a three-game series at Bob Pearl Field. They fell in extra-innings, 8-3, on Saturday before splitting the doubleheader on Sunday. Game two on Saturday ended in walk-off fashion as Tristin Doster delivered a bases-loaded single to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
Three Hawkeyes hit over .300 in the series, led by Grace Banes who hit .375 with two doubles, and two RBIs. Five different hitters also had at least one extra-base hit over the weekend.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
Head coach Sharonda McDonald-Kelley is in her first season leading the Spartans. MSU has faced four teams that were ranked this season and they are 0-5 in those games. Senior, Jessica Mabrey, is leading the team in just about every offensive category. She ranks fourth in the conference in OBP (.505) and ninth for OPS (1.111). The Spartans are coming off of a Big Ten weekend where they were swept by Maryland in College Park. They hosted Oakland in a midweek matchup on Tuesday where they won, 4-3.
SPARTAN STAT LEADERS
AVG – Jessica Mabrey (.342)
H – Jessica Mabrey (26)
HR – Jessica Mabrey (4)
RBI – Jessica Mabrey (15)
SB – Jessica Mabrey (4)
ERA – Ashley Miller (3.50)
SO – Ashley Miller (83)
W – Ashley Miller (6)
Senior Nia Carter ranks first in the conference for BA (.449), hits (57), and toughest to strike out. Carter’s BA is 16th in the nation and is ranked second in the nation for hits. She ranks third in the conference for OBP (.507). Carter is one of six players in the conference who has struck out less than six times on the season.
Junior Grace Banes is tied for second in the conference for triples (3). Freshman Tory Bennett is tied for 11th in the conference for hits (40). Junior Denali Loecker is tied for ninth in the Big Ten for RBIs (31).
BRINGING IT IN THE CIRCLE
The Hawkeyes have the third best staff ERA in the conference (2.38) and are tied for third with eight shutouts. Three of the Iowa pitchers are ranked in the top 10 in the conference for ERA. Vasquez is leading the team with a with a 1.96 ERA (7th in B1G), followed by Loecker who has the eighth best ERA in the conference (2.08), and Adams is 10th with a 2.21. Iowa is one of three teams in the conference to have multiple pitchers in the top 10.
Vasquez is tied for second in the conference in BA against (.185) and ranks seventh in strikeouts (91). Loecker is tied for second in the conference in saves (4).
PLAYING THE BEST
The Hawkeyes have faced 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 5-7 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 37 games thus far at shortstop and is third on the team in hitting (.336).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Carter currently is tied for 15th all-time in career hits (193).
Loecker ranks eighth all-time in career home runs (21).