March 29, 2007
Iowa, Illinois Notes in PDF Format (03-29-07)
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Date: March 30-31, 2007
Date: April 1, 2007
Location: Bloomington, Ind.
Facility: IU Softball Field
The Big Ten slate gets into full swing this weekend, with IU hosting Iowa on Friday and Saturday and Illinois on Sunday. The Hoosiers went 2-1 against the Hawkeyes last year and 0-1 against the Illini, with the second game of the scheduled doubleheader rained out.
Indiana opens Big Ten play this weekend, hosting Iowa on Friday, March 30, and Saturday, March 31, and Illinois for a doubleheader on Sunday, April 1.
Indiana enters the weekend series against Iowa with a 32-52 all-time record against the Hawkeyes in a series that dates back to 1976. The Hoosiers took two out of the three contests between the two squads last season. IU is 3-8 all-time against Illinois in a series that started in 2001. Indiana swept the Illini in two contests in 2005, but lost the lone match-up last year.
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS
The Hoosiers dropped an 8-0 contest to Ball State in Muncie, Ind., on Wednesday, March 28. Senior Rachel Terry had Indiana's lone hit on the day. Junior Jennilee Huddleston reached on an error in the fourth, extending her streak of consecutive games reaching base to 20.
The Cardinals scored single runs in the first and second innings before adding two in the fifth and four in the sixth to put the mercy rule into effect.
The loss to Ball State came on the heels of a 4-1 weekend for Indiana at the IU Classic. There, the host Hoosiers topped Eastern Michigan, Illinois-Chicago and Buffalo, twice. The Hoosiers went 3-0 in pool play to earn the top seed for bracket play, but faltered against Eastern Michigan in the first bracket game to fall to the consolation game of the tournament. There, the Hoosiers topped Buffalo for the second time in as many days.
Indiana opened the IU Classic with 2-1 win over UIC on March 23. Redshirt junior Tory Yamaguchi provided all the offense IU starter Monica Wright would need, hitting a two-run home run off the foul pole in left in the bottom of the first for the Hoosiers' only runs of the game. The home run was the 29th of Yamaguchi's career, moving her into sole possession of second place on the IU all-time list.
Against Eastern Michigan later in the day, home runs again proved the difference. Senior Kim Richards drilled a two-run shot over the scoreboard in left center in the bottom of the second inning, and Huddleston added a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth as Jennifer Moore and Wright combined to shut down the Eagles. Wright picked up the win with 3 1/3 innings of relief.
Indiana's next win came with a pleasant surprise, as senior Christy Wahl turned in a complete-game shutout in just her second start of the season, earning a 4-0 win over Buffalo on March 24. After a shaky first inning in which she walked three batters and allowed the first five to reach base, Wahl settled down, striking out a career-high eight in earning her first win of the season. Wahl retired the side in order in the second, fourth and sixth innings, striking out the side in the fourth. She allowed just five hits for the game.
Yamaguchi again provided the offense, hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to break open a scoreless game. Richards tacked on an RBI single later in the frame.
The Hoosiers finally ran out of steam in their second game of the day, falling to Eastern Michigan in the first bracket game, 3-2. Senior Heather Hohs stole home to tie the game in the bottom of the second inning, and an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of junior Janetta Deaven put the Hoosiers on top 2-1 in the bottom of the second. The Eagles would rally, however, scoring a pair of runs in the top half of the fifth and holding on for the win.
Indiana took out the frustration of the loss on Buffalo the next day, pounding out 14 hits in rolling to a 10-2 win. The Hoosiers jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the first three innings, then added another run in the fifth on a Yamaguchi solo blast before exploding for five runs in the sixth. Indiana recorded five hits and two walks in the inning before sophomore Julie DiNallo's RBI single to left center scored classmate Emily Bergeson with the run that put the mercy rule into effect.
Kari Bettenbrock, making just her third start of the season, responded with a 2-for-3 effort at the dish, pounding out an RBI double and a run-scoring single.
Junior Jennilee Huddleston leads Indiana with a .391 batting average, a .451 on-base percentage, nine doubles and 24 RBIs. Junior Tory Yamaguchi is hitting .330 and paces the squad with a .725 slugging percentage and 10 home runs. Junior Julia Hamilton has scored a team-best 20 runs on the season and leads IU with 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts. In the circle, sophomore Monica Wright is 11-7 with a 2.46 ERA. She has pitched a team-high 136 2/3 innings and has 84 strikeouts to her credit.
Iowa enters Friday's contest with a 23-13 ledger after a 4-2 win over Northern Illinois on Wednesday, March 28. The Hawkeyes trailed 1-0 entering the latter stages of the game, but posted three runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to secure the win. Junior Emily Nichols was 3-for-3, while sophomore Colleen McGlaughlin was 2-for-3 with a two-run home run for Iowa.
Iowa has won five straight games entering the weekend, and nine of 10 overall. Prior to topping Northern Illinois on Wednesday, Iowa claimed its own Hawkeye Classic crown with wins over South Dakota State, North Dakota State, Ball State and NIU.
Nichols, who had a 28-game hitting streak earlier in the season, leads the squad with a .438 batting average. Iowa has three pitchers with at least six wins, with freshman Amanda Zust (8-6, 2.72 ERA) logging a team-high 103 innings on the season thus far. Junior Stephanie Ackerson is 9-5 with a 1.88 ERA, while sophomore Brittany Weil is 6-1 with a 1.13 ERA.
Iowa is coached by Gayle Blevins, who coached Indiana from 1980-87 and is in the IU Athletics Hall of Fame. Iowa associate head coach Michelle Venturella was a standout for IU from 1992-95 and was the 1994 Big Ten Player of the Year. She is still Indiana's career leader in walks and RBIs.
SCOUTING THE ILLINI
Illinois stands 20-11 entering weekend play, and has won 11 of its last 14 games. The Illini will open the weekend at Purdue, taking on the Boilermakers on Friday and Saturday before facing the Hoosiers on Sunday.
Prior to this weekend, Illinois went 4-2 at the Diamond Devil Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., on March 23-25, beating BYU and Longwood twice each and falling to host No. 5/7 Arizona State twice to finish second at the tournament.
Sophomore Lana Armstrong was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week after an impressive week at the plate. Including games at the Diamond Devil Invitational and an 18-4 drubbing of Illinois-Chicago on March 21, Armstrong hit .450 with four home runs and two doubles on the week.
Entering the weekend, Armstrong paces the Illini with a .460 batting average and 36 RBIs and is one of four Illinois players with nine home runs this season. Freshman Vicky Brown is the Illini's top option in the circle, as she is 12-4 with a 3.32 ERA in 114 innings.
The Hoosiers are enjoying tremendous success lately, having won 14 of their last 17 contests after starting the season 3-9. The streak began during Indiana's spring break trip. After a dismal 0-5 start in Florida, The Hoosiers strung together nine straight wins, winning the Bronze Bracket at the USF adidas Invitational and then taking the USF Spring Break Tournament title. IU kept the roll going in the first two games of the Speedline Invitational, but lost two of its next three games at the tourney, falling in the championship game of its bracket. Indiana got back in the win column at its own IU Classic, going 4-1. The Hoosiers' 14-3 jag is their second in as many seasons, as Indiana won 14-of-17 from March 10-April 2 of last season.
Indiana won nine straight games from March 10-17, its longest streak since winning 16 in a row in 1994. The school record for consecutive wins is 18, which the Hoosiers set from March 23-April 12, 1983.
TWENTY AND COUNTING
Junior Jennilee Huddleston reached base in Indiana's last 20 contests, a span that included an 11-game hitting streak. Illinois-Chicago was the last team to keep the Peachtree City, Ga., native off the basepaths, doing so on March 9 at the USF adidas Invitational.
THE WRIGHT STUFF
New kid on the block Monica Wright has been on fire lately, as the sophomore transfer is 9-1 with a 1.29 ERA her last 14 appearances. Over that span, Wright has tossed a pair of 1-0 shutouts and lost two more shutouts in the final innings of those games.
Redshirt junior Tory Yamaguchi hit three home runs at the IU Classic, moving her into sole possession of seconf place on the Hoosiers' all-time list with 31. Only Monica Armendarez, who hit 38 longballs from 1995-98, has hit more homers in an IU uniform than Yamaguchi.
Seniors Kim Richards (8th, 16 HR), Rachel Terry (t-10th, 9 HR) and Jennilee Huddleston (t-10th, 9 HR) also appear in the top 10 in career home runs for Indiana. Huddleston moved in with a home run against Eastern Michigan on March 23.
Richards has moved into the top 10 in career doubles this season, as she now has 35 to her credit to stand tied for eighth with Margaret Haenisch (1991-94). Aimee Lonigro (1994-97) is seventh with 37 doubles during her career.
Juniors Jennilee Huddleston and Tory Yamaguchi have hit back-to-back home runs twice this season. The duo first turned the trick in the top of the fourth against Southern Illinois on Feb. 16, then went yard consecutively again against Chattanooga in the top of the seventh on March 18.
STEPHANIES MAKING THE MOST
Sophomore Stephanie Pellerito hit a grand slam to propel Indiana to a 6-2 win over Ball State on March 4. Pellerito was playing just her second game of the season, getting the starting nod after an injury to Emily Bergeson the day before. In her very next at-bat, against Massachusetts on March 8, Pellerito went deep again, this time with a solo shot to lead off the third. With two home runs already this season, Pellerito has matched her output from all of last year.
Freshman Stephanie Turner has also taken advantage of her limited playing time this season. Turner went 1-for-3 with a double in her first collegiate action, against Ball State on March 4, and hit a walk-off home run in just her fifth career at bat, against Buffalo on March 16. Her two-run blast came in the bottom of the fifth inning, and put IU up 10-1 to put the mercy rule into effect.
INDIANA TAKES ON THE POLLS
The Hoosiers have eight teams on the 2007 schedule that have appeared in both major polls this season. 2007 IU opponents Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, Massachusetts, South Florida, Southern Illinois, Northwestern and Michigan have all been ranked in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 polls at some point in the season.
HEATING UP IN FLORIDA
Junior Jennilee Huddleston heated up under the Florida sun during the Hoosiers' spring break trip, hitting .429 over the 17 games with 10 runs scored and 17 RBIs. Huddleston hit safely in 13 of the 17 contests, and reached base in all but one. Tory Yamaguchi (.357), Emily Bergeson (.357), Julia Hamilton (.323) and Kim Richards (.306) also found success at the dish. As a team, Indiana hit .295 for the trip, raising its batting average 69 points in little more than a week.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES
Indiana has played seven games on Sundays so far this season, and has enjoyed tremendous success at the end of the weekend, going 6-1. IU's lone Sunday loss this season came on March 18, when it fell to Wisconsin 5-0 in the championship game of the No. 2 seed bracket at the Speedline Invitational in Tampa, Fla. In a peculiar contrast, the Hoosiers are just 3-6 on Saturdays so far this year. Indiana has earned splits on its last three Saturdays after starting the season 0-3 on the day.
Indiana will take a quick break from conference play when it travels to Louisville, Ky., to tangle with the Cardinals of Louisville at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4. Indiana returns home on April 8, when it will host Northwestern for a doubleheader starting at noon.