INDIANA TO HOST BALL STATE PRIOR TO SUNDAY TWINBILL AGAINST THE 24TH-RANKED HAWKEYES IN IOWA CITY
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Bloomington, Ind. -- Indiana will play its 11th and 12 consecutive home game this afternoon when it faces Mid-American Conference foe Ball State at the IU Softball Field. The first pitch of the opening game is scheduled for noon. At the conclusion of todays second game against the Cardinals, Indiana will depart for Iowa City, where it will play the Iowa Hawkeyes in a Sunday doubleheader that also begins at noon.
Under first-year head coach Sara Hayes, Indiana enters this weekends contests with a 15-23 overall record, including an 0-10 mark in Big Ten play. This past Wednesday, Indiana split a home doubleheader against Kentucky, losing the opener, 9-5, before capturing the nightcap, 4-2. The second game was shortened to five innings because of darkness. Seven of Indianas last nine losses have come by a total of 11 runs.
Indiana is led by senior catcher Stormy Hanson. The Las Vegas, Nev., product is hitting .400 with 10 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, and 26 RBI. She has notched a slugging percentage of .774 and also leads the team in stolen bases with 15. The Hoosiers have four other hitters that are batting .294 or higher. Freshman designated player Lauren Hines (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb) has started 32 games and is hitting .306, to go along with five doubles, two triples, three home runs, and 19 RBI. Junior outfielder Abby Stark (Vancouver, Wash./Central Catholic) is currently hitting .302 with eight doubles, two home runs, and 20 RBI, freshman outfielder Abby Page (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) has utilized her speed to hit at a .300 clip with 15 hits in 50 at-bats, and junior Valerie White (Torrance, Calif./North) is hitting .294 with seven doubles, one home run, and 11 RBI.
Three Hoosiers have seen work in the circle this spring. Junior Heather Stillians (Atascadero, Calif./Atascadero) has notched a 7-12 record to go along with a 2.72 earned run average. She has allowed 124 hits in 113 1/3 innings pitched, while striking out 72 and walking only 27.
Sophomore Katie Witham (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral), after struggling in early April, is pitching very well of late. She allowed only two runs and four hits in five innings pitched to earn her fifth victory of the year during IUs 4-2 victory over Kentucky on Wednesday. She allowed eight hits and only two earned runs in six innings pitched in IUs 2-1 loss to Northwestern on April 12.
Freshman Megan Roark (Pleasant Hill, Calif./College Park) has notched a 3-1 record in 2003. She has an earned run average of 3.45 and has struck out 43 batters in 44 2/3 innings pitched.
Scouting Ball State: Under the direction of seventh-year head coach Terri Laux, Ball State has recorded a 9-19-1 overall record in 2003, including a 5-9-1 mark in Mid-American Conference play. The Cardinals are hitting .256 as a team, while recording a staff earned run average of 3.80.
Indiana and Ball State have played a number of common opponents this spring. Ball State has played Indiana State (L 4-1; IU defeated ISU 6-4 and 15-9), Northwestern (L 5-1, IU lost to Northwestern 6-3 and 2-1), Hofstra (L, 8-3; IU lost to Hofstra 11-2), Canisius (W, 6-0; IU defeated the Golden Griffins 5-2), South Florida (L, 8-0; IU lost to the Bulls 6-2), and Eastern Michigan (W 9-0, 9-2, and 5-3; IU split with EMU, L 3-2 and W 5-4).
Ball State is paced by senior shortstop/catcher Katie Shea. The Royal Oak, Mich., product is hitting .419 with eight doubles, one triple, and 13 RBI. She was the 2002 MAC Player-of-the-Year and a first-team Academic All-America selection last spring.
Shea is joined by junior outfielder Kris Burdine, who is hitting .358 with seven doubles, three triples, and one home run, to go along with a team-leading six stolen bases, while senior Ruth Hjelmeland is hitting .317 with four doubles and five home runs. Hjelmeland was a first-team all-conference selection in 2001.
In the circle, Ball State is led by freshman Quincy Duran. The Westminster, Colo., product leads the team in appearances (18) and earned run average (3.36). She has allowed 106 hits in 83 1/3 innings pitched.
Scouting Iowa: Entering Friday and Saturdays action vs. Purdue, Iowa has compiled a 28-10 overall record, including a 7-2 Big Ten mark, and trails Michigan (7-1) by 1/2 game in the conference standings. The Hawkeyes are hitting .293 as a team and have recorded a 1.14 team earned run average. Sophomore Lisa Birocci has a 16-6 record with a 1.14 earned run average (60 hits and 172 Ks in 141 innings pitched), while freshman Ali Arnold (12-4) has allowed only 84 hits in 118 2/3 innings pitched.
Offensively, Iowa has seven starters who hit at least .289, led by senior shortstop Kristin Johnson who will enter Sunday's game with a batting average over .370 after Friday and Saturday games at Purdue. The Hawkeyes have hit 30 home runs in 38 games, while four different Hawkeyes Johnson, Christi Schmaltz, Stacy May, and Lindsey Bashor have hit five each.
In 2003, Iowa has defeated then-19th-ranked Texas A&M, 3-0, and defending national champion California, 4-3. Hoosiers Show Improvement in Nearly Every Area: Indiana has displayed improvement in almost every statistical category in 2003. In 38 games, Indiana has recorded 139 runs, which exceed last years total of 138, which was tallied in 45 contests. Other statistical improvements are as follows...
Wins: 15 (2003)...13 (2002)
Runs: 139 (2003)...138 (2002)
Batting Avg.: .257 (03)....247 (02)
Doubles: 54 (03)...53 (02)
Fielding %: .938 (03)...929 (02)
Stolen Bases: 43 (03)...29 (02)
ERA: 3.00 (03)... 3.50 (02)
Strikeouts By: 161 (03) ...106 (02)
(Pitch) K:W ratio: 2.5 (03)...1.15
Double Plays Turned: 9 (03)...4
Holding Leads: One of the strengths of the 2003 squad has been its ability to hold leads late in games. Indiana is 10-2 this spring when it has lead after five innings, although one of the two losses came this past Wednesday in a 9-5 setback vs. Kentucky. Indiana held a 5-4 advantage after five innings but gave up four runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Competitive Games: In a total of 45 games in 2002, Indiana was outscored 230-138, which is an average of 5.1-2.5 runs per game. In 38 games this spring, the Hoosiers have been outscored 159-139, which is an average of 4.2-3.7. Indiana has played 15 games this spring that have been decided by two or fewer runs, recording a 5-10 mark in those games.
Welcome Back IU Softball Alumni: Todays doubleheader against Ball State is IU Softball Alumni Day. Head coach Sara Hayes and her entire staff welcome former coaches and players to todays game and would like to thank you for your continued support of the Indiana softball program. Sara welcomes your support of Indiana Softball and looks forward to building strong relationships with former IU players and coaches throughout her tenure in Bloomington. Double Play Combo: Double plays, which tend to be a rarity in collegiate softball, have become almost commonplace for the IU infield. After only turning four double plays in 2002, Indiana has notched nine double plays this spring. One of the primary reasons for the number of double plays has been the play of sophomore second baseman Ashley Griffiths. The Dove Canyon, Calif., product has been a part of six double plays in 2003. She has also recorded a fielding percentage of .973, with only four errors in 150 chances.
You Can Run Once But Youll Think Twice the Second Time: Teams that have done a poor job scouting Indiana this season have made the mistake of attempting to test the throwing arm of senior centerfielder Katie Joy. They havent often made the same mistake twice. Joy, who most certainly has one of the strongest outfield arms in the entire Big Ten Conference, has nine assists in 2003, a number of which have been on outs at home plate.
Streaks and Other Marks: Stormy Hansons nine home runs in 2003 is a career-high and ties her for fifth on IUs single-season HR list...if Hanson is able to maintain her current .400 batting average, she would become the first Hoosier since Monica Armendarez hit .437 in 1997 to hit .400 in a season... Indiana has effectively executed a sacrifice bunt in eight of its last nine games...Indiana and Ball State have met 58 times previously in softball. Indiana leads the all-time series, 34-24, after splitting a doubleheader in Muncie last spring...Iowa has won nine consecutive games against the Hoosiers and holds a 45-30 all-time lead in the series. Indiana last beat Iowa in 1998.