The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The Box Score: Numbers don’t lie for Iowa softball

With the Iowa softball team now 42 games into the season, a look at the team’s statistics says quite a lot about its 12-30 record.

Both the offense and the defense have struggled this season and with just a 3-8 mark in the Big Ten, things haven’t gotten a whole lot better. Iowa is scheduled to face a struggling Wisconsin team next weekend on the road, and it might be one of the last series for the Hawkeyes to even slightly right the ship.

Batting average: .269 (Last in the Big Ten, 194th nationally)

With all due respect to shortstop Megan Blank and her excellent slash line of .431/.496/.707, Iowa hasn’t been great at the plate this year. Sammi Gyerman has come on in recent weeks and is now hitting .343 with 16 extra-base hits, but beyond her only one other Hawkeye — infielder Kaitlyn Mullarkey — is hitting over .300.

That’s a problem. During the off-season, assistant coach Adam Arbour was brought in to help fix the teams hitting, and while he has helped improve on last year’s somehow more atrocious .250 team batting average, there is still a ways to go.

Beyond hitting, Iowa’s had trouble getting on base in general; it ranks last in the conference in on-base percentage.

Earned run average: 7.42 (Last in the Big Ten, 276th nationally)

As a Power Five team, ranking 276th out of the 289 teams in any statistical category of NCAA Division-I softball is quite bad, if not downright embarrassing.

Head coach Marla Looper normally utilizes three pitchers. By far, the best is sophomore Shayla Starkenburg, who has started 27 games for the Hawkeyes this year — winning 10 — and appeared in seven others. She’s thrown 161.2 innings this season and collected 133 strike outs along the way.

Starkenburg struggles with control on occasion and has hit 20 batters and walked 114 others. However, she also has had true flashes of brilliance and tossed a no-hitter earlier this season.

Beyond her, Iowa’s two other pitchers — freshman Ashley Yoways and junior transfer Jillian Navarrete — have struggled. Yoways has appeared in 22 games this year, starting 14, and has won just two of those contests. Navarrete has been more of a situational pitcher this season and has appeared in 11 games, starting just one. She has pitched just seven innings the entire year but has given up 36 earned runs in that short amount of time.

Fielding percentage: (7th in the Big Ten, 110th nationally)

Excluding the five errors Looper’s squad committed against Illinois on Sunday, the Hawkeyes fielding has been quite solid this season. While not elite, Iowa’s infield has especially been solid in 2015.

Catcher Holly Hoffman has been superb behind the plate and owns a .986 fielding percentage, which is the highest on the team among players who have appeared in 30 games or more.

Iowa also leads the conference in double plays with 22 with Blank involved in many of those. She is third in the conference with 85 assists and leads the team in the category.

Follow @JordyHansen for news, updates and analysis about the Iowa softball team.

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