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

Season’s end looms for softball

The Daily Iowan
Iowa catcher Holly Hoffman hits the ball during the Iowa-Wisconsin game at Bob Pearl Field on Saturday, April 16, 2016. Hoffman had 2 RBI’s today for 3 at bats. The Hawkeyes defeated the Badgers 5-2. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

With just nine Big Ten games left, the Iowa softball team is rapidly approaching season’s end.

The Hawkeyes will play Penn State at home Friday through April 24 before heading to Illinois on April 29. A nonconference game at Iowa State and then another series at Pearl Field against Minnesota will round out the Hawkeyes’ season.

Only the top-12 teams in the conference advance to the Big Ten Tournament, and Iowa has a bit of work to do to achieve that.


Record: 12-30 overall / 2-12 Big Ten

Before its two losses to Missouri on Tuesday, Iowa sat at No. 175 in the NCAA rankings.

In the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes are at the bottom of the totem pole there, too. Rutgers is the only team with as few conference wins as the Hawks but claims the spot above Iowa because the Scarlet Knights have two fewer losses.

If Iowa were to win out the rest of the season, the team could finish with 22 wins, maybe a few more if it were to make the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.

The Hawkeyes have finished a season with fewer than 26 wins only three times since 1986 — with two of those coming in the last two seasons. This season marks the third in the row with 30 or more losses — the first time that has happened in program history.

Iowa does have a chance to make the conference tournament. If the Hawks could win half of its upcoming games, it could edge Rutgers and Maryland for the No. 12 spot, because the latter two will play each other, and both have three-games series with Michigan at the end of the season.


Average Big Ten standing in batting categories: 11.15

Although Iowa has boasted a new hitting coach, Jake Schumann, Iowa still struggles in the box and on the bases. The Hawkeyes are dead last in Big Ten in batting average, on-base percentage, hits, strikeouts, sacrifice bunts, sacrifice flies, stolen bases, and steal attempts.

Since starting Big Ten play, Iowa’s stolen bases have slowed down dramatically. The team has 48 total stolen bases, only 18 in the conference.

Iowa has had an especially difficult time hitting when there are runners on base. Not only that, but getting runners into scoring position has also been an issue. The team has 17 sacrifice bunts this season — only 5 in the Big Ten — and 5 sacrifice flies.

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In the Hawkeyes’ weekend series against Wisconsin, numerous sacrifice bunts were attempted but only 2 were converted, both in a game that Iowa won.

Yet another reason for Iowa’s difficulties bringing runners home is its number of strikeouts. Through 42 games, Hawkeye batters have struck out 227 times, an average of more than 5 a game.

Batting average: .253

With the exception of 2014, Iowa has not hit this poorly in more than a decade. The Hawks have hit at least 10 points higher in almost every other season.

Part of the team’s low batting average may be due to the absence of Megan Blank from the lineup. The 2015 graduate and four-time All-Big Ten team member hit .390, .437, .361, and .442 during her career.

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