Full slate ahead for Hawkeye softball

The Hawkeyes take advantage of the warm South once again to get out on the dirt.

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Full slate ahead for Hawkeye softball

Iowa pitcher Allison Doocy throws a pitch during the first game of a double header against Nebraska at Bob Pearl on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (File Photo/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa pitcher Allison Doocy throws a pitch during the first game of a double header against Nebraska at Bob Pearl on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (File Photo/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa pitcher Allison Doocy throws a pitch during the first game of a double header against Nebraska at Bob Pearl on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (File Photo/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa pitcher Allison Doocy throws a pitch during the first game of a double header against Nebraska at Bob Pearl on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (File Photo/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, [email protected]

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Iowa softball is back in the South to begin another full slate of weekend games at the Texas A&M Invitational.

Competition starts today at 10 a.m., when 1-3 Iowa will take on 2-2 Tulsa.

The Golden Hurricanes received votes in the USA Today/NFCA and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll but missed the rankings.

Iowa will face Butler twice during the weekend, following the Tulsa game at 12:15 p.m. today and opening the day at 10 a.m. on Feb. 17.

The Bulldogs are 1-5 following opening weekend at the Friends of Jaclyn Invitational in Orlando, Florida.

Leading the team in the box is Alyssa Garcia, who is hitting .500 with 4 hits. In the circle, Gabbi Schnaiter has a 1.12 ERA in 12 innings, along with 4 strikeouts.

The Hawkeyes’ biggest competition, however, will be in the following game, against No. 6/8 Texas A&M at 12:15 p.m. on Feb. 17.

The Aggies are undefeated on the season after sweeping their opening weekend against Houston, Boston College, and Texas Tech. They had 28 runs on 27 hits in their first four games.

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In 11 innings, sophomore Allison Doocy has a 2.55 ERA and a 1-1 record. For Texas A&M, Elaine Heflin has pitched to a 3.92 ERA in 14.1 innings.

A challenge for the Hawkeye offense is going to be getting ahead of good pitching and staying on the offensive instead of being defensive in the box.

“On the hitting side, just attacking the ball,” Doocy said. “We’re going to see good pitchers, but it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before.”

The Aggies’ top hitter is senior infielder Tori Viadles, who owns a .500 batting average after 14 plate appearances.

For Doocy — if she gets the ball against the ranked team — her focus is on her confidence and holding her own against big-name hitters.

“For me personally, there are going to be some big hitters just like there were last weekend,” she said. “So [my goal is] getting ahead of them so I can try to take control of the batters rather than them taking control of us.”

Iowa finishes off the weekend with another match up against Tulsa on Feb. 18 at 9 a.m.

The big focus for the Hawkeyes this weekend is to raise the defense and to take advantage of the opportunities the game hands them when it slows down.

Smart base-running can take the place of speed in some instances, such as when a pitch is thrown in the dirt and the runner that to steal a base. The focus is to quicken up the game in a smart way, not to hurry. That becomes key on the bases when facing a team with a speed advantage.

“See a ball down, react to it quickly, because the game itself is a lot faster than what we do in practice every day,” coach Marla Looper said. “When you face a team that 90 percent of their team runs faster than 10 percent of our team, they challenge you differently.”

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