Hawkeye softball hits the road for Northwestern


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The Iowa softball team has played 28 of its 37 games away from Pearl Field this season. The extensive travel might annoy some players, with the buses and hotel rooms. The only thing to help the dreadfulness of travel would likely be to win games. That’s exactly what the Hawkeyes have done thus far on the road, accumulating a 20-8 record outside Iowa City.

This weekend’s agenda for the Hawkeyes: a three-game series against Northwestern. The first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. today in Evanston, Ill. Although most teams prefer to play at home, in front of their own fans and on their own field, this particular Iowa squad doesn’t seem bothered by the constant travel.

“I don’t dislike playing at home, I just know we play better on the road,” Iowa head coach Marla Looper said. “And because of that, I am anxious to get back on the road.”

That better road record isn’t a lie. The Hawkeyes are a mediocre 2-7 in home games this season, thanks in large part to the stiff competition they have had visit them. Their last six games at home have been against No. 18 Nebraska and previously No. 23 Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes have scored 11 runs in their last six home games.

“They are really good teams. We have also played good teams in the past, and I think we have won against six ranked teams,” pitcher Chelsea Lyon said. “We just need to go into every game with the mentality that we are the best in the Big Ten.”

Iowa will get another shot to prove its Big Ten worth this weekend while at Northwestern.  The Wildcats come into the series with a 20-14 record, including a 5-3 mark in conference. The highlight of the Wildcats’ season came in February, when they upset No. 4 Tennessee, 3-2.

It will be the best of both worlds this weekend. Iowa plays well on the road, and the Wildcats have success at home, sporting a 6-2 record in Evanston. Iowa will need shortstop Megan Blank and her hot bat to continue her productivity. Blank leads the Big Ten in RBIs with 46.

Iowa might need more production out of the middle of the order, including No. 4 hitter Kayla Massey, and No. 5 Michelle Zoeller, if it wants to win this weekend. Zoeller admitted that it might be mental when it comes to her squad’s poor performance when playing unranked teams.

“Sometimes, when we play teams in the top 25, we go in with a different mentality, “ she said. “We have underestimated our competition a little bit, which we can’t do anymore.”

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