Iowa hosts Drake for home-opener

BY JACK ROSSI | APRIL 02, 2014 5:00 AM

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

It’s warming up in Iowa City, which means Pearl Field is ready to host softball games again for the first time this season.

Coming off of consecutive weekend series victories over Illinois and Wisconsin, Iowa will finally be home today, and it may be a bit strange for the team.

The Hawkeyes have gotten used to traveling for all of their games, and now that they’re in Iowa City again, the team needs to establish a home-field advantage.

“You like to always have a home-field advantage, but at this point in time, we’re used to being on the road,” head coach Marla Looper said. “We need to learn to play at home. We struggled a bit last year playing here.”

The Hawkeyes finished last season 4-11 at Pearl Field, but this year should be a bit different. After struggling during the early part of the season, Iowa has found a rhythm, going 4-2 since conference play began.

Senior pitcher Kayla Massey has led the way, recording two complete-game victories last weekend, earning her Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for the second time in her career. Massey also helped out the offense by hitting a home run. She will be an important factor heading deeper into the season.

“I think before Big Ten play, we were still trying to figure things out, and once Big Ten play hit, we knew we needed to win to have a chance at the postseason, so we are working hard to get there,” Massey said.

The biggest difference, Looper said, is the players’ preparation.

“They’ve bought into and believe in their preparation. When you can do that, your chances go way up,” Looper said. “There’s no guarantee you have success. They’ve really come together, and they have that one common goal, and you can tell they are fighting for that together, and that’s exciting to see as a coach.”

Drake is not a conference opponent but it isn’t unusual for there to be a few nonconference games sprinkled in with Big Ten opponents. And this isn’t the first time the Hawkeyes have faced off against the Bulldogs. They saw each other at the Getterman Classic in Texas in February. Iowa won the game easily, 9-0 in six innings.

 “We kind of know what to expect, but we’re just going at every team like it’s conference, and no game should be different,” Megan Blank said.

Iowa isn’t the same team it was in February, and neither is Drake. But, nothing is going to be given to the Hawkeyes. They have to earn it.

“They are going to be a different ball club, because they are. They have continued to get better, as we have,” Looper said. “I don’t care that we have nonconference in with conference, we need to act like it’s conference. That’s going to determine if we play in the postseason. Every day is important. It’s about right here and right now.”

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.