March 2014

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33 "It was pretty exciting," Repole said. "It's always great to have my family there, have that extra support, come out on my home turf and represent the school I love." Johnson, a native of Wake Village, earned the first start of her Hawkeye career as the team's designated player against UAB in front of her family. She went 1-for-4 in the contest, notching her first career hit. Johnson also picked up her first career RBI against Drake in the weekend finale. "I was a little bit nervous at first," Johnson said. "It was so nice to be playing in front of them when I got my first start though. I was really excited about it." UI head coach Marla Looper knows that playing close to the hometowns of her student-athletes is a positive experience for the players and their families, and also recognizes it is vital for the future of the program. "If we can play in their home state or a state or two away, we try to do that," Looper said. "It's not a guar- antee when we recruit them, but we do play in a lot of areas that we recruit in. So not only are our kids getting to play close to home, but we have recruits come to watch who want to be a part of our pro- gram. "It's always fun to play in front of a home crowd or a semi-home crowd. It gives them a sense of pride and their families a sense of pride." Hawkeyes Return Home By Jil Price F or three on the University of Iowa soball team, this year's schedule looks pretty good. Freshmen Claire Fritsch and Michaela Johnson and sophomore Whitney Repole, have two op- portunities to play in front of family and friends in their home state of Texas. e Hawkeyes have already played in Baylor's Get- terman Classic from Feb. 14-16 in Waco, Texas, this season. ey head back to the state to chal- lenge Texas in a three-game series, March 15-17, and Texas State on March 19. Fritsch, a native of Round Rock, grew up an hour and a half from Waco, attended Baylor camps, and had a brother pitch for the Bears. With her family in the stands, she made a statement in a Hawkeye uniform leading all hitters in the tournament with a .538 (7-for-13) batting average. Of her seven hits, two were doubles and she was named to the all- tournament team. "It was a great experience," Fritsch said. "I've played on Baylor's field since I was a little kid, so it was comforting, and having my family there made it even better." Repole, who hails from San Antonio, hit .286 (4- for-12) in Getterman Classic action. Two of the outfielder's four hits were doubles, giving her a .429 slugging percentage. She also recorded her first outfield assist of the season that weekend.

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