April 2014

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47 "I don't know that our approach was different, I think it was them executing," Looper said. "We believed in our approach, trusted the work we put in and knew that the outcome could benefit us." Aer averaging 2.5 runs per game in early-season con- tests, the Hawkeyes improved its average to 5.7 runs per game. e team's power numbers assisted in the team's increased run production. Iowa hit three of its seven total home runs at Illinois. Massey hit a two-run home run in game one and sent her second ball over the fence in as many games in the second contest. Repole ripped her first home run of the season — and the second of her career — in the third game. "We've gone to the plate thinking, 'Why not me? is is my shot," Looper said. "at has made things hap- pen. ey've been able to relax and not think too much, instead of trying too hard, and saw some positive out- comes. Success breeds success and confidence breeds confidence, so it gave the next batter confidence once they started seeing that." e Hawkeyes are tied for fourth in the Big Ten standings aer week one with a 2-1 record, and have plenty of time to move up with 17 conference contests remaining in the season. Iowa will host Northwestern, April 4-6, in its first home conference series at Pearl Field in Iowa City. Turning the Corner By JIL PRICE A er posting a 5-13 record in nonconference action, the University of Iowa soball team made a decision to close the door on the past and start with a clean slate heading into the Big Ten Conference season. In the conference-opening series at Illinois, March 22-23, the Hawkeyes did just that, taking the series 2-1 from the Fighting Illini, who entered the weekend with a 14-7 mark. Iowa won the first two contests, 4-3 in eight innings, and 10-7, but was edged out in the final game of the series, 4-3 in eight innings. "Aer Texas State, we decided preseason is over. We're done," UI head coach Marla Looper said. "ey took that to heart and they realized that there is still some- thing at stake. Not all is lost. We get to start fresh and attack for that Big Ten Championship that we've been talking about since I've been here. ey still have that opportunity." On the weekend, the Hawkeye offense made several statistical jumps. Aer posting a .238 batting average, a .340 slugging percentage and a .312 on-base percent- age in nonconference action, Iowa turned it around, recording a .284 batting average, .455 slugging percent- age, and .333 on-base percentage in the three-game stretch. Four starters hit at a clip of .400 or higher including Megan Blank (.500), Holly Hoffman (.500), Kayla Massey (.400) and Whitney Repole (.400).

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