May 2019

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21 S he has been a Swiss army knife throughout her soball career, but freshman Abby Lien has finally found her spot for the University of Iowa soball team — behind the plate. Lien has provided the power the Hawkeyes have needed this season, sharing the team lead with five home runs. Lien played wherever she was needed in high school and a broad skillset allowed her to move throughout the infield. "My freshman year, I was a shortstop," Lien said. "en my coach put me at second and aer that he realized I could catch. I moved back to shortstop during my sophomore year and then returned to catcher for my junior year, while finishing my senior year at catcher, third base, and finally shortstop. I've played everywhere." With many holes to fill on a Hawkeye roster that graduated eight seniors a year ago, Lien's versatility made Iowa the perfect destination for the Apple Valley, Minnesota, native. She was looking for a unique college feel. "I had always looked for a school that is close to home. I was a homebody growing up, so I always wanted to be by my parents," Lien said. Lien limited her radius to five hours from her house to allow family to watch her play. Iowa City's atmosphere caught her attention. "Iowa got my attention because it's a big school but it has a small-town feel and I am a country girl," Lien said. "I like that you can get both a big-school and a small-town feel at the same place." Lien has proven to be a staple in Iowa's lineup, having started 43 games so far. Since Big Ten play began, Lien is one of 18 conference players with a single, double, triple, and home run, while batting at least .250. She attributes her strong start to an unfamiliarity within the Big Ten. "My thing is that being a freshman, teams don't know me as well," Lien said. "I am just doing my thing, looking for good pitches early in the count, being selective, and not swinging at bad pitches." While teams are adjusting to Lien's approach at the plate, she is adjusting to life behind it. "In high school, I could get away with tipping my pitches and setting up early, but in college I have to set up later to not let other teams know the pitch," Lien said. Lien and the Hawkeyes conclude their regular season May 3-5 in a three-game series against Ohio State at Bob Pearl Field. MAY SCHEDULE May 3-5 Ohio State

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