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Spartans Prepare for Iowa Series

Senior Ali Grant

April 20, 2012

Games 42-44: Michigan State (11-30, 0-12) vs. Iowa (17-22, 7-5)
 Dates Saturday, April 21 - Sunday, April 22
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Secchia Stadium (2,500)
 Tickets $5 | $3 (youth/seniors)
 Statistics Michigan State | Iowa
 Notes Michigan State | Iowa
 Social Media @MSU_Softball | Facebook
Game 1
 Date | Time Saturday, April 21 | 1:00 p.m.
 Media Coverage Live video stream available for purchase at
 Live Stats Gametracker
Game 2
 Date | Time Saturday, April 21 | 3:00 p.m.
 Media Coverage (Internet) Free live audio broadcast available at
 Live Stats Gametracker
Game 3
 Date | Time Sunday, April 22 | 12:00 p.m.
 Media Coverage Big Ten Network
 Live Stats Gametracker

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team returns to Secchia Stadium this weekend when it hosts Iowa in a three-game series. The Spartans will take on the Hawkeyes in a double-header on Saturday (April 21), which starts at 1 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on The action continues at 12 p.m. on Sunday (April 22) and will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.

Series History...
Saturday's matchup will be the 101st meeting between MSU and Iowa, with the Spartans trailing the all-time record 70-30. Michigan State was swept by the Hawkeyes in the season series last year, falling 5-3 and 9-8.

Last Time Out...
MSU and intrastate rival Michigan faced off in a home-and-home series last weekend. Michigan State hosted a single game last Saturday (April 14) and was defeated 8-0 in five innings. The Spartans then traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich. for a double-header on Sunday (April 15) and hung tight to the Wolverines, but came away empty handed (2-0, 5-0).

Sophomore Sarah Bowling was in the designated hitter position for MSU last weekend. Bowling went 2-2 in the second matchup of the series, posting a single and a double. Freshman McKinzie Freimuth also contributed to the offense, going 2-3 at the plate in the first game of the twinbill.

The entire Spartan pitching staff saw action against Michigan. Freshman Carly Nielsen was the starter twice, pitching for a total of 9.2 innings and striking out two batters.

Spartan Scouting Report...
Kylene Hopkins leads the offense for MSU with a .409 batting average, .522 slugging percentage and .493 on base percentage. The junior owns a team-high 47 hits, 11 doubles, 18 walks and nine stolen bases. Hopkins is currently in a nine game hitting streak, has posted 12 multiple hit games and has reached base in 15 consecutive outings. Senior Lori Padilla boasts a .341 batting average and has scored a team-high 28 runs off 43 hits.

Atop the Spartan pitching staff in ERA and appearances is Carly Nielsen, who owns a 5.73 ERA in 32 appearances. The freshman has struck out 46 batters in 97.2 innings of work. Sophomore Cassee Layne has struck out the most batters with 62 Ks and an ERA of 7.43 in 98.0 innings.

Michigan State is currently 11-30 on the season and 0-12 in the Big Ten.

Scouting the Hawkeyes...
Iowa enters the weekend with a 17-22 overall record and are 7-5 in conference play. Megan Blank tops the Hawkeye offense with a .414 batting average and .658 slugging percentage. Her team-best 46 hits, 22 walks, 13 doubles and four triples has helped her to a team-high .518 on base percentage.

In the circle, Kayla Massey owns a 2.65 ERA and 81 Ks in 121.1 innings of work. Chelsea Lyon has notched a 2.70 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 134.2 innings pitched.

Big Ten Rankings...
Michigan State currently ranks in the top half of the conference in nine categories, including leading the Big Ten in saves with four. The Spartans are also tied for fourth in steal attempts (52), fifth in stolen bases (39) and tied for fifth in triples (5), fielding double plays (12) and runners picked off (1). MSU ranks sixth in sacrifice bunts (27), at bats (1044) and is tied for sixth in sacrifice flies (6).

Individually, there are various Spartans sitting atop the Big Ten. Freshman Carly Nielsen leads the league in saves (3), games in relief (18) and games finished (11). Senior Rebecca Rogers and junior Shelby Wise also see themselves in those categories. Rogers is tied for second in games in relief (13) and games finished (11) while Wise is second for games in relief (15) and tied for sixth in games finished (9). With three sacrifice flies and two triples, senior Ali Grant is tied for third and sixth, respectively, in the Big Ten. Junior Kylene Hopkins sits in fourth place for batting average (.409) and is tied for fifth in sacrifice bunts with seven.

Next up...
The Spartans will travel to Notre Dame, Ind. to face the Fighting Irish in a mid-week tilt on Tuesday (April 24) at 6 p.m. ET. Next weekend, MSU will stay on the road when they head to Nebraska. The three-game series begins on Saturday (April 28) at 2 p.m. ET and continues at 4 p.m. The action will conclude on Sunday (April 29) at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.



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