Feb. 20, 2004
TEMPE, AZ –
The University of Iowa softball team split a pair of games at the Louisville Slugger Classic, held on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. Iowa fell to Wisconsin, 6-3, in its season opener, then toppled Illinois State, 7-3, in their second game.
In game one, the Hawkeyes out-hit the Badgers 12-6, but were unable to get the big hit when it counted. Wisconsin, however, made their hits count in a big way by getting a two-run home run from Anastasia Miller and a solo shot from Natalie Phillips.
Iowa was also plagued with spotty fielding in their first action on dirt, committing four errors.
The Badgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, before Iowa responded with a run in the bottom of the second. Each team scored a run in the third, and the Hawkeyes cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth. Wisconsin answered back in the top of the seventh, getting a pair of insurance runs on Miller’s homer to salt the game away.
Junior Lisa Birocci took the loss for Iowa, after giving up three runs (two unearned) on only one hit in three innings. She walked four. Senior Sarah Thomson came in to pitch in the top of the fourth and finished the game. At the plate, Thomson was 4-of-4. Senior Larua Chipman and sophomore Natalie Johnson were each 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The Hawkeyes stranded 12 runners, eight in scoring position. Iowa left the bases loaded three times. The loss to Wisconsin was just Iowa’s second in 19 meetings with the Badgers.
Iowa rebounded in game two by pounding out 11 hits and taking down the Redbirds 7-3. The Hawkeyes put a pair of runs on the board in the second on a solo home run by pitcher Ali Arnold and an RBI single from Emily Gerlick. Iowa then took a three-run lead in the third when Stacy May scored on an error by the catcher. May was 3-of-4 in the game with two RBIs.
Illinois State scored runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but a home run by Chipman in the bottom of the fourth and a three-run sixth for the Hawkeyes held off the charge and gave Iowa their first win of the season.
Arnold went the distance in picking up the win, allowing only five hits and striking out nine.
Iowa will play a pair of games tomorrow, battling Utah State at Noon, then host Arizona State at 3 p.m. All times are central.