April 23, 2004
IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa softball team took a dramatic, 3-2 win in 14 innings over Penn State Friday night at Pearl Field.
With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 14th, the Hawkeyes were able to take advantage of a pair of Penn State errors to break the tie and steal the win. Natalie Johnson led off with a walk, then advanced all the way to third when an attempted throw to first base went wild on Kylie Murray’s bunt attempt. Murray advanced to second on the play.
Stacy May ended things with a sharp grounder off the glove of the second baseman, allowing Johnson to score the winning run.
Lisa Birocci pitched nine and two-thirds innings of relief to pick up the win, striking out 14 Nittany Lion hitters.
The Hawkeyes got on the board first with some textbook execution. Johnson led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Murray, then scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of May.
Penn State then tied things up in the third off a Hawkeye error, then took the lead in the fifth on an RBI fielders choice.
Things looked bleak for Iowa, trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, but freshman Mindy Heidgerken came through with a pinch hit home run over the left field fence, sending the game into extra innings.
Iowa had a chance to end things in the bottom of the 13th when Elisha Huse ripped a single with runners at first and second, but Ali Arnold was thrown out at the plate by centerfielder Leigh Murray.
Iowa (31-17, 9-2) will battle Penn State (19-27, 4-9) in a rematch Saturday at noon.