Iowa Claims Buzz Classic Championship

March 6, 2005

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Marietta, GA – The University of Iowa softball team won three games on Sunday to earn the 2005 Buzz Classic championship. Iowa defeated Virginia Tech 3-1 in the quarterfinals, Auburn 16-1 in the semifinals and Ohio State 5-0 in the championship game. Lisa Birocci was one of 19 players named to the all-tournament team while freshman Emily Nichols was named the tournament’s M.V.P.

In the quarterfinals, Iowa took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Jenna Spratt scored off a fielding error. The Hokies tied the game in the bottom of the fifth but Nichols came through in the sixth, blasting a two-run home run to give the Hawkeyes the advantage.

Ali Arnold threw just over six innings and struck out five. Lisa Birocci faced the final batter of the game and recorded her third save of the season.

Iowa looked to avenge an earlier loss to Auburn in the semifinals and did just that, hitting a school record seven home runs en route to the five inning victory. Nichols once again had the hot stick, setting school records with three home runs and eight RBI. Stacy May hit two home runs while Natalie Johnson and Brandi Sargent each hit one.

Birocci gave up three hits in five innings and struck out two. Steph Ackerson pitched the final inning and struck out two.

In the championship game, the Hawkeyes hit another three balls out of the park during the 5-0 victory. Arnold went 2-3 with a double and a home run while Sargent and Nichols both hit home runs.

Nichols went a combined .455 (10-22) with seven home runs at the Buzz Classic. She recorded a slugging percentage of 1.455 and knocked in 15 runs. Birocci had a 4-1 record with a 0.46 ERA. She struck out 33 batters in 30.1 innings. As a team, the Hawkeyes hit 15 home runs in eight games.

Iowa travels to Sunnyvale, CA next weekend to compete in the National Invitational Softball Tournament. The Hawkeyes will face Connecticut (5:00 p.m.) and UC Davis (9:00 p.m.) on Friday.

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