April 6, 2005
DeKalb, IL – The University of Iowa softball team set two school records en route to an 8-2 victory against Northern Illinois on Wednesday. The Hawkeyes broke the school record for home runs in a season and Lisa Birocci became Iowa’s all-time career strikeout leader.
Birocci recorded seven strikeouts in relief against Northern Illinois to move into the top spot on the career strikeout list. Birocci struck out seven of the 10 batters she faced in three innings of work and now has 818 career strikeouts. She passed former Hawkeye all-American Kristi Hanks, who collected 815 strikeouts from 1999-02.
Freshman Emily Nichols blasted two home runs, increasing the team total to 43 homers on the season. The previous school record was 42 home runs, set by the 2003 squad. Nichols now has 14 home runs on the year. She broke the single season home run record against Ball State earlier in the year.
Northern Illinois wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. After a two-out single by Kelly Drozd, Toni Del Toro hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first to gain an early 2-0 lead. Ali Arnold struck out the final batter to escape the inning.
Jenna Spratt stole home in the top of the second to trim the deficit to one run and then the Hawkeye bats came alive. Nichols hit a two-out single in the top of the third, which was followed by a Sami Baugh double. Kylie Murray hit a two RBI single to left and Iowa gained the lead, 3-2.
The Hawkeyes rounded out the scoring in the top of the sixth. Mindy Heidgerken started the inning with a walk, stole second base and advanced to third on a passed ball. Another passed ball allowed Heidgerken to score and Nichols followed with a solo home run for the final run of the contest.
Seven Hawkeyes collected at least one hit against the Huskies. Nichols and Murray each went 3-4. Nichols collected three RBI and three runs scored while Murray posted a double and two RBI. Spratt, Heidgerken and Natalie Johnson all stole a base.
Arnold picked up the win, improving her record to 11-1. She gave up two runs on five hits and struck out six. Birocci notched her fourth save of the year.
The Hawkeyes return to Iowa City on Friday to host the Purdue Boilermakers. Game time is set for 6 p.m. at Pearl Field.