April 17, 2005
University Park, PA – The University of Iowa softball team swept a doubleheader against Penn State on Sunday to improve their record to 37-9 overall and 8-4 in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes, who have won seven straight, defeated the Nittany Lions 3-1 in game one and 5-1 in game two.
Penn State tied the game in their half of the second off an error by Iowa catcher Sami Baugh. Birocci recorded three strikeouts to help Iowa escape the inning.
The Hawkeyes scored the go-ahead run in the top of the second inning. Baugh singled and was replaced on the base path by Natalie Johnson, who stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Birocci followed with her fifth home run of the season to give Iowa a 3-1 advantage and the Hawkeyes retired three straight Nittany Lion batters in the bottom of the seventh for the win.
Birocci earned the win, throwing a complete game and allowing one run on six hits while striking out six. Birocci also led the Hawkeye offense, going 2-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Mindy Heidgerken also went 2-3 at the plate.
Iowa, who was the home team in game two, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Stacy May led off the game with a walk and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. Kylie Murray also reached on a fielder’s choice and was replaced by Ali Arnold on the base path. Nichols grounded into the third straight fielder’s choice and May was put out at third. Birocci then singled up the middle, knocking in Arnold for the first run of the contest.
The Hawkeyes scored three runs in the third inning to gain a 4-0 lead. May led off with a single and reached second on a fielder’s choice. Murray followed with an RBI single down the right field line. Nichols then blasted a two-run home run, giving her 15 on the season.
Iowa scored an insurance run in the sixth. Brandi Sargent singled and Mindy Heidgerken hit her third triple of the season, scoring Sargent and the Hawkeyes entered the seventh with a comfortable 5-0 lead.
Penn State managed to spoil the shutout when Leigh Murray hit a solo home run with one out, but Arnold struck out the next two batters to insure the win.
Seven Hawkeyes collected a hit against Penn State in game two. Nichols led the way, going 1-3 with two RBI.
Ali Arnold threw a complete game and allowed one on four hits and struck out 11. Arnold is now in sixth place on Iowa’s all-time career strikeout list with 411 K’s.
The Hawkeyes return home on Tuesday to face the Iowa State Cyclones. With a win, Iowa can clinch the first ever HyVee Cy-Hawk Series. Game time is set 4 p.m.