May. 1, 2005
IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa softball team improved their record to 44-10 overall and 12-5 in conference play with a sweep against the Minnesota Golden Gophers Sunday. The Hawkeyes collected 15 hits and the Iowa pitching staff recorded 14 strikeouts on the day.
In game one, Iowa jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first. Stacy May led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Summer Downs. Emily Nichols ripped a double past the Minnesota shortstop, scoring May for the first run of the contest.
The Hawkeyes struck again in the sixth when Sami Baugh belted her sixth home run of the season to score the final run of the game.
Baugh led the Hawkeyes offensively in game one, going 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored while Downs was 2-2.
Lisa Birocci threw a complete game, two-hit shutout in game one. She struck out five and walked one.
Iowa once again scored in the first inning of game two. May led off the game with a single to left and Downs attempted to sacrifice bunt her to second, but May was called out on runner interference. Later in the inning, Kylie Murray blasted a double to center field, scoring Downs for an early 1-0 lead.
Minnesota responded in their half of the first with one run to tie the contest. Megan Higginbotham doubled and reached third on a wild pitch. With two outs, Val Alston hit a hot shot to third base that was mishandled by Abby Ruff, allowing Higginbotham to score.
After a scoreless second inning, Iowa regained the lead in the third. May singled to center field and advanced to second on an error by the centerfielder. Nichols grounded out to the shortstop, advancing May to third. Murray followed with a single through the left side and Iowa lead, 2-1.
After Minnesota tied the game in the third, Iowa once again responded with a run to retake the lead. Natalie Johnson pinch hit for Ali Arnold and doubled down the left field line. Brandi Sargent laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Johnson to third. Jenna Spratt then slapped a single to third base, scoring Johnson for a 3-2 lead.
Iowa added two insurance runs in the fifth when Sargent hit an RBI single to score Baugh and Birocci scored on a throwing error by the Minnesota catcher. Murray tacked on another run in the seventh with a towering home run over the center field fence.
Murray led the Hawkeye offense, going 3-4 with three RBI and a run scored while May was 2-3 with a run scored.
Arnold picked up the win, giving up two runs on four hits and struck out four. Birocci threw three innings of relief and recorded her seventh save of the year.
Iowa will host intrastate rival Drake at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Pearl Field.