March 5, 2006
Carbondale, IL – The University of Iowa softball team defeated Illinois-Chicago, 4-3 Sunday at the Coach B Classic, hosted by Southern Illinois University. Iowa would have advanced to the championship game for a rematch against Southern Illinois, but rain in the area cancelled the game.
Iowa took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Emily Nichols started things with a single to right field, followed by another single by senior Stacy May. Senior Kylie Murray grounded out to second base, advancing runners to second and third. Sophomore Summer Downs collected Iowa’s third single of the inning that scored Nichols from third. Downs advanced to second and May scored off a throwing error on the play to give Iowa the lead.
The Hawkeyes tacked on another run in the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run from Nichols. Iowa took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth off an RBI single from freshman Quinn Morelock that scored freshman Erin Riemersma, who walked to start the inning.
Illinois-Chicago made things interesting in the top of the seventh, plating three runs with two outs in the inning. After the leadoff batter reached by error followed by a walk, starting pitcher Ali Arnold recorded a strikeout and a groundout to bring the Hawkeyes one out away from the win. UIC’s Michelle Miller then smacked a two-RBI triple to right field, followed by an RBI single off the bat of Melissa Marinacci. Iowa Head Coach Gayle Blevins then made a pitching change and brought freshman Brittany Weil in relief. Weil struck out the first batter she faced to record her first collegiate save.
Nichols and Downs led the Hawkeye offense, each collecting two hits and an RBI. Nichols also scored two runs for Iowa.
Arnold improved her record to 3-3, throwing six and two-thirds innings while striking out four. Weil pitched one-third of an inning for the save.
Iowa travels to San Jose, CA next weekend to compete in the National Invitational Softball Tournament. The Hawkeyes face North Dakota State in first round action Friday at 3 p.m.