April 16, 2006
IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa softball team (28-16, 6-4) split two games with Michigan State (30-14, 8-2) Sunday at Pearl Field. The Hawkeyes came away with a 4-1 victory in game one but were defeated, 8-4 in game two.
Game one of the doubleheader was delayed nearly an hour due to rain and the start of game two was delayed roughly 45 minutes because of rain and lightning in the area. The final innings of the second game were played in heavy rain as well.
Iowa scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning off three RBI singles by senior Kylie Murray, junior Emily Gerlick and sophomore Stephanie Ackerson. Sophomore Summer Downs started the rally with a single into left field and freshman Rachel West replaced her on first. After West stole second, Murray roped a single to right field that scored West for the first run of the inning. Junior Sami Baugh followed with a ground ball that forced Murray out at second, but Baugh reached second on an attempted double play throw that went out of play behind first base. Gerlick recorded her RBI single to right field that scored a hustling Baugh from second base and then swiped the second Hawkeye base of the inning. She was plated by Ackerson’s single for the final run of the frame.
Baugh recorded a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth that scored pinch-runner Ali Arnold from third base for a 4-0 Hawkeye advantage. Arnold was tagged out at the plate but the home plate umpire ruled obstruction on the Michigan State catcher which allowed Arnold to score.
Michigan State was able to score one run in the top of the seventh off an RBI single by Nicole Mercado. The Spartans recorded three singles in the inning, but Iowa was able to record the final out on a fly ball for the win.
Downs led Iowa at the plate with a 2-3 performance. Four other Hawkeyes collected hits in game one.
Freshman Brittany Weil improved her record to 19-9 with her 21st complete game of the season. Weil scattered six hits and stuck out five. Game two was a different story for the Hawkeyes. Iowa took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second off an RBI single by Baugh, but the Spartans scored three runs in the bottom of the frame for a 3-1 lead. Michigan State scored off an RBI single, a fielder’s choice and a Hawkeye throwing error.
The Hawkeyes took a 4-3 lead in the fifth off a two-RBI double by sophomore Emily Nichols. Freshman Colleen McGlaughlin started the inning with a pinch-hit single and junior Jenna Spratt took her place at first. May followed with a single to left field and the runners advanced to second and third off a Mindy Heidgerken sacrifice bunt. Nichols then roped the double to right center field.
Michigan State took the lead for good in the bottom half of the sixth when Dayna Feenstra hit an RBI single to center field which plated the tying run. Heidgerken attempted to throw out the tying run at the plate from center field, but the throw was just late. Iowa catcher Sami Baugh then attempted to throw out a Spartan baserunner at third, but the ball sailed into left field, allowing the go-ahead run to cross the plate.
Iowa looked to make some noise in the top half of the sixth with two outs and the bases loaded. Heidgerken hit a ground ball to the Michigan State shortstop who fired across the diamond. The throw barely beat Heidgerken to the base for the final out of the inning. The Spartans tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the sixth for the final advantage.
May and Nichols each finished 2-3 to lead the Hawkeye offense in game two. Nichols also had two RBI.
Arnold started game two, but was relieved by Weil after one and two-thirds innings. Arnold allowed four hits and three runs, two of which were earned. Weil took the loss in four and one-third innings pitched. She allowed four earned runs on seven hits and struck out four.
Iowa travels to Des Moines to take on Drake Tuesday at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on AM-800 KXIC.