April 19, 2006
IOWA CITY – Sophomore Emily Nichols hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning to help the University of Iowa softball team (30-16) defeat Northern Illinois (15-19), 5-4, Wednesday night at Pearl Field. Iowa trailed, 4-3 heading into its last at bat before Nichols belted the game-winning double.
Senior Stacy May started the Hawkeye rally with a one-out double in the seventh. Junior Jenna Spratt replaced May at second and advanced to third off an infield single by junior Mindy Heidgerken. Heidgerken then stole second to put runners on second and third for Nichols, who roped the double to score Spratt and Heidgerken for the win.
Northern Illinois took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first off an RBI single by Michelle Nendza. The Hawkeyes tied the contest in the bottom of the second off a two-out squeeze bunt by senior Ali Arnold. Freshman Colleen McGlaughlin started the inning with a single to left field and freshman Rachel West replaced her on first. West then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on the squeeze bunt.
Iowa took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the third off a solo home run by May. The Reno, NV, native took the first pitch of the inning and belted it over the center field fence for her fifth home run of the season.
The Hawkeyes increased their lead to 3-1 in the fourth off a double steal. Sophomore Summer Downs reached first on a Northern Illinois error to start the inning and junior Emily Gerlick entered the game as a pinch-runner. After senior Kylie Murray sacrificed Gerlick to second, McGlaughlin collected her second hit of the game to advance Gerlick to third. McGlaughlin was then thrown out at second on a steal attempt, but the throw to second allowed Gerlick to score.
Northern Illinois cut the Iowa lead to 3-2 off a solo home run by Elyse Jamrozy in the top of the fifth inning. After Arnold allowed a walk and a single, sophomore Stephanie Ackerson relieved Arnold in the circle. Kelly Drozd then hit a groundball to May, but her throw to second sailed into right field which allowed two runs to cross the plate for a 4-3 Huskie lead.
Arnold returned to the circle in the sixth inning and retired the final six Huskie batters in order, including two strikeouts. Arnold threw six innings and recorded her 10th win of the season. She gave up four runs, only one of which were earned, and struck out seven Huskie batters. Ackerson threw one inning of relief for the Hawkeyes.
May, Nichols and McGlaughlin led Iowa at the plate. May finished 3-4 while Nichols and McGlauglin each collected two hits.
Iowa returns to Big Ten action Friday when they travel to Purdue. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.