Feb. 9, 2007
DeLand, FL – The University of Iowa softball team opened the 2007 season with a bang with an 11-0 win over Howard in five innings and an 8-0 win over Marist in five innings. Junior Stephanie Ackerson threw a five-inning no-hitter in her first career start against Howard while Gayle Blevins earned her 1,100th career win and her 800th win at Iowa.
Ackerson, along with a stellar Hawkeye defense, allowed only four Howard baserunners in game one. Ackerson walked two batters, hit one and one reached by an Ackerson error in the first inning. She struck out five of the 15 batters she faced.
Iowa sprinted out of the gates against Howard, plating the first four batters of the game. Sophomore Erin Riemersma started the game with a walk and then stole second and Lindsey Digmann followed with a single through the right side. Junior Emily Nichols ripped a two-RBI double to centerfield for a 2-0 Iowa lead. Junior Summer Downs scored Nichols on an RBI single and sophomore Colleen McGlaughlin brought in sophomore Callie Adreon, who pinch-ran for Downs, for a 4-0 lead.
Freshman Taylor Leichsenring increased the Iowa lead to 5-0 in the second when she scored off a Digmann single. Leichsenring entered the game as a pinch-runner for senior Sami Baugh, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning.
McGlaughlin started the top of the third with a triple and sophomore Rachel West took her place on the bag. Senior Mindy Heidgerken then singled to score West for a 6-0 advantage. Heidgerken stole second and later scored off a single by Ackerson, and Iowa led 7-0 after three.
Heidgerken led off the top of the fifth with a single, stole second and moved to third off an Ackerson sacrifice bunt. Senior Jenna Spratt then executed a perfect slap hit that rolled down the first base line, which allowed Heidgerken to score. Riemersma recorded a fielder’s choice RBI and Nichols ripped a two-RBI double for the final 11-0 score.
Nichols, McGlaughlin, Heidgerken and Baugh each collected two hits while Nichols finished with four RBI. As a team, Iowa scored 11 runs on 12 hits.
Iowa got another solid outing from its pitching staff againt Marist, this time from freshman Amanda Zust. She allowed just one hit, which was the first batter of the game, and gave up two walks while striking out seven in her first career appearance for the Hawkeyes.
The Hawkeye offense remained hot in game two, scoring seven of its eight runs in the first inning. Iowa plated all seven runs in the inning before Marist recorded an out.
Riemersma and Digmann both walked to start the bottom half of the inning. Nichols took advantage of the two free passes with a line drive home run to centerfield for an early 3-0 lead.
Downs followed the home run with a single and McGlaughlin was hit by a pitch. Heidgerken attempted a bunt and reached first on a throwing error, which allowed pinch-runner Leichsenring to score. McGlaughlin was the next to cross the plate, scoring on a wild pitch for a 5-0 advantage. Ackerson and Heidgerken then executed a double steal to perfection, with Heidgerken stealing home for a 6-0 lead.
Baugh rounded out the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single that brought home Ackerson for a commanding 7-0 lead after one inning. Digmann scored off a fielder’s choice RBI off the bat of McGlaughlin for Iowa’s eighth and final run in the second inning.
Iowa scored its eight runs off only four hits, but took advantage of three walks and two hit batsmen. Digmann, Nichols, Downs and Morelock each had a hit in game two.
Nichols finished the day 3-7 with seven RBI.
“We are really pleased with our first day out,” Blevins said. “I thought both Stephanie and Amanda did a great job for us today. They both pitched well. It was also good to see our offense get on the board early and put some pressure on the opponents. Our defense and pitchers could play more relaxed because we had such good offensive production.”
Iowa will have a rematch against Marist and 9 a.m. and face host-school Stetson at 2 p.m.