Feb. 16, 2007
Tempe, AZ – The University of Iowa softball team split a pair of games Friday in the opening day of the Littlewood Classic, hosted by Arizona State University. Iowa defeated UC Riverside, 9-1, but fell to North Carolina, 10-5.
Game one against UC Riverside remained scoreless until the fourth inning, when Iowa took a 2-0 lead. Junior Summer Downs started the inning with a single and sophomore Callie Adreon took her place at first. Junior Emily Nichols reached on an error by the UC Riverside second baseman, putting runners on first and second. After senior Jenna Spratt laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position, junior Stephanie Ackerson roped a ball to deep centerfield that hit the top of the wall, just inches of clearing the fence for a two-run double.
Iowa added three runs in the fourth frame for a 5-0 lead. Sophomore Rachel West led off the inning with a single and stole second base. Senior Sami Baugh sacrificed West to third followed by a fielder’s choice off the bat of sophomore Erin Riemersma. Downs then walked to load the bases for Nichols, who ripped a single to left field that scored West. Sophomore Quinn Morelock followed with a two-RBI double down the left field line to score Riemersma and freshman Taylor Leichsenring, who entered as a pinch-runner.
UC Riverside scored its only run of the contest in the bottom of the sixth off a solo home run by Tiana Towns. The Hawkeyes responded with a four-run seventh inning to seal the win.
Riemersma was hit by a pitch to start the inning followed by a Leichsenring walk. Nichols tallied her second RBI of the game when she doubled to score Riemersma. Sophomore Colleen McGlaughlin then hit a sharp ground ball to the shortstop that allowed Leichsenring to score. After Morelock reached on an error, Ackerson hit a towering fly ball to centerfield that hit the same spot on the wall as her first shot and both Nichols and Morelock scored.
Nichols and Ackerson each collected multiple hits and multiple RBI in game one. Nichols finished 3-4 with two RBI and two runs scored while Ackerson went 2-4 with four RBI.
Freshman Amanda Zust picked up her third win in the circle. Zust threw all seven innings and allowed one run on seven hits while striking out seven and walking four.
In game two, North Carolina took an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first off a three-run home run by Jennifer Jacobs. The Tar Heels increased their lead to 4-0 on a squeeze bunt by Cassie Palmer in the second inning, and threatened to score later in the frame with runners on first and second and only one out. North Carolina’s Breanna Brown hit a single to centerfield, but senior Mindy Heidgerken fielded the ball and threw a rocket to home plate where Baugh tagged out Palmer. Brown tried to take third on the play, but Baugh then fired the ball to Nichols who made the tag in a rundown to end the inning.
Iowa trimmed North Carolina’s lead by a run in the top of the fourth inning. Downs reached first to start the inning on a North Carolina error and West entered the game as a pinch-runner. She then stole second and advanced to third when the throw from North Carolina’s catcher skipped into right field. West scored on a single by Ackerson to make the score 4-1.
The Hawkeye bats woke up in the fifth inning, ripping three doubles and two singles to take a 5-4 lead. Freshman Katie Brown started the rally with a double to centerfield and Leichsenring took her place at second. Later in the inning, Baugh roped and RBI double to score Leichsenring for a 4-2 score. Riemersma followed with another double, this time scoring Baugh to trim the Tar Heel lead to one run. Nichols tied the game with an RBI single that scored Riemersma, and sophomore Colleen McGlaughlin put the Hawkeyes ahead with an RBI single to score Nichols for the 5-4 advantage.
North Carolina took advantage of two Hawkeye errors and collected six hits for a six-run sixth inning to regain a 10-5 lead. Five of North Carolina’s six runs in the sixth inning were unearned.
Five Hawkeyes collected one hit and one RBI a piece, led by Baugh, who finished 2-3 with an RBI.
Ackerson suffered her first loss of the season, throwing five and one-third innings. She allowed four earned runs and strusk out one. Brown threw two-thirds innings of relief.
Iowa returns to action Saturday at the Littlewood Classic. The Hawkeyes face Illinois State at 2:30 and second-ranked Arizona State at 4:30 p.m. Game times listed are central.