March 9, 2007
Sunnyvale, CA – The University of Iowa softball team dropped its two opening games of the National Invitational Softball Tournament (NIST) Friday. Iowa fell to No. 23 California, 4-1, and UC Riverside, 7-5.
California took a 1-0 lead in the second inning off an RBI single by Carly Winger, but junior Emily Nichols tied the contest in the top of the third with her sixth home run of the season.
The Golden Bears scored two runs in the bottom of the third for a 3-1 lead. California scored on a fielder’s choice and an RBI single by Vernae Sevilla. California scored its final run in the fifth inning.
Nichols finished 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored to lead Iowa at the plate.
Junior Stephanie Ackerson threw just over two innings in her third loss of the season. She allowed only one earned run off of three hits and struck out two. Freshman Amanda Zust threw three and two-thirds innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out seven.
Iowa scored one run in both the first and second innings for a 2-0 lead in game two against UC Riverside. Sophomore Erin Riemersma started the first inning with a walk and stole second. She scored on an RBI single by junior Summer Downs for a 1-0 advantage.
Sophomore Quinn Morelock started the second inning with a solo home run for a 2-0 lead after two innings.
UC Riverside plated three runs in the top of the third to take a 3-2 lead, but Downs responded with Iowa’s second leadoff home run of the contest to tie the game at 3-3. The Highlanders scored another run in the top of the fourth to take a 4-3 lead.
UC Riverside delivered the knock out blow in the top of the sixth with a solo and two-run home run for a 7-3 lead.
The Hawkeyes battled back with a run in both the sixth and seventh innings, but couldn’t tie the contest. Morelock singled in the sixth and freshman Taylor Leichsenring entered as a pinch-runner. After Ackerson drew a walk, the Hawkyes executed a double-steal to put runners in scoring position. Leichsenring scored on a ground ball RBI from senior Sami Baugh.
Nichols started the seventh with a hit to extend her hitting streak to 21 games. Riemersma scored later in the inning off an RBI single by sophomore Colleen McGlaughlin.
Downs, Morelock and freshman Lindsey Digmann each collected two hits while Downs had two RBI.
Freshman Katie Brown took the loss in two innings of relief. She gave up two runs on four hits and struck out two. Ackerson threw two innings of relief with four strikeouts while Zust started the game and had two strikeouts.
Play continues at the NIST Saturday when Iowa faces Cal Poly at 2:30 and Santa Clara at 5 p.m. Times listed are central.