April 15, 2007
IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa softball team (30-17, 6-4) swept a pair of games against Michigan State (20-21, 0-6). The Hawkeyes won game one, 6-2 and game two, 7-2.
In game one, Iowa took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Erin Riemersma drew a lead-off walk and then stole second. She advanced to third on an Emily Nichols singled and scored on a ground ball fielder’s choice.
Junior Summer Downs increased Iowa’s lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI double to the left field fence. Junior Stephanie Ackerson started the inning with a sharp single to left field and sophomore Callie Adreon entered as a pinch-runner. Riemersma followed with a sacrifice bunt and Michigan State decided to intentionally walk junior Emily Nichols to put runners on first and second. Downs then roped a double to score Adreon.
Michigan State tied game one at 2-2 in the top of the sixth with a two-run home run by Nikki Nicosia. Nicole Mercado hit a bloop single just over the outstretched glove of Downs at third and Nicosia took the next pitch over the center field fence.
The Hawkeyes plated four runs in their half of the sixth to take a 6-2 lead. Senior Sami Baugh took a one-out walk and sophomore Rachel West re-entered the game at first. West then stole second and sophomore Quinn Morelock tagged an RBI double to right field to score West for a 3-2 lead. Senior Mindy Heidgerken took Morelock’s place at second and an infield single by Ackerson loaded the bases. Freshman Taylor Leichsenring tallied her third RBI of the season with a fielder’s choice ground ball to score Heidgerken and Nichols followed with a two-RBI single to right field that plated Riemersma and Ackerson.
Sophomore pitcher Brittany Weil improved her record to 12-4 with the win. Weil allowed two runs on four hits and struck out four. She gave up a single to the first batter of the game and retired 15 of the next 16 batters before giving up a single in the sixth inning. She hit one batter but did not give up a walk.
Riemersma finished a perfect 3-3 and Ackerson finished a perfect 2-2 at the plate. Nichols also collected two hits.
Iowa, who was the visiting team in game two, got off to a hot start with a lead-off home run by Riemersma to start the contest. Riemersma lined a 1-1 pitch from Michigan State starting pitcher Megan Hair over the left field fence to take the early lead. Riemersma was the only batter Hair faced, as Michigan State elected to bring in game one starter Lesley Noel in relief.
Michigan State took advantage of an Iowa error to take a 2-1 lead. Nikki Nicosia reached first on a catcher’s interference call followed by back-to-back singles by Jessica LeFevre and Kara Weigle to load the bases. Traci Nicosia then hit a sacrifice fly to score her sister Nikki Nicosia to tie the game, and Nichols tried to throw out Traci Nicosia at second. Her throw skipped into the outfield which allowed Weigle to cross home plate for the lead.
Sophomore Colleen McGlaughlin evened the score with an RBI double that plated Adreon, who pinch-ran for Downs after an infield single.
Iowa plated two runs off three Michigan State errors in the sixth to go ahead 4-2. Downs reached on an error by Michigan State first baseman Jessica LeFevre. McGlaughlin and Morelock followed with singles to load the bases and Baugh hit a pinch-hit ground ball through the legs of LeFevre at first that scored Downs and freshman Lindsey Digmann, who pinch ran for McGlaughlin.
Downs gave Iowa a commanding 7-2 lead in the top of the seventh with a towering three-run home run to straight away center field. Downs’ fourth long ball of the season scored Riemersma, who singled, and Nichols, who was intentionally walked.
Riemersma, Downs, McGlaughlin, Morelock and West each tallied two hits in game two.
Weil threw just over three innings of relief in her 13th win of the season. She allowed one run on one hit and struck out three. Freshman Amanda Zust started the game and threw just over three innings. She did not give up an earned run and struck out two.
Iowa returns to action Wednesday against Upper Iowa at Pearl Field. Game time is set for 4 p.m.
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