April 28, 2007
IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa softball team (34-20, 9-7) was defeated by eighth-ranked Northwestern (39-10, 13-3), 2-1 Saturday. The Hawkeyes lead, 1-0 before surrendering a two-run home run in the fifth that proved to be the difference.
Iowa, who was the home team, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second with an RBI double by sophomore Erin Riemersma. Senior Mindy Heidgerken laced a one-out single down the right field line and then stole second. Riemersma followed with a high fly ball to right field, but Northwestern right fielder Jessica Miller lost the ball in the sun. Heidgerken hustled from second to home to give Iowa the early advantage.
Northwestern’s Nicole Pauly gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead in the fifth with a two-out home run that just cleared the left field fence. Pauly’s long ball scored Garland Cooper, who hit a sharp single up the middle before Pauly stepped to the plate.
Junior Emily Nichols nearly tied the contest in the bottom of the fifth with a towering fly ball to center field, but a strong wind blowing in from center allowed Katie Logan to make the catch on the warning track.
Iowa had a chance to tie the contest in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t plate the winning run. Riemersma reached on an error and moved to second on a ground ball from Taylor Leichsenring. Nichols stepped to the plate with two outs, but flew out to shortstop to end the game.
The Hawkeye defense kept the game close, aided by two great plays by first baseman Stephanie Ackerson. In the second inning, Ackerson laid out for a foul ball near the Northwestern dugout to help Iowa get out of the inning. Ackerson stabbed at a sure line-drive base hit in the sixth to once again help the Hawkeyes end the frame.
Sophomore pitcher Brittany Weil threw all seven innings in the loss. She allowed two runs on six hits and struck out seven.
Iowa steps out of conference play Sunday when they host Western Illinois. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
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