Feb. 23, 2008
Tempe, AZ – The University of Iowa softball team split a pair of games Saturday at the Littlewood Classic. The Hawkeyes defeated Illinois State, 2-0, but dropped a heartbreaking, 1-0 loss to fourth-ranked Arizona State.
In game one, Iowa took a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Illinois State. Freshman Chelsey Carmody started the inning with an infield single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Lindsey Digmann. Carmody took third on a ground ball by junior Colleen McGlaughlin and scored on a wild pitch.
Junior Rachel West made the score 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth. She reached second on a two-out, two-base error by the Illinois State centerfielder and scored on a sharp single up the middle by Carmody.
Illinois State threatened in its last at-bat, but couldn’t push any runs across. Back-to-back singles followed by a Hawkeye error loaded the bases with only one out. Junior Brittany Weil relieved sophomore Amanda Zust in the circle, and calmly struck out the next two batters to end the game.
Zust threw 6.1 innings for her third win of the season. She struck out seven and walked two. Weil threw just under one inning and struck out both batters she faced for her first save of the season.
“We picked up another great win today,” Zust said. “Illinois State is a good team and we need to keep getting wins like that.”
“I thought Amanda threw a good game today,” Head Coach Gayle Blevins said. “She had a presence in the circle. It was good to see Brittany come in and slam the door shut in relief.”
Carmody paced the Hawkeyes at the plate, going 2-3 with one RBI and one scored.
Iowa’s game against the Sun Devils remained scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning when Mindy Cowles hit a first-pitch, walk-off home run.
Weil tossed a gem against Arizona State despite picking up her first loss of the season. She held the top offense in the Pac-10 to only four hits, three of which were singles, and struck out seven batters while walking only one. After giving up a single to the first batter of the game, Weil retired 16 of the next 17 batters, including seven in a row between the first and third innings. She threw 90 pitches, 60 of which went for strikes.
“I thought Brittany threw extremely well against one of the top teams in the country,” Blevins said. “One pitch was the difference in the ball game, but Brittany’s performance was outstanding.”
Arizona State threatened to score in the sixth inning, but Weil worked her way out of a jam to escape. With one out in the inning, Weil issued her only walk of the game to Jessica Mapes and then gave up an infield single to Jackie Vasquez. Next up was Arizona State’s Pac-10 Player of the Year and all-American Kaitlin Cochran, but Weil retired Cochran on a fly ball to center and then got clean-up hitter Krista Donnenwirth to fly out to third to end the threat.
Iowa managed two hits off Arizona State’s all-American pitcher Katie Burkhart, but both runners were called out at first for leaving early. Sophomore Katie Brown sprayed a single through the left side of the infield and was replaced at first by junior Callie Adreon. During the next at-bat, Adreon attempted to steal second and slid in safely, but the umpires ruled she left first early, and was sent back to the dugout.
Junior Rachel West picked up Iowa’s other hit in the contest, but was also called out for leaving first early.
Despite the loss, Blevins was pleased with her team’s performance.
“This shows our team that we can play with anyone in the country,” Blevins said. “Arizona State is one of the top teams in the country and we hung with them. This was a big game for us, in terms of confidence.”
Iowa will wrap up play at the Littlewood Classic Sunday against Radford. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m. Gametracker will be available for Sunday’s contest at hawkeyesports.com.