March 1, 2008
Columbus, GA – Sophomore Lindsey Digmann recorded a game-winning, RBI infield single in the bottom of the ninth inning to help Iowa defeat 16th-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette, 2-1 Saturday night at the NFCA Leadoff Classic.
The international tiebreaker rule was used in extra innings, which places a runner on second base to start the additional frames. Freshman Chelsey Carmody started on second base and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Rachel West. After a strikeout gave the Ragin’ Cajuns two outs in the inning, Digmann slapped a hard grounder to shortstop and beat out the throw to first, allowing Carmody to cross home for the winning run.
“We knew we could win this game,” Digmann said. “This gives us a lot of confidence after battling for so long. I was just trying to get the ball on the ground and run as fast as I could. Our team did a great job on defense getting us into a position to win.”
“What an outstanding game tonight,” Head Coach Gayle Blevins said. “Our defense hung in tough and made some excellent plays at key times during the game. We stayed composed and came through when we needed to. We had excellent execution in that last inning and used the short game to our advantage. Our pitchers threw great and we got a great at-bat from Emily (Nichols) and Lindsey (Digmann) was clutch, both offensively and defensively. This was a solid win and a great team performance.”
Louisiana-Lafayette jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third off a fielder’s choice RBI by Holly Tankersly. The Ragin’ Cajuns had a golden opportunity to tack on more runs in the fourth, but sophomore Amanda Zust and the Hawkeye defense kept Louisiana-Lafayette off the scoreboard. After back-to-back singles, Zust relieved junior BrittanyWeil in the circle. Zust recorded a strikeout before giving up a walk to load the bases with just one out. She then got another strikeout followed by a nicely fielded ground ball from sophomore Katie Brown, who threw it home for the force out to escape the inning.
Junior Emily Nichols tied the game in style with a solo home run to start Iowa’s half of the sixth inning. Nichols took a 1-1 pitch and blasted it well over the left field fence, which gives her 34 career round-trippers.
Louisiana-Lafayette threatened to take the lead in the top of the seventh, but a great double play by the Hawkeye infield kept the score tied heading into the bottom of the frame. With runners on first and second and only one out, Tankersly hit a sharp ground ball to junior Colleen McGlaughlin at third, who stepped on the base and fired over to an outstretched Brown at first to get out to the jam.
Another great Hawkeye defensive play saved a run in the eighth. Tankersly was placed on second and moved to third on a ground ball. Vanessa Soto then hit a sharp grounder to junior Erin Riemersma at shortstop, who fired home and Nichols blocked the plate, applied the tag and saved a run.
Carmody nearly ended the game in the bottom of the eighth with two runners on and two outs, but a diving, over-the-shoulder catch by Louisiana-Lafayette center fielder Karli Hubbard got the Ragin’ Cajuns out of the inning.
Zust was in command during the ninth inning, keeping the score knotted at 1-1. After a ground out moved the placed runner to third, Zust struck out the next two batters to give Iowa another chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Zust finished with six strikeouts over six innings and Weil threw three innings with four strikeouts.
“We just tried to get ahead of batters and allow the defense to keep making great play after great play,” Zust said. “Knowing we have a defense like that gives me a lot more confidence.”
Iowa opened the day with a tough, 4-3, eight inning loss to No. 19 DePaul.
DePaul took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second off a bases loaded, two-RBI single by Shea Warren and a sacrifice fly by Sean Plese.
Iowa cut the Blue Demon lead to 3-2 in the top of the fourth inning. McGlaughlin started the inning with a single and then stole second. Next up was Digmann, who slapped an infield single to first base, moving McGlaughlin to third. Digmann caught the Blue Demon infield off guard after the single, hustling into scoring position after the base was left open. Senior Summer Downs made the mistake costly, roping a two-RBI double that nearly cleared the left field fence for Iowa’s first two runs of the contest.
The Hawkeyes had a chance to make some noise in the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and only one out, but couldn’t score a run. Riemersma hit a one-out double followed by another infield single by Digmann, who then stole second. Brown then walked to load the bases, but two-straight fly balls to left field ended the Iowa rally.
McGlaughlin came through in the clutch in Iowa’s half of the seventh with a full-count, two-out RBI double to tie the game at 3-3. Carmody started the rally with a one-out double and moved to third on a bunt attempt by West. McGlaughlin then extended the game with her second hit of the game.
The game went to extra innings and the international tiebreaker was used. Iowa couldn’t plate a runner in its half of the eighth, but DePaul used an RBI single with one out in the bottom of the eighth to win the game.
McGlaughlin and Digmann each had two hits to lead Iowa at the plate.
Weil took the loss in just over seven innings of work. She allowed four runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Iowa concludes action at the NFCA Leadoff Classic Sunday at 9 a.m. against Florida State.