April 11, 2008
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The University of Iowa softball team moved to 27-12 overall and 5-2 in Big Ten play with a 4-0 win over Michigan State Friday night at Pearl Field. The game was delayed 30 minutes because of rain and both teams battled wind and a steady drizzle throughout the entire contest.
“We always tell our players that we are a great team in the elements,” Head Coach Gayle Blevins said. “Tonight was no exception. We came out ready to play and took an early lead, which is so important in conference games. Brittany (Weil) pitched outstanding tonight and we had a lot of good at-bats. We need to keep this up for tomorrow.”
Iowa jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in its first at-bat. Sophomore Lindsey Digmann beat out an infield single and then stole second. The attempted pickoff throw to second skipped in the dirt and deflected off the umpire, which allowed a hustling Digmann to slide safely into third. Junior Colleen McGlaughlin drove in Digmann with a sharp single to left for the first run of the contest.
The Hawkeyes doubled their lead in the third with an RBI single by junior Erin Riemersma. McGlaughlin collected her second hit of the game with a double that stayed just fair off the left field wall. Riemersma then lined a single to right-center field, allowing McGlaughlin to score for a 2-0 lead.
Iowa added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 4-0 advantage. Sophomore Katie Brown started things with a single and junior Heidi Daumen entered as a pinch-runner. Daumen was sacrificed to second by senior Summer Downs and moved to third on an Emily Nichols single. Michigan State elected to make a pitching change and brought in Kelly Confer for starter Lesley Noel. Freshman Jenny Schuelke greeted the new pitcher with a hard ground ball that deflected off Confer’s glove, allowing Daumen to score. On the following pitch, Iowa executed a double-steal to perfection to score the fourth run of the game. Schuelke took off for second and Nichols beat the throw home from second base.
McGlaughlin, Nichols and Brown each finished with two hits to pace Iowa at the plate.
Junior Brittany Weil tied a season-high with 11 strikeouts in her 16th complete game and seventh shutout of the season. Weil fanned at least one batter in every inning and started game by striking out the side.
“The weather really doesn’t matter, we are just here to play softball,” Weil said. “Our offense got us an early lead and we were able to keep adding to it. We need to keep the same game plan for tomorrow.”
Iowa returns to action Saturday in a rematch against Michigan State. First pitch is scheduled for noon. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network on a same-day delay at 4:30 p.m.