May 4, 2008
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Champaign, IL – SophomoreKatie Brown hit two home runs and collected four RBI to lead Iowa past Illinois, 12-6, Sunday. The Hawkeyes scored a season-high 12 runs off a season-high 17 hits for the victory.
Brown capped an impressive weekend with a 3-3 performance Sunday, including four RBI and three runs scored, all of which are career-high numbers. She finished the two-game series with a .833 (5-6) batting average, three home runs, one double, six RBI and four runs scored. Brown also collected an amazing 2.500 slugging percentage.
“This was an all-out team effort today,” Head Coach Gayle Blevins said. “We kept a lot of steady offensive pressure on Illinois. We had many clutch hits with runners in scoring position. So many people delivered for us today and it was a good way to finish the regular season.”
Iowa manufactured two runs in the top of the third to take a 2-0 lead. Junior Quinn Morelock singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Lindsey Digmann. Morelock scored on an RBI single by freshman Chelsey Carmody for the first run of the game. Carmody was then sacrificed to second by sophomore Taylor Leichsenring and scored on a sharp single to left by senior Summer Downs.
The Hawkeyes tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth. Brown smacked her first home run, a solo shot to deep center field, for a 3-0 score. Later in the frame, senior Emily Nichols tagged a double to the fence in right-center field and scored on an RBI double that hit the chalk down the left field line by Morelock.
Illinois tied the game at four in the bottom of the fourth. The Fighting Illini used a bases loaded, two-RBI double by Hope Howell followed by a Hawkeye error to plate four runs in the frame.
Brown came through once again for the Hawkeyes, blasting her second home run of the game to help Iowa re-gain the lead. Leichsenring singled and McGlaughlin walked later in the inning to put runners on first and third for Brown, who responded with a three-run shot over the right field fence to give Iowa a 7-4 advantage.
Solo home runs by Sarah Bryers and Ashley Conrad in the bottom of the sixth brought the Fighting Illini within one at 7-6.
The Hawkeye offense exploded for five runs on six hits in the top of the seventh to take a commanding 12-6 lead. Downs started with a walk and moved to third on a double by junior Colleen McGlaughlin. Brown drew an intentional walk to load the bases with no outs for junior Erin Riemersma, who cleared the bags with a three-RBI triple for a 10-6 score. Nichols then drove in Riemersma with a single up the middle to make the score 11-6. Morelock followed with a bloop single to right that moved Nichols to third, but on the following play, Nichols was thrown out at home on a double steal but Morelock took second. Digmann sacrificed Morelock to third and Carmody tallied an RBI single for Iowa’s 12th and final run.
Carmody, Nichols and Morelock all had three hits while Riemersma drove in three runs and Carmody plated two.
Junior Brittany Weil tossed 5.2 innings to get the win. She allowed three earned runs on six hits while striking out seven. Sophomore Amanda Zust collected her third save of the season, throwing 1.1 innings of relief and did not give up a hit.
Iowa will be the No. 3 seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament and will have a re-match against No. 6 seed Illinois Friday morning in Evanston, IL. The Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini will square off at 9 a.m.