Hawkeyes Win Two Thrillers Against Wisconsin

May 6, 2009

IOWA CITY – Wednesday’s doubleheader between the University of Iowa softball team and Wisconsin had a little bit of everything, with Iowa coming away with two wins, 8-0 in five innings and 5-4 in nine innings. All 679 fans at Pearl Field witnessed a no-hitter from senior Brittany Weil in game one, a walk-off, solo home run in the bottom of the ninth from senior Colleen McGlaughlin in game two, and two impressive milestone wins for Head Coach Gayle Blevins.

With the two victories, Blevins tied former Florida State Head Coach JoAnne Graf for second place on the NCAA all-time victories list. Blevins now has 1,218 career wins in her 30-year coaching career, including 918 at Iowa. Graf retired after a 24-year career at Florida State with 1,218 wins. Blevins can take sole possession of the No. 2 spot for all-time NCAA victories with one more win.

Weil had a record-breaking night Wednesday, and moved even closer to yet another milestone. The Garden Grove, CA, native tossed her fifth hitless game of the season, breaking Iowa’s career record for most hitless games in a career. Weil, who has thrown four no-hitters and one perfect game, all this season, moved ahead of former Hawkeye all-American Debbie Bilbao for most hitless games in a career. She already holds the record for the most hitless games in a season, and added another to that total Wednesday night.

In the first game, Weil struck out three and walked two for her 21st win of the season. She also pitched 4.2 innings relief in game two, giving up just one earned run on two hits with nine strikeouts. She now has 308 strikeouts this season, and is just six K’s away from breaking Lisa Birocci’s single season strikeout mark of 313, set during the 2004 season.

Weil took a perfect game into the fifth inning with the Hawkeyes leading 8-0, but she committed a throwing error with one out in the inning to give Wisconsin its first baserunner. She managed to get the final two outs of the inning to secure the no-hitter.

In game two, McGlaughlin ended a 2 hour and 28 minute game in dramatic fashion, belting a solo home run in the ninth run to give Iowa the win. McGlaughlin had been hitless in her previous 11 at-bats, but broke the slump in style. She now leads the team with 10 home runs this season.

“This was a pretty wild night,” Blevins said. “We scored a lot of runs the first game, but had to claw back into the second game. I’m proud of the way our team fought back, and these are the type of games we need to win. We are treating every game like its postseason right now. We battled all day and night, and we are sure glad to come away with two great wins.”

Iowa (40-14, 11-7 in Big Ten) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning in game one. Senior Erin Riemersma recorded a two-out single to center, and then stole second base. Freshman Katie Keim plated the first run of the game with an RBI single to right field.

The Hawkeyes added five more runs in the bottom of the third to take a 6-0 advantage. Sophomore Chelsey Carmody led off the inning with a triple to the gap in right-center. Junior Lindsey Digmann then singled on a bunt, but the late throw to first was dropped, allowing Carmody to score. After an intentional walk to McGlaughlin put runners on first and second, freshman Liz Watkins hit a towering fly ball to left that cleared the fence for a three-run home run. Later in the inning with two outs and runners on first and second, senior Sam Heinzman extended the inning by reaching on a dropped third strike. Wisconsin paid for the error in the next at-bat, when Carmody ripped a single to left that scored Riemersma.

Iowa scored two runs in the fourth without recording a hit to take an 8-0 lead. McGlaughlin drew a leadoff walk, and was lifted for pinch-runner Rachel West, who stole second. Junior Katie Brown then walked, and both runners moved up a base after a passed ball. Senior Callie Adreon took Brown’s place at second, and an intentional walk to Watkins loaded the bases. West scored the first run of the frame on another passed ball, and Adreon scored later on a fielder’s choice off the bat of sophomore Jenny Schuelke.

Lightning and heavy rains delayed the game 45 minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Hawkeyes were just two outs away from ending the game early because of their eight-run lead, but the inclement weather struck just after Weil lost her perfect game bid with the throwing error and a walk. After the delay, Weil induced a fly ball and a groundout for the win and no-hitter.

Carmody and Keim each had two hits in game one, with Watkins adding three RBI on the home run.

Wisconsin plated three runs in the top of the third in game two, but Iowa chipped away with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Brown doubled to start the inning and hustled to third on a wild pitch. Brown later scored on a ground ball off the bat of Riemersma.

Iowa tied the score in the fifth, using two triples in the inning to knot the count at three. Junior Lindsey Digmann roped a two-out triple down the left field line to get the rally started, followed by a McGlaughlin walk. Freshman Liz Watkins then took a 3-1 pitch to the right field fence, clearing the bases with her first career triple to tie the score.

Wisconsin regained the lead at 4-3 in the top of the sixth when Ashley Hanewich hit her first home run of the season.

The Hawkeyes tied the score again in the sixth. Schuelke drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Keim plated Schuelke with a single up the middle, putting the score at four runs a piece.

Iowa had runners in scoring position with only one out in the seventh, including the bases loaded with two outs, but couldn’t plate the winning run.

Neither team could plate a run in extras until McGlaughlin ended a wild night at Pearl Field with the walk-off home run.

Carmody, Digmann and McGlaughlin each had two hits at the plate, while Watkins added another two RBI in game two.

Weil moved to 24-10 with the win. Sophomore Amanda Zust started the game and threw 4.1 innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts and only one walk.

Iowa’s next game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday against Minnesota at Pearl Field.