May 1, 2010
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IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa softball team nearly pulled the upset Saturday against No. 19 Ohio State, but fell 4-3 at Pearl Field. Iowa held a 2-0 lead through four innings, but the 19th-ranked Buckeyes came away with the win.
“We did some nice things today,” Head Coach Gayle Blevins said. “We stranded quite a few runners in scoring position and need to plate those runs against a team like Ohio State. That needs to be our focus for tomorrow’s game.”
Iowa used aggressive base running in the bottom of the first to take an early 1-0 lead. Senior Lindsey Digmann singled to start the inning and hustled to second on a passed ball. Digmann then moved to third on a sacrifice by senior Taylor Leichsenring and scored on a squeeze bunt off the bat of junior Chelsey Carmody.
The Hawkeyes added another run in the fourth for a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Katie Keim singled and moved to second on another Buckeye passed ball. After an infield single by junior Jenny Schuelke, freshman Ashley Akers took Keim’s place at second. Later in the inning with two outs, freshman Johnnie Dowling roped a grounder up the middle but Ohio State second baseman Whitney Cooper made a diving stop. The toss to Buckeye shortstop Alicia Herron covering second base was high, allowing a hustling Akers to score.
Ohio State grabbed a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning. The Buckeyes loaded the bases with one out and Ohio State catcher Sam Marder drove in two runs with a single to tie the game at two. After the single, Ohio State had runners on second and third and the Hawkeyes made a pitching change, lifting starter Amanda Zust for freshman Chelsea Lyon. Ohio State took the lead at 3-2 when Lyon’s first pitch was deemed illegal, allowing both runners to advance.
Ohio State added another run in the top of the sixth for a 4-2 lead, but Schuelke erased that insurance run with a solo home run over the left field fence for a 4-3 count. The long ball was Schuelke’s fifth of the season.
The Hawkeyes couldn’t plate an additional run in their final at-bat, allowing Ohio State to escape with the win.
Iowa showcased stellar defense throughout the game, turning four double plays to escape innings.
With one out in the first inning, Iowa’s infield turned a picture-perfect 6-4-3 double play to get out the frame.
Ohio State had the bases loaded with only one out in the second, but a ground ball back to senior Amanda Zust in the circle started another double play. Zust fired home to sophomore catcher Liz Watkins for the first out. Watkins then threw towards first base for the double play, but the ball hit the base runner. The umpires ruled that the runner was outside the baseline, completing the double play.
Iowa turned its third double play of the game in the sixth to prevent Ohio State from adding to its 4-2 lead. The Buckeyes had runners on second and third with one out when Whitney Cooper hit a hard line drive that was snagged by senior first baseman Katie Brown. The Hawkeye first baseman caught the Buckeye baserunner at third too far off the base and fired to Keim for the force, ending the threat.
Double play number four was turned in the top of the seventh with no outs. With a runner on first, Herron hit a frozen rope to Keim at third, who made the catch and fired across the diamond to Brown for the double play.
Digmann and Schuelke each had two hits to lead Iowa at the plate.
Lyon took the loss, throwing 2.2 innings. She allowed one run on three hits. Zust started the game and threw 4.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with one strikeout.
Iowa and Ohio State will play game two of the weekend series Sunday at 1 p.m.