May 2, 2010
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IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa softball team dropped a tough, nine-inning game vs. No. 19 Ohio State Sunday, 6-5 at Pearl Field. Iowa tied the game with a run in the seventh, but couldn’t escape with the win.
“I thought we played very hard today,” Head Coach Gayle Blevins said. “We executed our game plan, scored in the first two innings and played pretty solid in the field. We just couldn’t come away with a win. It’s a tough loss, but we will rebound this week in practice and get ready to play Illinois Wednesday.”
Iowa used both power and speed in the bottom of the first to take an early 2-0 lead. Senior Taylor Leichsenring recorded a one-out infield single and scored when junior Chelsey Carmody roped a triple off the fence in centerfield. Up next was junior Jenny Schuelke, who plated Carmody on a perfect squeeze bunt down the third base line for the 2-0 advantage.
Ohio State cut Iowa’s lead in half in the top of the second inning at 2-1. The Buckeyes had runners on first and second with two outs when Ohio State left fielder Dee Dee Hillman hit a sharp ground ball up the middle. Hawkeye pitcher Amanda Zust attempted to field the grounder, but the ball glanced off her glove and rolled to the outfield, allowing the Buckeye runner from second to score.
Iowa added two more runs in the bottom of the second for a 4-1 lead. Freshman Johnnie Dowling started the frame with her fourth home run of the season, a solo shot over the left field fence. Senior Katie Brown kept things going with a single and was lifted at first for pinch-runner Ashley Akers. Sophomore Liz Watkins sacrificed Akers to second and a wild pitch allowed the pinch-runner to take third. Akers scored on a grounder to second off the bat of senior Lindsey Digmann.
Ohio State plated three runs in the top of the third to tie the game at four. The Buckeyes recorded a single and a walk, followed by a Hawkeye error to load the bases with no outs. Megan Coletta drew a walk with the sacks packed to plate the first run of the frame and make the score 4-2. Iowa made a pitching change, lifting Zust for freshman Chelsea Lyon after the walk, but two illegal pitches by Lyon with a runner on third allowed the Buckeyes to tie the score.
The Buckeyes took a 5-4 lead in the fifth off an RBI single up the middle by Leah Ledford, but the Hawkeyes forced extra innings in the bottom of the seventh with a run of their own. Digmann singled with one out in the seventh and then stole second base. Leichsenring moved Digmann to third for Carmody, who hit a grounder to short that was mishandled, allowing Digmann to score the tying run.
Ohio State regained the lead at 6-5 in the ninth with an RBI double off the fence in center by Leah Ledford.
Seven Hawkeyes had at least one hit Sunday, including a 3-for-4 performance from Keim. Leichsenring and Carmody also added two hits.
Amanda Zust took the tough loss, throwing 6.2 total innings. She allowed four earned runs on nine hits with three strikeouts. Brown pitched for the first time since March 5, tossing 2.1 total innings. Brown allowed one earned run on just one hit with one strikeout.
Iowa hits the road Wednesday for a doubleheader at 18th-ranked Illinois. Game one of the twin bill is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Champaign.