Offense Paces Iowa in Upset Over No. 15 Ohio State
March 29, 2009
COLUMBUS, OH - The University of Iowa softball team plated 12 runs on a season-high 16 hits in a 12-4, six-inning route against No. 15 Ohio State Sunday at Buckeye Field. The Hawkeyes picked up their first win over a ranked opponent this season and move to 27-7 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
"It was great to see our offense come out firing," Head Coach Gayle Blevins said. "We scored numerous runs on fantastic hustle plays on the bases. Our pitching and defense got us what we needed and our offense had a great presence today. We put constant pressure on them (Ohio State) for six innings, and that led to good things."
Iowa's 12 runs are tied for the most in a Big Ten game since 1997. Last season, the Hawkeyes scored 12 runs in the regular season finale at Illinois. Iowa plated 19 runs against Penn State during the 1997 season.
Iowa exploded for six runs on six hits in the second inning to take a commanding 6-0 lead. Freshman Liz Watkins started things with a double to center, just inches from clearing the fence for a home run. After senior Callie Adreon took Watkins' place at second, senior Erin Riemersma sacrificed the runner to third base. Junior Lindsey Digmann then dug in and hit a hard slap to the left side of the infield, and the throw home sailed to the backstop, allowing Adreon to score and Digmann to reach second base. Sophomore Chelsey Carmody plated Iowa's second run with an RBI single, and a great bunt by junior Taylor Leichsenring scored Carmody. On the play, Leichsenring hustled to second with no one covering the base, and freshman Missy Mazur, who reached earlier on a fielder's choice, scored on the throw down to second. Senior Colleen McGlaughlin and junior Katie Brown kept things going for Iowa with back-to-back RBI singles for the final two runs of the inning.
Ohio State chipped away at the Hawkeye lead with two runs in the bottom of the second, but four more runs in the top of the third gave the Iowa a 10-2 advantage. Senior Sam Heinzman singled and moved to second on a Carmody single. Leichsenring loaded the bases with a bunt single, and McGlaughlin followed with a high fly ball to shallow right. Ohio State's right-side of the field convened in right field, but allowed the ball to hit the ground, and all three Hawkeye baserunners to score. Brown kept the inning alive with a single, moving McGlaughlin to third base. Watkins drove in her first run of the game with a fielder's choice, scoring McGlaughlin.
The Buckeyes took the eight-run mercy rule out of the equation in the bottom of the fifth when Vanessa Spears hit a two-run home run, her first of the year, to make the count 10-6.
The Hawkeyes tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth for a 12-4 lead. Watkins started things with a single and moved to second on a Riemersma sacrifice bunt. Digmann singled to right and hustled to second on an errant throw from the Buckeye outfield, putting runners on second and third. Mazur drove in both runs with a single down the right field line, giving Iowa an eight-run cushion.
Numerous Hawkeyes had solid offense days at the plate. Carmody, Leichsenring and Watkins all had three hits, while McGlaughlin and Brown added two. McGlaughlin also added to her Big Ten-leading RBI total with four more Sunday.
Junior Amanda Zust improved her record to an impressive 14-1, throwing 4.1 innings in the win. She gave up four earned runs on seven hits with one strikeout and five walks. Senior Brittany Weil threw the final 1.2 innings, giving up only one hit with two strikeouts and one walk.
Up next for Iowa is a doubleheader at Pearl Field against Illinois, starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Both games of the twin bill will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network (HD). Iowa Head wrestling Coach Tom Brands will also throw out the first pitch Wednesday.