May 14, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 6-seed Ohio State softball team (34-22; 8-11 Big Ten) upset No. 3 Iowa (38-22; 14-6 Big Ten), 5-1, in the first round of the 2004 Big Ten Tournament Friday afternoon at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor, Mich. Senior pitcher Kristi DeVries won her eighth-consecutive game as she threw her fourth complete one-hitter of the season and improved to 16-9 overall. DeVries contributed offensively as well for the Buckeyes with a two-run double in the top of the first, which put the first two Ohio State runs on the scoreboard. Iowa’s Lisa Birocci fell to 21-12 for the year.
Ohio State’s DeVries had a no-hitter heading into the bottom of the fifth and the Buckeyes held a 5-0 lead, but with one out, Iowa’ s Emily Gerlick hit a homerun. The only other Iowa base runner was Birocci, who was walked at the bottom of the second inning.
DeVries got things started offensively for the Buckeyes when she hit a double to left field, which scored Karisa Evans and Megan Schwab, and put Ohio State up, 2-0, after the top of the first. Evans had been walked to first base and Schwab, who was 2-for-4 for the day with one run and one RBI, reached on an error by Iowa’s third baseman Abby Ruff. Evans and Schwab reached second and third, respectively, on a wild pitch before DeVries brought both Buckeyes home.
In the top of the second, Chelsea Baker singled and moved to second off a sacrifice bunt by Natalie Hales. A Jennifer Johnson single that went in between the Iowa first baseman and shortstop to right field moved Baker to third. Baker crossed home to put the Buckeyes up, 3-0, when Evans was called out at first base. Ohio State continued to hit well in the top of the third. Schwab, Jamee Juarez and DeVries each tallied hits before Iowa’s Ali Arnold was brought in to relieve Birocci on the mound. Schwab was caught stealing second, Juarez was called out at home unassisted and DeVries was left on base along with Ashley Cutcliff, who had pinch hit for Billie Jo Carder and reached first on a fielder’s choice, when Baker hit a foul fly ball to the Hawkeye catcher to end the top of the third.
The Buckeyes tallied another run at the top of the fourth to take a 4-0 advantage. Johnson, who went 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI, reached first on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second when Evans was walked and made it to third off another error by Iowa’s third baseman Ruff. A single by Schwab to right field scored the fourth Ohio State run when Johnson crossed home plate.
Baker scored her second run of the game in the top of the fifth and sent the Buckeyes up, 5-0, after the top of the fifth inning. Baker was walked to first, reached second when Hales was walked and crossed home when Schwab doubled to left field.
The Hawkeyes got on the board in the bottom if the sixth when Gerlick hit her fifth homerun of the season with a shot over the left-field fence and brought Iowa to within four, 5-1, of the Buckeyes.
Lightening caused a 30-minute delay heading into the bottom of the seventh, but the Buckeyes went three-up, three-down to end the contest.
The Buckeyes will take on No. 2 Illinois, who beat No. 7 Penn State, 1-0, at approximately 5 p.m. Saturday at Alumni Field on the University of Michigan campus. The winner of the Buckeye-Fighting Illini game will advance to the championship game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The championship game will be broadcast by CSTV. For complete, up-to-date information about the tournament, log on to www.bigten.org.