April 12, 2002
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Wendy Allen (So., Moreno Valley, Calif./Moreno Valley) made sure her first visit to Pearl Field in Iowa City, Iowa, was memorable. As the starting pitcher for the No. 25 Ohio State softball team Friday night, Allen went seven strong innings, striking out six and scattering five hits to lead the Buckeyes to a 2-0 win over No. 20 Iowa and their 15th shutout win of the year. She was not done there, however, as her bat provided two solo home runs, her seventh and eighth on the year, to post the offense for the Buckeyes and send them to a 35-9 record with a 6-3 Big Ten mark. The front-running Hawkeyes suffered their first conference loss of the year and slipped to 25-13 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten.
“I was nervous heading into the game because I knew they were big hitters and clutch hitters as well,” Allen said. “I knew I had to pitch the game I knew I could and I had all my pitches working today. Offensively, I was struggling a little lately but I knew if came out swinging and wait for my pitch, I would get back on track and I did.”
Allen had help behind her on defense. Kristine Himes (Jr., Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) fielded the first hit attempt by Iowa’s Kristin Johnson by diving to her left and came up throwing to get Johnson by a step at first to set the tone. Jennifer Link (Jr., Yorba Linda, Calif./Sonora), JJ Johnson (Fr., La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and Sarah West (Sr., Galloway, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) combined in the second to record a 4-6-3 double play to keep UI at bay. Allen kept the Hawkeyes in check for the remainder of the way coaxing five ground outs, five fly outs and preventing a UI runner from reaching farther than second base.
“Wendy was in a zone,” Linda Kalafatis, OSU head coach, said. “She threw great and kept her focus and composure in the circle and that helped her out a great deal. Her two home runs were blasts so in all, she was on today in all parts of her game and made it fun to watch her perform.”
Allen’s first strike came in the top of third. Link and Anna Smith (Sr., Walnut, Calif./Diamond Bar) opened the inning with close plays at first to record two outs in the inning. Allen then came to the plate and launched a Kristi Hanks offering deep over the right center field wall for the early 1-0 lead. She struck again to lead off the top of the sixth with a shot to right. Hanks put a pitch on the outside of the plate and Allen crushed the pitch over the wall for the final tally of the night.
West also provided a spark for the Buckeyes on offense with two hits of her own while Link added a game-opening infield single to round out the OSU offense. For the game, OSU was caught looking at strike three three times compared to UI’s two. Hanks led the offense for Iowa with two singles.
Nearly 300 fans were on hand to see the Buckeyes pick up their first win in Iowa City since a 3-2 decision in favor of OSU May 14, 1994.
“Iowa is a tough team to beat, especially at its home field,” Kalafatis said. “I though we played with great focus and emotion and were very determined to get the win.
Ohio State returns to action at 1 p.m. EST Saturday to close out the two-game set with the Hawkeyes before heading to Evanston, Ill., Sunday at 1 p.m. EST for a doubleheader with Northwestern.