April 15, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – 20th-ranked Iowa’s two home runs propelled the Hawkeyes to a 4-1 win over the Ohio State softball team Friday evening at Buckeye Field in Ohio State’s 2005 Big Ten home opener. The Buckeyes (19-12, 3-4 Big Ten) scored their run with two outs in the seventh inning, but Iowa (34-9, 5-4 Big Ten) ended OSU’s rally one batter later.
Ohio State was playing its first home Big Ten game in nearly a year. Dating back to the middle of April of last season, the Buckeyes had played their last 17 Big Ten games, including the 2004 Big Ten tournament, all on the road. OSU’s last home Big Ten game prior to Friday night was Apr. 18, 2004 against Northwestern. The Buckeyes fall to 3-1 at home this season and will face Iowa again Saturday at noon.
Buckeye sophomore pitcher Jamee Juarez (La Puente, Calif./Wilson) worked the first five innings before being relieved by junior Chelsea Baker (Gahanna, Ohio/DeSales), who tossed the final two frames. Juarez suffered the loss to see her record move to 15-9.
Northwestern’s two home runs upped its school-record total to 44 on the season. The most damaging blast came in the third inning when Hawkeye leadoff hitter Stacy May sent a Juarez offering over the wall in left field to break a scoreless game and give Iowa a 2-0 lead. The Hawkeyes added another run later in the third and Mindy Heidgerken knocked a solo home run in the seventh inning.
Ohio State freshman Brittany Vanderink (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood) and sophomore Nycole Koyano (Walnut, Calif./Walnut) both went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Buckeyes, while senior Karisa Evans (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin) added a single to round out OSU’s five-hit attack.
A Vanderink single in the seventh started Ohio State’s run-scoring inning. Vanderink was thrown out at second base on a grounder hit by junior Stacy Hibma (Buena Park, Calif./Valley Christian), but pinch-runner Stephanie Hill (fr., Centerville, Ohio/Centerville), running for Hibma, scored one batter later all the way from first base when the Iowa shortstop threw wild past second base on a grounder hit by senior Meghan Rowlands (Hilliard, Ohio/Bishop Ready).
Iowa senior pitcher Lisa Birocci, Iowa’s all-time strikeout leader with 842 strikeouts, went all seven innings for the Hawkeyes to notch her 21st complete game of the season and up her record to 20-7.
Earlier this season, Ohio State and Iowa met in the championship game of the Buzz Classic hosted by Georgia Tech March 6 in Marietta, Ga., with the Hawkeyes prevailing, 5-0. It was the third game of the day for both teams, but Iowa’s Birocci went all seven innings, striking out three and scattering four hits, and saw her teammates hit three home runs, all solo shots.
### GO BUCKS! ###