April 28, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -
The Indiana Hoosiers (24-23, 8-8 Big Ten) showed why the game of softball is a team game, as everyone contributed in some form and helped IU to the 1-0 win in nine innings against the Iowa Hawkeyes (21-24, 10-6 Big Ten) at Pearl Field. Kelsey Brannon had four hits for IU and Meaghan Murphy (11-10) tossed her second shutout of the season.
Murphy was outstanding in the circle, scattering seven hits and a walk as she went the distance in the circle. She struck out four batters in the game and was able to escape a number of scoring opportunities by the Hawkeyes unharmed.
Murphy was aided in that by the IU defense throwing out three runners at the plate in the game, including two in the bottom of the seventh inning from the outfield to keep the game scoreless. Of the 27 outs Murphy recorded in the game, 17 were groundouts and just two were in the air, showing her command of the lower part of the strikezone.
Kelsey Brannon collected four hits in the game, a career-high, with her last one scoring the lone run in the game on a soft line drive to first base that was just out of the reach of the defense. The Bloomington native ties Amanda Wagner for the most hits in a game this season by an IU player.
In the top of the ninth inning, Cassie Gogreve led off with a double - her second hit of the game - and Heather Nelson came on to run for her. A ground out by Murphy moved Nelson to third base so that when Brannon's soft single to the right side fell to the ground, Nelson could scamper home with the go-ahead run.
Murphy allowed a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth inning but again got some help from her defense to strand the tying run in scoring position and close out the win.
The Hawkeyes left three runners on the bases in scoring position in the first two innings and were 1-14 with runners in scoring position for the game. Murphy then got into a groove in the middle innings before Iowa mounted a rally in the seventh inning.
In that seventh inning, the leadoff batter reached on an error and the next batter followed with an infield single. Another single through the right side saw the runner try to score from second but Jenna Abraham threw a one-hop strike to the plate and Cassie Gogreve applied the tag for the first out of the inning. The next batter hit a fly ball to right center field that Samantha Heyman caught for the second out and then fired a strike to the plate where Gogreve again applied the tag on the runner trying to tag and score for the final out of the inning. For Heyman, it's her 17th career outfield assist.
Then in the eighth inning, a walk and a single started the inning and then a groundout moved both runners into scoring position. But when the next Iowa batter swing through a pitch on a squeeze play, the Hoosiers had the runner at third base caught in a rundown and she was thrown out at the plate to end the threat yet again.
The win is the first extra inning win for the Hoosiers since beating Wisconsin in eight innings on April 16, 2011. It is also the first win in Iowa City since 1995, snapping a 15-game losing streak.