Birocci No-Hitter Propels Hawkeyes to Doubleheader Sweep
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Iowa City, Iowa. --Iowa sophomore pitcher Lisa Birocci did not allow a run during 11 innings pitched against Purdue in two games on Friday and Saturday. Today, the Des Moines was even better. In the first game of today's doubleheader, she allowed no hits and only one walk in 6.0 innings pitched. She had more than enough run support as Iowa cruised to a 9-0 victory. Indiana did tally four hits in the nightcap but the Hawkeyes broke open a 2-0 game with three runs in the top of the sixth on their way to a 9-0 win.
Birocci, who has thrown eight one-hitters during her career, was simply dominant in earning the first no-hitter of her career. She struck out the five of the first six hitters she faced and retired the first 14 Indiana hitters to begin the game before allowing a two-out walk to senior centerfielder Katie Joy in the top of the firth. Birocci went on to retire the final four hitters to earn the victory and improve to 18-6 on the year.
In game one, shortstop Kristin Johnson was 4-for-4 with two home runs, three runs scored, and three RBI. After Birocci struck out the side in the first, Johnson hit IU starter Heather Stillians's first delivery over the game into the screen protecting the scoreboard in centerfield to give the Hawkeyes a 1-0 lead. She added a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth.
Stillians (7-13) struggled throughout much of the game. In 5.0 innings pitched she allowed 11 hits and seven earned runs, while walking three. She did not strike out a batter. Freshman Megan Roark allowed three hits and one earned run in 0.1 innings.
Sophomore Katie Witham (6-11) pitched well through five innings in the second game before allowing four runs in the top of the sixth. Sophomore Lindsey Bashor was the offensive star for the Hawkeyes as she hit a solo home run to lead off the second inning, which extended Iowa's lead to 2-0, and added a two-run double in the sixth. Iowa notched three extra-base hits in that stanza.
Iowa freshman Ali Arnold (13-4), while not Birocci dominant was certainly effective, allowing only four hits and no walks, while striking out four, in 7.0 innings pitched. Witham allowed eight hits and six earned runs in 5.1 innings. She did not walk a batter and struck out one. Roark surrendered two earned runs, one hit, and two walks over the final 1 2/3 innings.
For the Hoosiers, junior Valerie White was 2-for-3, while Stillians and junior Abby Stark also added singles.
Iowa secured a 3-0 lead after the first inning. After Birocci struck out the side in the top of the first, Iowa shortstop Kristin Johnson drove the very first delivery from Stillians over the centerfield fence to provide the Hawkeyes with a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Stillians walked senior designated player Jessica Bashor. The next hitter, Jessica's younger sister Lindsey, tripled to right field to score Jessica Bashor and third baseman Stacy May who had reached on a single earlier in the inning.
Indiana looked as if it was beginning to get a handle on Birocci in the top of the fourth as first baseman Valerie White hit a line shot that was deftly handled by Johnson at short. With one out, freshman Abby Page hit a soft liner over May at third base but leftfielder Lindsey Bashor, who was playing shallow, slid to catch the blooper.
The Hawkeyes extended their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out, first baseman Amanda Hentges reached on a bunt single before Kristin Johnson hit her second home run of the game, this one almost in the identical spot as her first-inning blast. Iowa added its sixth run of the game later in the inning on a run-scoring single by May.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, senior Katie Joy ended Birocci's perfect game bid by drawing a walk on a full count.
Iowa extended its lead to 7-0 on a run-scoring triple by Birocci in the bottom of the fifth. In the top half of the sixth, Birocci was helped by two fine defensive plays by Hawkeye outfielders. With no outs, third baseman Kristine Dugan hit a line drive that was flagged down by Iowa centerfielder Katie Boney. With two outs, White hit a line drive to left field that was run down by Lindsey Bashor.
Iowa secured a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the second game. Kristin Johnson led off the first with a single, stole second base, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a single to left by May.
In the bottom of the second, the Hawkeyes increased their lead to 2-0 on a home run just inside the right field foul pole by Lindsey Bashor.
Iowa scored four runs in the sixth and three additional runs in the top of the seventh of the second game to close out the scoring.
Indiana returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Evansville for a doubleheader.