Birocci Dominates As Iowa Shuts Out Lions to Advance

Final Stats

Ann Arbor, Mich.-- After rain and lightning postponed the start of the game for a half an hour, second team All-Big Ten pitcher Lisa Birocci dominated in the circle and at the plate for the Iowa Hawkeyes. 

In the first inning, Birocci retired the side in order for the Hawkeyes, as did Penn State pitcher Missy Beseres.  After Leigh Murray grounded out in the top of the second, lightning forced a 40-minute delay before play resumed. 

With two down in the bottom of the second, Birocci waited back on a full count change-up from Beseres and launched it into the pine trees behind the left-centerfield wall.  The homerun was Birocci's seventh of the year and gave the Hawkeyes a 1-0 lead. 

The pitchers exchanged strikeouts for the first part of the game.  Birocci finished the contest with 12 and Beseres with seven. 

With one out in the bottom of the fifth, freshman Stephanie Ackerson hit a low pop up directly behind the pitcher's circle.  The middle infielders and pitcher all converged, but none were able to get to the ball before it fell. 

Brandi Sargent pinch ran for Ackerson and after Beseres recorded another strike out, Stacy May earned a walk as did Summer Downs.  The consecutive free passes prompted Penn State coach Robin Petrini to lift Beseres in favor of freshman Jenn Reynolds.    

The first batter Reynolds faced was second-team All-Conference rightfielder Kylie Murray.  Reynolds got Murray to ground back to the circle to end the inning and the threat, with the score still 1-0. 

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Birocci hit a hard liner into left.  The ball ricocheted past left fielder Jen Williams to give Birocci a double.  Birocci recorded two of the team's three hits on the day, and only allowed one in the circle. 

Birocci finished with the 12 strikeouts, giving up only a single hit and allowing only two walks.  The win moves Birocci's record to 27-7. 

Beseres and Reynolds combined to give up just three hits on the day, but the effort was not enough to advance past the Hawkeyes.  Penn State will now have to wait until Monday's NCAA Selection Show to discover if their season will continue. 

Third-seeded Iowa will face the No. 2 seed Northwestern at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET.  During the regular season the Wildcats defeated Iowa 11-1 and 2-0 in the Big Ten's opening weekend.

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