Three Big Ten Softball Squads Advance

May 19, 2006

Michigan 4, Youngstown State 0
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The rains held off just long enough to see junior pitcher Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich./Dexter) pitch the University of Michigan softball team's first-ever NCAA Tournament no-hitter as the Wolverines rolled to a 4-0 win over Youngstown State, Friday (May 19) at Alumni Field.

Following a walk to the second batter of the game, Ritter buckled down and did not allow another baserunner while striking out the next seven batters she faced in order. Ritter went on to strike out 15 Penguin batters on the day.

Sophomore Alessandra Giampaolo (Pasadena, Calif./Polytechnic) fueled the Wolverines offense, going 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and three runs driven in. Michigan also got a boost from senior catcher Becky Marx (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore), who drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and drew a walk which eventually turned into a run.

The Wolverines opened the scoring in the bottom of the second on Giampaolo's solo shot. The sophomore ripped an 0-1 offering over the right-centerfield fence for her first homer of the season to give the Maize and Blue a 1-0 lead. Full Story

Iowa 0, Nebraska 1
IOWA CITY, IA - Nebraska's Jamie Waldecker delivered a clutch two-out single down the left field line in the bottom of the tenth inning that scored Katie Linke to give the Cornhuskers a 1-0 victory at Pearl Field in the first round of the NCAA Regionals. No. 14 Nebraska improves to 43-10 on the season and advances to play California Saturday at 2 p.m. (CDT). Iowa falls to 39-21 and will play Illinois State in an elimination game at 4:30 p.m. (CDT) Saturday.

Linke collected her third walk of the game to leadoff the bottom of the tenth. Meghan Mullin followed with a bunt single to put Nebraska's first two hitters on base. Iowa got the next two batters out and nearly escaped the Cornhusker threat, but Waldecker ripped a 2-1 pitch off Iowa pitcher Brittany Weil to record the game-winning RBI. Waldecker and Weil were high school teammates at Pacifica High School in California for three years.

The game was a pitcher's dual, as both hurlers yielded only one hit each through the first five innings. Nebraska had only three base runners through five innings and Iowa one. Nebraska's Ashley DeBuhr struck out five batters and scattered three Hawkeye hits, while Weil sat down seven and yielded five hits. DeBuhr threw 139 pitches, 106 strikes, while Weil tossed 151 pitches, 83 strikes. Full Story

Penn State 4, Hofstra 4 [Suspended]
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - After fighting rain and lightening delays all day and mounting a comeback in dramatic fashion, Penn State's softball team had tied Hofstra, 4-4, in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Jen Acunto (Hollywood, Fla.) home run when the game was suspended due to lightening in the area. The Hofstra game, the opener for Penn State's NCAA regional weekend in Hempstead, N.Y., was originally scheduled for noon, but did not get started until 2:30 p.m. Another rain and lightening delay in the top of the third inning sent players and spectators alike for cover. After a wild few innings, the game was suspended due to lightening as well as the absence of lights at the Hofstra Softball Complex. The game will resume Saturday at 9 a.m. with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning and two Penn State runners on base.

After two scoreless innings, Hofstra lead-off hitter Laura Sweeney lifted a single to left field to begin the third inning and second baseman Lisa Wambold moved the runner over with a sacrifice bunt. All runners were safe on the next play, a throwing error that put Pride runners on first and third base with no outs. A fielder's choice got Sweeney home to score the game's first run with runners on first and second and only one out. After a strike to Carolann Lubach, lightening struck in the distance behind the stadium and the rain followed, delaying the game for over two hours. Full Story

Ohio State 3, Arizona 6
TUCSON, Ariz. - Ohio State junior Lauren Daykin's fifth inning two-run home run of Arizona All-American Alicia Hollowell brought the Buckeyes to within one at 4-3, but the No. 1-ranked Wildcats added runs in the sixth and seventh to knock off the OSU softball team, 6-3, Friday in the NCAA Arizona Regional. Ohio State (39-22) will return to Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson at 9:30 p.m. (EDT) Friday in an elimination game to face the winner of the Auburn-Marist game.

The winner of the game tonight will face No. 1 seed Arizona (46-9) Saturday in the regional championship game at 6 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2.

When these two teams met February 25 in Palm Springs, Calif., Hollowell (25-4) struck out 18 Buckeyes and allowed two hits in Arizona's 5-1 win. Friday, however, OSU had four hits and scored three runs in the fifth inning in its bid for what would have been the first-ever win for the Buckeyes over the nation's top-ranked team. Full Story

Northwestern 4, Southern Illinois 0
EVANSTON, Ill. - No. 4 seed Northwestern began its 2006 NCAA Tournament Friday afternoon at Sharon J. Drysdale Field with a dominating, 4-0 shutout over Southern Illinois. The win propels the Wildcats into the winner's bracket of the four-team, double-elimination Regional where they will face the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, May 20. Notre Dame defeated UC Santa Barbara, 5-2, in Friday's first game. The Salukis and the Gauchos face off in an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Northwestern's win Friday upped its record to 43-12 on the season, matching the program's 1987 team for the best win total in school history. The shutout is NU's 21st of the season, tying the 1982 and 1983 teams for the fourth-best total in program history. The Wildcats now are 4-0 in their opening NCAA Tournament game in the last four years.

Northwestern starter Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif./Paradise) began the game in dominating fashion, striking out the first four and 7-of-9 batters in Southern Illinois' first trip through the lineup. Canney already had racked up eight K's through three innings. She finished with 13 strikeouts against just a pair of walks to move to 22-6 on the season and move her into a tie for seventh on NU's single-season wins list. Full Story

Indiana 3, Utah 0
AUSTIN - The Indiana softball team looked well-seasoned in NCAA Tournament play, dominating Utah, 3-0, in the opening game of the Austin Regional in Austin on May 9. IU, making their first appearance in the postseason since 1996, has now won 10 of their last 13 games, and recorded its fourth shut out in the span against the Utes.

"I am not surprised with how we started the NCAA Tournament," head coach Stacey Phillips said. "We have talked a lot about being aggressive and capitalizing on our scoring chances. We came out today and played IU softball."

Indiana notched the game's first run in the bottom of the second innings as junior center fielder Kim Richards crossed the plate on a standing double to left center by freshman second baseman Sarah Padove. Richards reached on a leadoff single up the middle. Full Story