Huskers' DeBuhr Shuts Down Hawkeyes

Ashley DeBuhr tosses three-hitter to beat Iowa 4-0.

Lincoln --- Sophomore Ashley DeBuhr tossed a three-hitter and struck out a career-high 17 as the Nebraska softball team opened the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 victory over Iowa Friday at Bowlin Stadium. With the win, the Huskers advanced to Saturday's contest at 1 p.m. against the winner of tonight's Creighton-Washington matchup.

DeBuhr, who improved to 24-19 on the year, recorded her most strikeouts in a regulation game this year and passed her previous career high of 16 set in 9.0 innings against Creighton earlier this season. DeBuhr became the second Husker in program history to record 300 strikeouts in a season, as she struck out the side four times, including twice shutting down six straight by strikeout. She now has 315 strikeouts this season.

After giving up a single to lead off the bottom of the first, DeBuhr set down 17 straight before Stacy May singled to right with two outs in the sixth. May also led off the game with a single and finished 2-of-3 at the plate. Summer Downs then added another single for the Hawkeyes' only other hit and bring the tying run to the plate, but DeBuhr picked up her 15th strikeout of the game as she got Kylie Murray swinning. 

The Husker offense gave DeBuhr all she would need with a run in the top of the second.

With one out, Trisha Tannahill walked before Jamie Waldecker singled to right field off Hawkeye pitcher Lisa Birocci to put runners on first and second. Both runners moved up on a groundout and Tannahill came home for the game's first run when Carmen Kier singled to center. Nebraska looked to add another run with Waldecker at third, but Birocci struck out Cassie Kleinsmith looking to get out of the frame.

The Huskers looked set to add another run with two outs in the second before Birocci got back on track. Lizzy Rock reached on an error and motored around to third when the ball went down the right field line. Shena Lawrick then took her second intentional walk of the year before Birocci got Tannahill out looking.

With one out in the fifth, Anne Steffan beat out a throw at first and Jessica Yoachim reached on a single. Rock then looked to drop down a sacrifice to move the runners, but reached to load the bases when the throw pulled second baseman Summer Downs off the bag. Birocci then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Steffan to score to give the Huskers a 2-0 lead.

With runners at the corners and two outs, Tannahill launched a pitch over the right fielder's head for Nebraska's sixth hit of the game and a 4-0 lead. Ali Arnold then came into the circle and held the Huskers to one hit over the final 2.1 innings.


Nebraska Game Notes
**-- Sophomore pitcher Ashley DeBuhr picked up 17 strikeouts on the day and now owns 315 for the season. It is the second-highest mark in Nebraska single-season history and an NU sophomore record. She joins Peaches James as the only Huskers with at least 300 strikeouts in a season, as the All-American James had a school-record 394 in 2004.

**-- DeBuhr got off to a strong start to the game. After Stacy May singled to lead off the game, DeBuhr struck out three in the an inning four times. She finished with a career-high 17 strikeouts, the 14th time this season she had double-figure strikeouts.

**-- Carmen Kier picked up her third RBI of the season in the first inning when she singled up the middle to drive in Trisha Tannahill from third base. Kier had not driven in a run since March 30 when she went 0-for-0 with an RBI. Her other RBI this season came against Texas Southern when she was 1-for-1 with two runs and an RBI. 

**-- Since returning from an injury on May 11 at the Big 12 Tournament, Kier has gone 5-for-13 with two runs and one RBI.

Iowa Game Notes
**-- Iowa was shut out for the second time this season and was held to two or fewer runs for just the 13th time. Iowa is now 6-7 this season when scoring two or fewer runs. The last time the Hawkeyes were shut out was April 3 against then-No. 23 Northwestern, 2-0.

**-- Iowa fell to 7-10 against Nebraska all-time and fell to 25-8 this season when Lisa Birocci starts in the circle.

BOX SCORE

Quotes

Nebraska Head Coach Rhonda Revelle

On Nebraska 's performance

"On offense, you saw us put some pressure on their defense even before we scored.  Then we were able to put some back-to-back hits together in a couple different innings and that was great for our team.  It was a great game and it was a nice way to start this tournament.  When you play Iowa , it's always a dog fight and we won this one."

 

On Lisa Boricci and Iowa 's pitching

"We really felt her go-to pitch was her screwball, so the lefties were hugging the plate and the righties were off the plate a little bit.  We figured that at some point in time we'd get an outside pitch and if we did get one we didn't think it would have much movement on it as her screwball and we just tried to deliver the barrel head to the point of contact.

 

"When Arnold came in, she had some stuff really moving and that threw us off because we hadn't really worked for her."

 

On Ashley DeBohr's performance

"Ashley's thrown a lot of great games.  I just thought that tonight she had three things she was looking for: plan, purpose and passion.  She did all of those things and I don't think she missed a pitch.  Those three hits she gave up, you really have to give credit to Iowa for."

 

On the possibility of playing Creighton

"During postseason every team is a great team and it's not about the opponent but about how you can play your game.  I understand that Creighton is an instate rivalry, but postseason is a whole different ballgame."

 

Pitcher Ashley DeBuhr

On her comfort level on the mound

"I felt really good.  I felt good from the warm-ups and took it into the warm-ups."

 

Outfielder Lizzy Rock

On getting a pair of clutch hits

"Any time you can do well it feels great.  We had a lot of passion and togetherness this afternoon.  There were a lot of great hits and mine just fell and I had my team backing me all the way.  You just got up there and you keep swinging and sometimes it just happens."

 

On the confidence Nebraska gained from the win

"It is what you need.  We needed to come out with a big punch and we did and now we can hopefully ride that wave through the rest of the tournament."


Iowa Head Coach Gayle Blevins

On Ashley DeBuhr

"Obviously she pitched a great game.  I'm really disappointed in our ability to make adjustments.  You can't expect to have 17 strikeouts in a game and win."

 

On the loss

"The big difference was our lack of offense because it allowed them to get into an attacking mode.  You can't give your opponent that opportunity."

 

Stacy May

On Ashley DeBuhr

"It all comes down to the fact that she hit our spots.  Anyone who watches softball can look at this game and tell you that it doesn't matter how hard or fast you throw, it's whether or not you hit your spots.  I'd like to think that we're better than what we hit today, but you can't take credit away from her either."


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