Feb. 13, 2010
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The University of Iowa softball team opened the season at the Metrodome Tournament with a two-game split in Minneapolis, MN. Iowa dropped it first game, 2-1, to Arkansas before bouncing back and stealing Game 2 against Western Illinois by an identical 2-1 score.
In Iowa’s season opener, Arkansas tagged starting pitcher Amanda Zust for a run in the opening frame to take an early 1-0 lead. The Razorbacks opened the first inning with a single and a double, but Zust settled down and managed to escape the frame with limited damage.
Iowa battled back and tied the contest by loading the bases in the third inning. Taylor Leichsenring reached on an error before moving to third on back-to-back singles by Chelsey Carmody and Lindsey Digmann. Senior Katie Brown then lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Leichsenring and knot the score, 1-1.
The game remained tied until the sixth inning when sophomore Jessica Robinson gave Arkansas a 2-1 lead by driving a two-out Zust offering over the left-centerfield fence for the eventual game-winning homerun. The loss snapped Iowa’s streak of five consecutive season-opening victories. Carmody paced the Iowa offense with a two-for-two effort at the plate while Zust finished the game allowing two earned runs in six innings. The senior struck out two and walked three.
Iowa rode the effort of two newcomers en route to its 2-1 win in Game 2 against Western Illinois. Freshman Chelsea Lyon made her Hawkeye debut on the mound, retiring the first five hitters and allowing just three runners to reach second base in six-plus innings. Lyon surrendered a couple of singles in the seventh inning before giving way to Zust, who, after allowing a RBI single to left, fanned the final two batters to secure the 2-1 victory and earn her first save since 2008.
The Hawkeyes supported their young freshman hurler with three straight singles in the fourth inning, including a run-scoring hit by junior college transfer Stephanie Ochoa. Ochoa’s two-for-three effort at the plate appeared to be all the Hawkeyes would need to support Lyon, but junior Jenny Schuelke knocked a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth to give Iowa the much needed insurance run. Schuelke’s game-winning knock was her career-high third hit of the ballgame.