Feb. 13, 2010
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The University of Iowa softball team split a pair of games against in-state rivals Drake and Iowa State Saturday afternoon. The Hawkeyes rallied to beat Drake, 2-1, in the opening game before falling to Iowa State, 8-2, in the night cap of the Metrodome Tournament.
Trailing Drake 2-1 in their final at-bat, senior Katie Brown stepped to the plate one swing away from erasing what had been a frustrating offensive afternoon. Iowa had left the bases loaded in the fifth inning and stranded runners on second and third in the sixth frame before Brown ignited a Hawkeye rally by leading off the seventh with a game-tying homerun to right-centerfield.
“I was just thinking I needed to find a way to get on base,” said Brown, who had been hitless in eight at-bats this season. “She came inside on me twice so I knew she would go back over the plate to throw a strike. I looked outside and I got a good swing.”
Junior Jenny Schuelke followed Brown’s 16th career long ball with a single to center and advanced to second on Stephanie Ochoa’s sacrifice bunt. Drake then intentionally walked sophomore Liz Watkins, who smacked her first career triple in the second inning, before sophomore Katie Keim laid down a bunt to move the runners to second and third. Johnnie Dowling, who collected her first career hit earlier in the contest, then came through with a drive to centerfield to plate Schuelke for the game-winning run.
“I had runners on base so I just tried to relax and drive the ball somewhere,” said Dowling. “I cleared everything from my head and just tried to keep everything up the middle.”
Iowa left 12 runners on base before Dowling, a freshman from Des Moines, stepped up with two outs and ended Iowa’s two-game losing streak to Drake.
“Johnnie had a great fist at-bat and she sat on a change-up in the final inning and delivered big time,” said Head Coach Gayle Blevins. “It takes all the parts to come back in the final inning and set up a situation like that, but Johnnie was there and she came through.”
Chelsey Lyon picked up her second win in as many decisions in Game 1.The freshman struck out three and walked none in two-plus innings of relief.
The Hawkeyes were unable to replicate their heroics in a Game 2 loss to Iowa State. The Cyclones tagged Lyon for four runs in the first inning and held on for the 8-2 win. Brown smacked her second homer in as many games with a two-run blast in the third inning, freshman Ashley Vanderloo singled in her first collegiate at-bat and Lindsey Digmann added a pair of hits for the Hawkeyes. Iowa had won the previous six meetings against Iowa State and now sits at 2-2 on the young season.
The Hawkeyes wrap up the Metrodome Tournament Sunday morning with an 11 a.m. rematch against Drake.