Feb. 27, 2010
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COLUMBUS, GA – The University of Iowa softball team split a pair of games Saturday at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. After dropping the day’s opening contest, 3-2, to Arkansas, freshman Chelsea Lyon pitched a complete game gem to defeat NC State, 3-1, and end Iowa’s four-game skid.
Lyon and a group of Hawkeye newcomers paced Iowa’s effort in Game Two’s victory. Lyon surrendered a first-inning single before retiring 17 straight batters en route to her first career complete game. A native of Broken Arrow, OK, Lyon struck out three batters and allowed just three hits.
The Hawkeyes’ offense gave Lyon all the support she would need with a three-run fourth inning. Taylor Leichsenring started the rally with an infield single and Katie Brown coaxed a walk to move Leichsenring up a base. Following a sacrifice bunt by Steph Ochoa, pinch hitter Chelsey Carmody drew an intentional pass to load the bases. NC State then recorded the second out of the inning via the infield fly rule, setting up junior college transfer Sara Spiering’s game-winning heroics. The Iowa newcomer smacked a pinch-hit bases loaded single into right-centerfield to plate a pair of pinch runners and give Iowa 2-0 advantage. The Hawkeyes extended their lead to 3-0 one batter later when freshman Sam Valentine stole home.
The Wolfpack touched Lyon for a run in the seventh inning and threatened with runners on first and second before senior Lindsey Digmann picked up a chopper at third base, stepped on the bag and fired across the diamond for a game ending double play.
“It feels great to get back in the win column after our performance yesterday,” said Lyon, “Everyone had a great attitude entering the game and we had some players step up their effort. We didn’t take losing well yesterday and we played much better collectively this afternoon.”
A series of missed opportunities cost Iowa in Game One’s 3-2 loss to Arkansas. Each of Iowa’s first six hitters hit safely in the contest, but the Hawkeyes stranded nine runners on base and failed to capitalize on two Razorback errors.
Iowa was able to push the first run of the game across the plate in the third inning when Johnnie Dowling knocked home pinch runner Ashley Akers with a bases loaded ground ball. Arkansas then used a couple base hits and a Hawkeye error to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning before Iowa tied the contest, 2-2, in their next at-bat.
Chelsey Carmody extended her hitting streak to eight games with a fourth-inning single and came around to score the game-tying run on Katie Brown’s RBI knock. The Razorbacks then plated the eventual game-winning run on a Hawkeye passed ball in the sixth inning. Arkansas managed only four hits off Iowa pitchers Amanda Zust and Chelsea Lyon, but despite being out hit by the Hawkeyes, 7-4, the Razorbacks took advantage of three Hawkeye miscues to escape with the one-run win.
The Hawkeyes (7-6) return to action tomorrow with a 9 a.m. (CT) contest versus Georgia Tech at the NFCA Leadoff Classic.