May 5, 2010
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URBANA, IL – The University of Iowa softball team was defeated by No. 17 Illinois, 10-6 Wednesday in game two of a doubleheader at Eichelberger Field. Iowa now stands at 23-21 overall and 8-7 in conference play.
Illinois plated four runs in its first at bat for an early 4-0 lead. Danielle Zymkowitz hit a leadoff triple and scored in the next at-bat when Hope Howell hit a sacrifice fly to center. Illinois scored three more runs on back-to-back-to-back solo home runs by Meredith Hackett, Hollie Pinchback and Audrey Gallien.
Iowa scored its first run of the game in the second inning. Sophomore Liz Watkins started the game with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Ashley Akers, who stole second. Akers scored on an RBI double to center by junior Jenny Schuelke.
Illinois tacked another run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third for a 5-1 score and added two more in the fourth for a 7-1 advantage.
Iowa battled back in the top of the fifth to plate three runs for a 7-4 count. Singles by freshman Jordan Goschie and junior Chelsey Carmody along with a walk by sophomore Katie Keim loaded the bases for Liz Watkins with outs. Watkins nearly hit a grand slam, blasting a double that hit the top of the fence in right-center that cleared the bases.
Pinchback gave the Fighting Illini a 9-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth, knocking a two-RBI double to center with the bases loaded.
Iowa wouldn’t go away quietly, plating two more runs in the sixth for a 9-6 score. Junior Stephanie Ochoa was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Schuelke followed with a walk. After freshman Sam Valentine replaced Ochoa at second, freshman Johnnie Dowling recorded an RBI single up the middle. Senior Taylor Leichsenring kept the inning alive with a single to load the bases for Carmody, who lifted a sacrifice fly to left.
Illinois added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth for the final 10-6 score.
Iowa will take its final Big Ten road trip of the season this weekend when it travels to Minneapolis for a two-game series with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Game one of the series is scheduled Saturday at 2 p.m. and can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.