April 24, 2011
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Iowa softball team was in a prime position for a series sweep at No. 1 Michigan, but the Wolverines plated three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally for a 3-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Alumni Field.
“A team like that is not going to sit around and wait, they’re going to make things happen,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “If we don’t take care of what we can, we’re going to give it to them… we just handed it to them today.”
Down a pair of runs heading into its final at-bat, Michigan started its rally with an Ashley Lane double into the right field gap. Caitlin Blanchard followed with an infield single before Dorian Shaw walked to load the bases.
The Wolverines plated their first run on pinch hitter Marley Powers’ sacrifice fly to deep centerfield, allowing all three runners to advance a base. Lyndsay Doyle followed with a grounder to Michelle Zoeller at third base, but she was able to load the bases a second time when she beat the throw after Zoeller looked back Blanchard at third.
Michigan’s line-up rolled back to the top of the order, where Bree Evans pounded the ball into the ground, where Stephanie Ochoa leaped to field it half way down the first base line. Ochoa wasn’t able to make the throw home, allowing the game-tying run to cross the plate.
After Nicole Sappingfield lined out to third base, designated player Alycia Ryan ended the game with a long RBI single off the wall in right field to knock in Taylor Hasselbach for the game-winning run.
Iowa starter Kayla Massey was the tough luck loser, allowing the three runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings of work. The freshman retired the side in order in a pair of innings and finished with a pair of strikeouts in the game.
“Kayla threw a good game, she handled some of their better hitters, and I am proud of her for that,” said Looper. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t play defense behind her to finish that game.
“Two runs should have been enough, but with a team like that you can’t assume. We can’t sit back and assume we’re going to win a 2-0 ballgame against Michigan.”
Wolverine reliever Hilary Payne was credited with the victory, allowing one run on a single hit in three innings of work. Stephanie Speierman started the game, allowing one run on three hits in four innings.
The Hawkeyes grabbed the early lead in the third inning via the long ball. Junior Katie Keim led off the frame with a solo shot over the left centerfield fence to give Iowa the 1-0 lead. The home run was Keim’s first of the season and just the second of her Hawkeye career.
Iowa plated an insurance run in the sixth inning. Senior Jenny Schuelke drew a one-out walk to get things started before freshman Brianna Luna hit an RBI double off the left field wall to score Schuelke all the way from first base.
Four different Hawkeyes accounted for the team’s four hits. Keim and Ochoa both collected singles to push their hitting streaks to 12 and eight games, respectively.
Iowa (26-17, 8-4) returns to action Wednesday hosting Wisconsin in a doubleheader at Pearl Field. The first game of the afternoon is slated to begin at 3 p.m.
|#1 Michigan 3, Iowa 2||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Iowa (26-17, 8-4)||0||0||1||0||0||1||0||2||4||0|
|#1 Michigan (42-4, 10-2)||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||3||7||0|
|W: Hilary Payne (UM) 3-0|
|L: Kayla Massey (UI) 12-7|