Hawkeyes Hold Off Chippewas


Feb. 18, 2012

TEMPE, Ariz. — The University of Iowa jumped out to a 6-0 lead before holding off a Central Michigan rally to down the Chippewas, 7-5, on Saturday morning at the Littlewood Classic.

The Hawkeyes plated one run in the third inning before pushing across five runs in the third to take the early advantage. Junior Ashley Akers delivered an RBI single through the right side to plate junior Bradi Wall to start Iowa’s scoring.

“I was pleased with how we came out,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “It took us until the second or third to score, but once we did, we took advantage of good pitches, good base running and executing the small ball. Then the illegal pitches allowed us to score, but we continued to build on that momentum.”

In the fourth, senior Liz Watkins and sophomore Brianna Luna walked to open the game before sophomore Kayla Massey singled to left field to load the bases. Watkins and Luna then trotted across the plate following illegal pitches by CMU hurler Chelsea Sundberg.

Pinch runner Sydney Reynolds tallied Iowa’s third run, crossing the plate when Melanie Gladden reached on an error. Junior Johnnie Dowling then knocked in Gladden on a fielder’s choice before freshman Megan Blank’s sacrifice fly to left field scored the Hawkeyes’ final run of the inning.

Iowa had an opportunity to end the game early, as it loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth. Sundberg, however, got the Chippewas out of the inning, getting a Katie Holmes pop out, a Wall strikeout and a Dowling fly out to left field to end the threat.

Central Michigan made things interesting, plating three runs in the sixth to cut the lead in half. The Chippewas notched three runs on four hits against UI starter Chelsea Lyon.

The Hawkeyes added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth courtesy of Blank’s solo home run over the left centerfield fence. The long ball was her first lifetime round-tripper and the first for the Hawkeyes this season.

“Megan is definitely growing into the hitting side of the left side,” said Looper. “She has always slapped and bunted and been able to poke some into the gaps. She has built some power, and it’s nice to get her first career and lifetime home run.”

CMU plated its final two runs in the top of the seventh inning. The first run crossed the plate on an Iowa error before Chelsea DeLamielleure’s RBI single made the score 7-5 with one out. Lyon then closed out her third victory of the season by striking out Kristen Kuhlman and Rachael Hensen to end the game.

Lyon allowed five runs on eight hits in the complete game victory. She finished with a season-high 10 strikeouts to five walks.

Six different UI players recorded a hit in the game. Blank matched a career-best, going 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored, while Luna went 2-for-3.

Iowa (4-4) returns to action this afternoon, facing Iowa State beginning at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Iowa 7, Central Michigan 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Central Michigan (0-3) 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 5 8 3
Iowa (4-4) 0 0 1 5 0 1 X 7 9 1
Game Decision
W: Chelsea Lyon (IOWA) 3-2
L: Morgan Yucker (CMU) 0-1