Iowa's Late Inning Rally Falls Short


March 25, 2012

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team’s late inning rally came up short, as the Hawkeyes fell to Wisconsin, 5-4, Sunday afternoon at Pearl Field. The victory gave the Badgers the series win, taking 2-of-the-3 weekend games.

“I like how our kids continued to fight toward the end, getting us four runs at the end of the ball game,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “I am frustrated that we gave up the runs that we did early on to put us in the situation that we did to have to fight back.”

Trailing 4-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Hawkeyes put together a rally to cut into the deficit. Freshman Megan Blank reached on a one-out single to get things started before junior Bradi Wall singled to left field with two outs. Senior Katie Keim followed with a high fly ball to left field that carried over the fence for a three-run long ball to make the score 4-3. It was Keim’s team-leading fourth home run of the season.

Wisconsin added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning via an Iowa miscue. Following a pair of one-out walks by Iowa reliever Kayla Massey, pinch hitter Molly Spence hit a towering pop fly to shallow left field. Iowa centerfielder Johnnie Dowling raced in to make the catch, but it ricocheted off her glove, allowing Mary Massei to score to make the score 5-3.

Dowling got Iowa’s seventh inning rally started with a one-out single down the left field line before advancing to second on an Ashley Akers sacrifice bunt. Blank followed with an infield single before senior Liz Watkins was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Wall drove in Iowa’s fourth run with an infield single to shortstop, but the rally came to a halt when UW pitcher Cassandra Darrah got Keim to ground out to end the game.

“We continued to let the pitcher pitch and take care of balls we could get ahold of,” said Looper. “It was unfortunate that Liz got hit because I was feeling a good hit out of her. Bradi battled through an at-bat and put the ball in play and force some action to push a run across.

“I was glad Katie was up in that situation because I know she’s the one that is going to drive the ball in the gap. Unfortunately, she got an outside pitch that she got off the end of the bat to end the ball game.”

The Badgers jumped out to the 4-0 lead, plating two runs in the second and fifth innings. Marissa Mersch had a two-run double to left field in the second frame on a sun ball that caromed off of Ashley Aker’s glove in left field. Whitney Massey’s sacrifice fly and Karla Powell’s RBI single accounted for UW’s two runs in the fifth.

Lyon took the loss for the Hawkeyes, allowing four runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings. She had three strikeouts to zero walks in the game.

Eight Iowa players tallied hits in the game. Blank and Wall both went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Keim went 1-for-4 with one run and three RBI.

Iowa (11-17, 1-2) returns to action March 31, hosting Illinois in a doubleheader at Pearl Field beginning at 1 p.m.

Wisconsin 5, Iowa 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Wisconsin (13-10, 2-1) 0 2 0 0 2 0 1 5 8 0
Iowa (11-17, 1-2) 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 4 10 1
Game Decision
W: Cassandra Darrah (UW) 9-5
L: Chelsea Lyon (IOWA) 5-10