April 28, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning broke a scoreless tie and propelled the University of Iowa softball team to a 4-0 victory and a doubleheader split against Indiana on Saturday at Pearl Field. The Hoosiers won a pitching duel in opener, winning 1-0 in nine innings.
“Like most splits, I would rather win the second one if we’re going to lose the first one,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “I am a little frustrated on that early game that we didn’t execute in certain situations. We had quite a few runners at second and third in scoring position. We didn’t do the job we needed to, and they were all controllable things.”
The Hawkeyes’ record sits at 22-24 overall and 11-6 in Big Ten play, while Indiana is 24-24 overall and 8-9 in the league.
After failing to score a run over the first 11 innings of the doubleheader, the Hawkeye offense came alive in the bottom of the fifth of game two. Sophomore Michelle Zoeller was hit by a pitch to start the rally before Malloree Grove reached on an error by IU third baseman Amanda Wagner to put two runners on.
Following a bloop single by Ashley Akers, junior Johnnie Dowling hit a bases-clearing triple — her first of the season — into the left centerfield gap to make the score 3-0. With one out, freshman Megan Blank then laced an RBI double off the wall in right field to plate the team’s fourth run of the inning.
“It started with the hit by pitch, and it kind of continued from there,” said Looper. “When you rally like that you’re feeding off each other, and if you get the opportunity more people are going to go to the plate.”
The scoring outburst was all UI starter Chelsea Lyon needed, as she retired Indiana in order in the sixth and seventh innings to close out the complete game shutout. The junior scattered four hits over seven innings, and she had three strikeouts to post her 11th victory.
“The pitchers are hitting their stride, and they’re confidence in their ability,” said Looper of Lyon and sophomore Kayla Massey. “They’re confident to face any hitter and know that their best stuff is going to challenge the hitter’s best stuff. Both are at the top of their game right now.”
Dowling accounted for two of Iowa’s five hits against Indiana’s Lora Olson. The junior went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored.
The opening contest featured a pitcher’s duel between Massey and Indiana’s Meaghan Murphy, but it was also a game of missed opportunities for the Hawkeyes.
Murphy was credited with her 11th victory after tossing a nine-inning complete game shutout. She allowed seven hits and had four strikeouts, while issuing one base on ball. Massey tossed eight shutout innings before surrendering a run in the ninth inning. She allowed nine hits and had six strikeouts in the contest.
After Iowa put its first two batters on base in the seventh, freshman Melanie Gladden singled through the right side. Senior Katie Keim attempted to score from second base on the play, but IU right fielder Jenna Abraham gunned her down at the plate to tally the first out of the frame.
With runners on second and third, sophomore Michelle Zoeller lifted a fly ball into the right centerfield gap, where IU centerfielder Samantha Heyman tracked down the fly ball before firing a strike to Cassie Gogreve to nail Liz Watkins at the plate to keep the game scoreless.
The Hawkeyes again put their first two runners on base in the eighth inning. Malloree Grove drew a leadoff walk before Ashley Akers singled to centerfield. After advancing the runners to second and third on a groundout, Iowa ran itself out of the inning on a failed suicide squeeze attempt.
Junior Bradi Wall missed the bunt attempt on a 1-1 count with Grove taking off on the pitch, leaving her dead in the water. Grove nearly got under the tag after avoiding the tag in the run down, but was ultimately called out at the plate.
The Hoosiers made the Hawkeyes pay in the ninth inning. Gogreve doubled to right field to lead off the inning to start the rally. With two outs, Kelsey Brannon lined the ball off the glove of a leaping Keim at first base, and it squirted into shallow right field, allowing pinch runner Heather Nelson to score from second base to give the Hoosiers the 1-0 advantage.
Blank doubled into the left centerfield gap to start the bottom of the inning, but with she was caught sagging off the base when Watkins reached on a fielder’s choice to the shortstop. After Watkins advanced to second on Blank’s rundown, Gladden grounded out to end the game.
Watkins accounted for two of Iowa’s seven hits, finishing 2-for-4 in the contest.
Iowa faces Indiana in the rubber game of the three-game series Sunday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes will honor Keim and Watkins for Senior Day in a postgame ceremony.
|Indiana 1, Iowa 0 (9 innings)||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Indiana (24-23, 8-8)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||9||2|
|Iowa (21-24, 10-6)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||7||0|
|W: Meaghan Murphy (IU) 11-10|
|L: Kayla Massey (IOWA) 11-10|
|Iowa 4, Indiana 0||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Indiana (24-24, 8-9)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||1|
|Iowa (22-24, 11-6)||0||0||0||0||4||0||X||4||5||0|
|W: Chelsea Lyon (IOWA) 11-14|
|L: Lora Olson (IU) 13-14|