Feb. 9, 2013
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HOUSTON — The University of Iowa softball team defeated Houston, 4-1, on Saturday afternoon in its third game of the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic. The Hawkeyes used a solid outing from junior starting pitcher Kayla Massey and solo home runs by senior Bradi Wall and sophomore Megan Blank to earn their second-straight victory. The contest was played at Cougar Softball Stadium on the campus of the University of Houston.
“It was nice to see us comeback again in the second half of the game,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “We put ourselves in a hole early. When you put four errors on the board, you do not usually win those games. We turned the momentum around and put enough runs up to beat them.”
“Megan Blank finally got into one,” said Looper. “Bradi Wall got it up and the wind took it out. You like to see that. We need to continue to put runners on, so when those long balls happen, it is a little more painful.”
Tournament host Houston struck first in the top of the second. The Cougars, the visiting team, pushed across a single run on a Hawkeye error to grab a 1-0 lead.
Iowa, 2-0 in one-run decisions, responded immediately. Wall led off the bottom of the second and launched her first career home run over the left center wall, tying the game at 1-1.
The score remained tied until Blank stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fourth. The sophomore homered to deep right to give the Hawkeyes a 2-1 lead. The long ball marked the third of her career.
The Hawkeyes added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Aspen Rhodes scored on a sacrifice fly to right by junior Brianna Luna. Massey singled down the left field line to score freshman Holly Hoffman and push the Iowa lead to 4-1.
Inside the circle, Massey earned her first win of the season, allowing zero earned runs in a complete seven innings. She allowed three Cougar hits, while striking out three.
“Kayla did a really nice job,” said Looper. “She only allowed two walks, and did a nice job keeping the ball down. They have some great hitters. If you get the ball up, they are going to do something with it. She gave us some groundball outs; we just have to do a better job behind her.”
Houston starter Bailey Watts took the loss for the Cougars (2-2). She allowed six hits and four earned runs in her first loss of the season.
The Hawkeyes (2-1) return to action tonight in the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic, facing No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m.
|Iowa 4, Houston 1||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|W: Kayla Massey (IOWA) 1-1|
|L: Bailey Watts (UH) 1-1|