Feb. 24, 2013
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Iowa softball team defeated Western Illinois, 12-4, in six innings on Sunday in its final game of the Bama Bash. The Hawkeyes used a five-run fifth inning to take control of the game and senior starter Chelsea Lyon earned her fifth win of the season. The Iowa offense pounded out a season-high 15 hits and took advantage of a season-best seven walks. The contest was held at Rhoads Stadium on the campus of the University of Alabama.
“The best part is that we finished a weekend,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “That was an important game for us. We struggled in the finale the last two weekends. For us to step out on the field today and attack early was huge.”
The Hawkeyes move to 10-5 overall after finishing 3-2 in the Bama Bash. Iowa also defeated Winthrop twice and dropped two decisions to No. 1 Alabama.
Six Hawkeyes registered multi-hit games and eight found the hit column. Johnnie Dowling finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored in the leadoff spot. Bradi Wall went 2-for-3 with an RBI, two walks and two runs scored. Megan Blank tallied two base hits, going 2-for-2 with two walks, two RBIs, and two runs scored. Holly Hoffman turned in three RBIs. Designated player Kayla Massey recorded a career-best four RBIs as she posted a multi-hit game (2-for-3).
Michelle Zoeller went 2-for-4 with a run scored and freshman Sammi Gyerman turned in a season-best three-hit performance, finishing 3-for-4 with an RBI. Ashley Akers tallied a base hit and a run scored.
“The thing we have been talking about with our offense is making adjustments quickly and forcing the pitcher to throw some pitches,” said Looper. “We saw a little bit of that this weekend. We did a phenomenal job of that today. If we can get base runners on, those hits hurt a little more. We took a lot of free bases. That big inning can happen because we put runners on.”
The Leathernecks tallied the game’s first run with an RBI groundout in the top of first. The Hawkeyes wasted no time, responding in the bottom half. With the bases loaded and one away, Massey roped a single to center to score two and give the home team a 2-1 lead.
Western Illinois used an RBI groundout with the bases packed in the third to even the score at 2-2. Iowa answered in the bottom half with a run of its own to regain a one-run advantage. With one down, Zoeller launched her first career triple to right center. Gyerman followed with a single to the pitcher, placing runners at the corners. The duo then executed a perfect double steal to give the Hawkeyes a 3-2 lead.
The visitors plated two in the top of the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. Iowa answered in the bottom half with two runs of its own to regain the lead at 5-4. Dowling opened the frame with a triple to left and immediately scored on a solid base hit by Wall to center. With the bases loaded and no outs, the Hawkeyes used a sacrifice fly to right to move all runners up a base and push across their second run of the inning.
The Iowa offense batted around and blew the game open in the fifth, plating five runs on five hits. The five runs mark the most for the Hawkeyes in any inning this season. Erin Erickson coaxed two walks in the frame. Blank, Hoffman, Massey and Gyerman notched RBIs. The Hawkeyes closed it out in the sixth, scoring two runs via RBIs from Blank and Hoffman to earn the run-rule victory.
Lyon earned the victory in the circle, moving to 5-1 on the season. The senior allowed four runs (two earned) while scattering five hits in six innings. She struck out one.
Kelsey Michelini took the loss for Western Illinois. She surrendered seven runs on 10 hits in three and a third innings.
“Overall, it was a good weekend,” said Looper. “We finished today; that is a positive. We are ending on a good note. It is definitely a springboard heading into next weekend in California.”
Iowa continues action March 1-2 in Fullerton, Calif., at the Easton Invitational. The Hawkeyes face Oregon State (11 a.m. CT) and No. 20 Stanford (1:15 p.m.) on the opening day. Iowa battles host Cal State Fullerton on March 2 at 3:30 p.m. and CSU Bakersfield at 5:45 p.m. to conclude play.
|Iowa 12, Western Illinois 4||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Western Illinois (2-5)||1||0||1||2||0||0||X||4||5||1|
|W: Chelsea Lyon (IOWA) 5-1|
|L: Kelsey Michelini (WIU) 1-3|