March 2, 2013
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FULLERTON, Calif. — The University of Iowa softball team swept Cal State Fullerton (7-0) and CSU Bakersfield (5-3) on Saturday evening to finish the Easton Invitational with a perfect 4-0 mark. The Hawkeyes defeated No. 15 Stanford (7-6) and No. 24 Oregon State (9-3) to open play on Friday. The contests were held on the campus of Cal State Fullerton.
The Hawkeyes, winners of five-straight games overall, move to 14-5 on the season.
“Overall, it was a really good weekend for us,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “I am proud of the girls; defeating two top-ranked opponents yesterday, and Cal State Fullerton and CSU Bakersfield today. Cal State Fullerton has been playing really well, so it was tough playing at their place knowing they have been hot. Bakersfield was scrappy and did not give up.”
Iowa won at Cal State Fullerton in the opener behind a stellar performance from Kayla Massey. The junior tossed a complete game one-hitter, earning her fifth win of the season. Massey struck out four Titans en route to her first shutout of the year. She has eight complete games in nine starts.
“Kayla did a nice job keeping the ball down and forcing them to swing at pitches she wanted them to,” said Looper. “Our defense played phenomenal behind her; diving after balls left and right.”
Iowa opened it up early against Fullerton, batting around and plating five runs in its first at-bat. Johnnie Dowling reached on an error to start the game before Bradi Wall roped a double to left center. Blank then laced an RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0. With two outs, Brianna Luna and Michelle Zoeller were both hit by pitches. Gyerman stepped in and quickly smacked a two-run single. Ashley Akers dropped down a perfect RBI bunt single to give the visitors a five-run first and a 5-0 lead.
In the second, Blank just missed a home run down the line in right, doubling with one away. Massey helped herself, launching a home run deep over the fence in left center to push the Iowa lead to 7-0.
The seven-run lead was more than enough for Massey, who did not allow a hit through four and two-thirds. Desiree Ybarra took the loss for the Titans (8-11), allowing six runs on six hits in an inning and two-thirds.
In the second game, Iowa used early offense and a solid outing from starter Chelsea Lyon to down CSU Bakersfield, 5-3.
The Hawkeyes plated four runs in the second inning. Luna got things rolling with a double down the line in left. Zoeller reached after dropping down a beautiful bunt single and Gyerman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With one away, Dowling laced a double down the line in left to score two. Wall followed with an RBI groundout before Megan Blank tripled to left center to give the Hawkeyes a 4-0 lead.
“We like those big innings,” said Looper. “It usually starts with a walk or hit-by-pitch. We continue to put runners on, then that hit hurts a little more. I wish we could have continued to do that today after we started strong early. That is an area we have to continue to improve.”
The Roadrunners (1-9) posted two runs in the fifth to cut the Hawkeye advantage to 4-2. Iowa answered, scoring a single tally in the next frame to make the score, 5-2. Gyerman opened the sixth with a double to right center before scoring on an RBI single by Dowling. Dowling paced the offense with three hits (3-for-4) and three RBIs. The three hits equaled a career best.
CSU Bakersfield added a run in the bottom half, but it was too little, too late, as Iowa held on for the 5-3 win. Lyon pitched five innings to earn the win and move to 7-1. She struck out four Roadrunners. Freshman Micaela Whitney earned her first career save, tossing two scoreless innings in relief. She struck out two.
“We have made some huge strides to this point,” said Looper. “I am proud of the girls and how they came out and attacked this weekend. We are excited to get back and get some work in, and then face some good competition out East.”
Iowa continues action March 9-10 in College Park, Md., in the Miken Invitational hosted by Maryland. The Hawkeyes will face St. John’s (8 a.m. CT) and Maryland (10 a.m.) on March 9, before facing Radford (8 a.m.) and Ohio State (10 a.m.) on March 10 to conclude action.
|Iowa 7, Cal State Fullerton 0||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|W: Kayla Massey (IOWA) 5-4|
|L: Desiree Ybarra (CSF) 2-4|
|Iowa 5, CSU Bakersfield 3||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|CSU Bakersfield (1-9)||0||0||0||0||2||1||0||3||6||1|
|W: Chelsea Lyon (IOWA) 7-1|
|L: Amber Mills (CSUB) 0-3|
|SV: Micaela Whitney (IOWA) 1|