March 19, 2013
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LOUISVILLE — The University of Iowa softball team dropped a 6-4 decision at No. 11 Louisville on Tuesday. The Hawkeyes pushed across two runs in each of their final two at-bats, but the rally ultimately fell short in the rematch. The contest was held at Ulmer Stadium on the campus of the University of Louisville.
Iowa (18-8) won at Louisville on Monday, 6-2, handing the Cardinals their first home loss during the regular season since April 13, 2011, in a streak that spanned 37 games. The Hawkeyes also ended Louisville’s 11-game winning streak and captured their fourth victory over a top-25 opponent (No. 11 Louisville, No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 15 Stanford, No. 24 Oregon State).
Louisville (24-4) returned the favor on Tuesday, using a four-run first inning to take control early. All four runs came with two outs. Whitney Arion was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to push across the Cardinals’ first run. Taner Fowler followed with the hit of the game, floating a double down the line in right to clear the bases and give Louisville a 4-0 lead.
“It was frustrating because we came out and got two outs early,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “Then we gave up four runs. Unfortunately, against a quality opponent, it is tough to come back from that. We did, later in the sixth and seventh inning when we put two runs up each frame. We had plenty of opportunities, leaving 10 runners on base. We did not take advantage of those opportunities.”
The home team added two runs in the fifth to extend its lead to 6-0.
The visitors answered with two runs in the following frame. Holly Hoffman and Kayla Massey opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Michelle Zoeller stepped in and launched a tripled to right center to score both runners and cut the Louisville lead to 6-2.
The Iowa offense staged a rally in its final at-bat. Johnnie Dowling reached on a Louisville error, and Bradi Wall walked to put two on. Megan Blank lined a shot through the shortstop’s legs, scoring Dowling. With two outs, and runners at first and second, Zoeller singled to load the bases. Sammi Gyerman drew a base-on-balls to push across another Hawkeye run and cut the lead to 6-4. Louisville worked out of the jam with a strikeout to close it out.
“We have to make adjustments earlier and execute earlier,” said Looper. “When we do that, we put runs up and we make things happen, and we give ourselves an opportunity.”
Cardinals’ starter Rachel LeCoq responded after a tough outing against Iowa on Monday. The junior tossed five innings, allowing two runs on four hits to earn the win (10-2). She was pulled after a third of an inning in the first meeting between the two schools on Monday.
Hawkeye starter Chelsea Lyon took the loss (8-4). The senior allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits in six innings.
Zoeller led the Iowa offense, notching her fourth multi-hit game of the season and equaling a career best with three hits. The junior finished 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs and her second career triple.
The Hawkeyes travel to Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday to face No. 17 Kentucky at 3:30 p.m. at the UK Softball Complex. The contest against the Wildcats will be televised on UK/IMG Sports Network and Fox Sports South.
|#11 Louisville 6, Iowa 4||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|#11 Louisville (24-4)||4||0||0||0||2||0||X||6||7||4|
|W: LeCoq (UL) 10-2|
|L: Chelsea Lyon (IOWA) 8-4|