Iowa Drops Heartbreaker in Rubber Match

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April 7, 2013

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team dropped a heartbreaker, 3-2, to No. 19 Nebraska in the rubber match of a three-game set on Sunday at Pearl Field. The Huskers used an unearned run in the seventh to edge the Hawkeyes.

“They are a quality team, we are too,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “I do not think there is a team in this conference better than us. They are quality teams; I am not taking anything away from them, but we did not execute. It is frustrating; we are better than that. We have to control what we can, and we did not do a very good job of that today.”

Iowa starter Kayla Massey and Nebraska starter Tatum Edwards battled through the first four innings, tossing a combined eight scoreless frames. The Huskers ended the scoreless game in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs on two hits and a Hawkeye error to grab a 2-0 lead.

The home team answered in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Bradi Wall, who leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally in hit-by-pitches, was plunked with no outs to put a runner on for Megan Blank. The sophomore belted a 3-0 pitch over the fence in right to tie the game at 2-2.

The Hawkeyes retired the first two Nebraska hitters in the top of the seventh. The Huskers (28-8, 6-2) used a walk, in between two Iowa errors, to push across the eventual game-winning run and clinch the series victory.

Massey took the tough-luck loss. The junior tossed her 18th complete game in her 20th start of the season, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits. She struck out four Huskers.

Edwards took a no-decision, allowing two runs on four hits in five innings. Emily Lockman, who earned the victory on Saturday night, took the win to move to 11-2. She entered after the Blank home run in the sixth, tossing two innings. She allowed one hit.

The Hawkeyes out-hit Nebraska, 5-3, losing for just the second time this season when out-hitting their opponent (17-2). Blank paced the Iowa attack, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs. She notched her 14th multi-hit game and 15th multi-RBI contest of the season. Blank leads the Big Ten with 46 RBIs.

Johnnie Dowling, Brianna Luna and Ashley Akers also found the hit column.

Iowa (22-15, 2-7) continues Big Ten action April 12-14 at Northwestern. The Hawkeyes and Wildcats will meet at 4 p.m. on Friday, before concluding the slate Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon.

#19 Nebraska 3, Iowa 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Nebraska (28-8, 6-2) 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 3 3 0
Iowa (22-15, 2-7) 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 5 3
Game Decision
W: Emily Lockman (NEB) 11-2
L: Kayla Massey (IOWA) 12-8