April 21, 2013
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Iowa softball team dropped both games of a doubleheader to No. 9 Michigan on Sunday at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines claimed the opener, 8-6, before winning the second game, 8-0, in five innings. Michigan completes the series sweep, after rallying to win the opener Saturday, 5-3.
Iowa falls to 24-19 overall and 4-11 in conference play; Big Ten-leading Michigan improves to 39-7 and 16-0 in league action. The Wolverines have won 21-straight games — the longest streak in the nation.
“We had moments where we didn’t quit, and I like that,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “We took the momentum back multiple times. Unfortunately, we did not finish, and that is frustrating. We need to execute and control what we can control.”
After not recording an out in Iowa’s series win at Northwestern last weekend in 14 at-bats, Megan Blank had another stellar showing in Ann Arbor. The sophomore finished 6-for-8 (.750) with two doubles, two home runs, four RBIs, three runs scored and three walks. Blank, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, has reached base in 29-straight games, including all 15 of Iowa’s league contests.
In the first contest of Sunday’s doubleheader, Blank notched her first career multi-home run game, equaling a career best with four hits (4-for-4). She has 10 home runs, equaling the third most in single season in program history, and 53 RBIs — the second most in a season in Iowa history. Blank is hitting .460 with 10 regular season games left. The Iowa record is .428 — set by Kim Davis in 1993.
Junior Michelle Zoeller finished 2-for-2 in the finale, finishing the weekend with a .444 average. Senior Johnnie Dowling (.364) and junior Kayla Massey (.333) also hit over .300 in the three-game set.
Michigan won the opener, 8-6. With no score in the bottom of the second, the Wolverines used a three-run homer to grab a 3-0 lead. The home team extended its lead to 8-0 with its sixth grand slam of the season and an RBI single in the third.
Blank and Massey opened the next frame with back-to-back home runs to cut the lead to 8-2. Bradi Wall plated Brianna Luna with an RBI single in the top of the fifth, cutting the Michigan lead to 8-3. With Wall standing at first, Blank roped her second home run of the game deep up the bleachers in right field, trimming the lead to three at 8-5.
Iowa pushed across its sixth run of the game on an RBI single by Blank in the seventh, and loaded the bases with two outs, but the rally came up short as the Wolverines claimed the opener.
Chelsea Lyon started and took the loss for Iowa. The senior allowed seven runs on five hits in two and a third. Micaela Whitney made her 11th relief appearance of the season, allowing one run on three hits in three and two-thirds.
Haylie Wagner started and earned the win for the Maize and Blue, allowing five earned runs on seven hits in five innings. Saturday’s starter Sara Driesenga recorded the save, allowing a run in the final two innings.
In the finale, the Hawkeye offense left the bases loaded in the opening inning, and Michigan took advantage. The league’s highest scoring offense used a solo home run in the bottom of the first, a five-spot in the third, and two runs in the fifth to close out the series with an 8-0 victory.
Massey started and took the loss, allowing eight runs on 11 hits in four and two-thirds innings. Driesenga earned the victory, allowing five Hawkeye hits.
Iowa returns to action on Tuesday, hosting Illinois in a doubleheader at Pearl Field. First pitch of game one is set for 3 p.m. Both games can be seen live on BTN.
|# 9 Michigan 8, Iowa 6||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Iowa (24-18, 4-10)||0||0||0||2||3||0||1||6||8||1|
|Michigan (38-7, 15-0)||0||3||5||0||0||0||X||8||8||1|
|W: Haylie Wagner (UM) 15-1|
|L: Chelsea Lyon (IOWA) 8-9|
|SV: Sara Driesenga (UM) 2|
|#9 Michigan 8, Iowa 0||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Iowa (24-19, 4-11)||0||0||0||0||0||X||X||0||5||0|
|Michigan (39-7, 16-0)||1||0||5||0||2||X||X||8||11||0|
|W: Sara Driesenga (UM) 23-5|
|L: Kayla Massey (IOWA) 13-10|