May 5, 2013
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The University of Iowa softball team downed Purdue, 8-2, on Sunday to complete the three-game sweep in the regular season finale at the Boilermaker Softball Complex. The Hawkeyes topped Purdue, 2-0, in eight innings on Saturday, and won the opener Friday, 4-3, in nine innings.
The Hawkeyes have won five-straight games, and six of their last eight overall. The five-game winning streak matches Iowa’s longest of the season. Iowa finishes the regular season at 30-23 overall and 8-15 in Big Ten play; Purdue falls to 22-31 and 8-15 in conference action. The 30th victory marks the most for Iowa since finishing 42-16 in 2009.
The sweep puts both Iowa and Purdue at 8-15 in the conference. The Hawkeyes will be the No. 9 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and the Boilermakers the No. 10 seed, due to Iowa’s 3-0 head-to-head mark.
The Hawkeyes opened the game with a bang off the bat of Michelle Zoeller. Johnnie Dowling reached on a Purdue error and stole second to begin the game, and was able to trot home as Zoeller launched her second home run of the season over the fence in center, giving the visitors an early 2-0 lead.
“Michelle has been zeroed in and putting good wood on the ball,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “Johnnie did a nice job getting on base and then stealing second. It was great to see Michelle come through in that situation, which has become the norm for her.”
The Boilermakers evened the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth, using an RBI single and an RBI fielder’s choice.
Iowa blew the game open in the top of the sixth, sending 11 hitters to the plate. The Hawkeyes pushed across six runs on six hits. Megan Blank posted her first of two singles in the inning, Zoeller was hit-by-pitch and Kayla Massey singled to load the bases. Indiana native Holly Hoffman stepped to the dish and came through, smacking a single back up the middle to score two. Sammi Gyerman reached on a fielder’s choice and pinch runner Sam Valentine raced home from third to plate Iowa’s fifth run. The Hawkeyes’ hit parade continued as Brianna Luna singled up the middle to score two more Iowa base runners. The visitors increased their lead to 8-2 as Bradi Wall roped a base hit to center to score Ashley Akers from second.
“We finally made some adjustments in the sixth, and were able to push across six runs,” said Looper. “It became contagious, and Kayla did a nice job in the circle.”
Massey limited the Purdue offense to four hits, throwing her second complete game in as many days against the Boilermakers to move to 17-12. She has thrown 25 complete games in 30 starts this season, and the 17 wins mark a new career high. Massey allowed two runs in 15 innings pitched during her two complete games in the series.
Lexy Moore took the loss for the Boilermakers, allowing six runs on six hits in five innings. She faced four batters in the Hawkeye half of the sixth.
Seven Hawkeyes found the hit column as Iowa out-hit Purdue, 10-4, moving to 23-4 when out-hitting its opponents. Wall (2-for-4), Blank (2-for-4) and Massey (2-for-3) all recorded multiple-hit games.
The Hawkeyes — winners of their last four league games — continue action Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa, the No. 9 seed, will face the No. 8 seed at 2 p.m. (CT) in the second game of the opening day. The tournament will be played at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. The official Big Ten Tournament bracket will be announced Monday.
“It is time for a new season: postseason,” said Looper. “We are excited for the Big Ten Tournament.”
|Iowa 8, Purdue 2||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Iowa (30-23, 8-15)||2||0||0||0||0||6||0||8||10||3|
|Purdue (22-31, 8-15)||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||2||4||1|
|W: Kayla Massey (IOWA) 17-12|
|L: Lexy Moore (PU) 10-14|