Feb. 7, 2014
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Redshirt freshman pitcher Shayla Starkenburg’s one-hitter and the Hawkeye offense propelled Iowa to a 5-0 win over UNC Greensboro in the 2014 season opener Friday afternoon.
Starkenburg — making the first start of her Hawkeye career — silenced the Spartan bats throughout the game and had a no hitter going until UNCG recorded a single in the top of the sixth inning en route to her first win in the circle. She fanned five and walked six in her complete game effort.
“She stuck in there,” head coach Marla Looper said. “She kept plugging away throughout the game. It’s always nerve-wracking in the first outing of your collegiate career, and I think she handled it well. It was a good start for her.”
The Hawkeyes plated their first run of 2014 in the first inning of play against UNCG. Michelle Zoeller began the drive with a single to left, and Megan Blank followed with a walk to put a pair on for Iowa. Kayla Massey capitalized on the opportunity with an RBI single to left.
The offense continued to produce in the second. Erin Erickson got it going with a single up the middle and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. She came around to score on a Brianna Luna RBI single through the right side to give the Hawkeyes a 2-0 advantage.
In the third, Iowa struck again after a Blank walk and a Massey single put two Hawkeyes on base. Alyssa Navarro followed with a single on a line, the first hit of her Iowa career. An errant throw on the play allowed Blank to wheel home for the Hawkeyes third run of the game.
Iowa added its fourth run in as many innings after a dropped Blank fly ball allowed Fritsch, who reached on a walk and stole second, to reach home.
UNCG kept the Hawkeyes off the board in the fifth, but Iowa responded in the seventh with its fifth and final run of the contest. The Hawkeyes used a Luna hit by pitch and a pair of singles from Blank and Massey to juice the bases for Hoffman who came through in the clutch with an RBI single to right.
“I thought it was good that they all made the pitchers go deeper in counts to get pitches they could drive,” Looper said. “We had runners on every inning and scored in the majority of them. We talk about producing runs by getting runners on, moving them up and scoring them from second. They did a nice job. It was good to see them put runs up every inning and not sit on a couple runs early.”
Massey paced Iowa with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate and an RBI. Luna and Hoffman recorded one RBI apiece with 1-for-3 hitting efforts. Also picking up hits were Zoeller (1-for-4), Blank (1-for-2), Navarro (1-for-3), and Erickson (1-for-2).
The Hawkeyes return to the diamond this afternoon against tournament host South Carolina. The contest is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. (CT). Gametracker is available at hawkeyesports.com and a live video feed can be viewed at gamecocksonline.com.