Feb. 28, 2014
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TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Iowa softball team opened the Wildcat Invitational with a run rule, 8-0 win over Valparaiso in five innings. The Hawkeyes out-hit the Crusaders 10 to five and scored seven of their eight runs with two outs on the board.
Iowa moves to 4-9 with the win, and Valparaiso falls to 2-8.
The Hawkeye offense came alive in the bottom of the third using six hits to break the scoreless tie. Whitney Repole and Sammi Gyerman gave Iowa a pair of base runners with one out after a hit by pitch and a single down the left line, respectively. Both moved up to third on a Claire Fritsch sacrifice bunt and came around to score on a Michelle Zoeller single to left.
Consecutive doubles from the bats of Erin Erickson and Megan Blank followed, allowing two additional runs to score for the Hawkeyes. Starting pitcher Kayla Massey continued the rally with a long ball to left field to collect two RBIs. It was her first home run of the season and the third for Iowa.
Alyssa Navarro gave the Hawkeyes their fifth consecutive hit with a single to right, but the Crusaders used a fly out to end the inning and Iowa’s scoring drive.
Iowa added its seventh run with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Fritsch used her first career triple to reach scoring position and came around to score on a Zoeller single to center.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Hawkeyes drew a pair of walks to put runners on base with one away. On a fielder’s choice play that included three run downs, Navarro touched home to trigger the run rule and secure the 8-0 final win for Iowa.
“It was nice to get another victory for the team,” head coach Marla Looper said. “It put some positive things in our pockets to hold on to and allowed us to forget about some things that weren’t so good in the past, learn from them and move forward.”
Seven-of-nine Iowa starters recorded a hit in the contest, and three Hawkeyes turned in multiple hit performances, including Zoeller (2-for-3), Erickson (2-for-3) and Blank (2-for-3). Zoeller posted a team-most three RBIs, followed by Massey who notched two. Erickson and Blank added one RBI apiece.
“We gave ourselves chances,” Looper said. “The inning that we scored a lot of runs started with a hit by pitch. We talk a lot about getting runners on and once they get on we know we can make things happen. I think the hitters went in a lot more relaxed today when they had an opportunity to advance or score runners. That allowed them to have the outcome they did.”
The Hawkeye defense stepped up in key situations throughout the contest, as Valparaiso left five runners on base. With two runners on in the top of the second, catcher Holly Hoffman caught a runner stealing — her eighth of the season — to post the first out, and a Blank to Fritsch to Navarro double play kept the Crusaders scoreless. Iowa also worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the fourth to preserve the shutout.
Massey (2-6) picked up the win in the circle. She held the Crusaders to five hits and struck out three batters in her five innings of work.
The Hawkeyes continue Wildcat Invitational action on Saturday. Iowa faces tournament host No. 9/10 Arizona at 7 p.m. (CT) and UT Arlington at 9 p.m. (CT). Live stats and live video links are available for both games at hawkeyesports.com.
|Iowa 8, Valparaiso 0||1||2||3||4||5||R||H||E|
|W: Massey (IOWA) 2-6|
|L: Lindeman (VALPO) 1-2|