March 2, 2014
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TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Iowa softball team dropped its Wildcat Invitational finale to Longwood, 4-1, on Sunday morning. The loss brings Iowa’s overall record to 4-10, while the Lancers move to 6-2 on the season.
Longwood adjusted the scoring column early, scoring a run in the top of the first inning. After a leadoff walk was issued, the Lancers scored a run on a Megan Baltzell double off the wall in left.
The Hawkeyes had an opportunity to even the score in the bottom of the second. Kayla Massey recorded a one-out single and was replaced on the basepaths by pinch runner Haley Hansel. Alyssa Navarro followed, reaching on a walk. After a strikeout put the second out on the board, Holly Hoffman sent a single into left field, but Hansel was thrown out at the plate on the play, ending the inning.
After a scoreless third, Longwood added a pair of runs to extend its lead to 3-1. The Lancers used three hits in a row — a single, a double and a single — to plate the first run, and added the second on an Iowa miscue in the field. The Hawkeye defense recovered, using two fielder’s choice plays and a ground out to limit the damage.
Iowa’s offense ruined the Lancers’ shutout bid, scoring its lone run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Erin Erickson made it to second on an error to open the inning and Megan Blank drew a walk to put two runners on base for Iowa with no outs. Massey capitalized on the opportunity with an RBI double to right center, plating Erickson.
Following a scoreless fifth inning, Longwood used three consecutive hits — a double and a pair of singles — with one out to add its fourth run of the game. Claire Fritsch gloved a line drive at second and completed the double play with a throw over to Navarro at first to halt the Lancer rally and end the inning.
The Hawkeyes had a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the sixth when Blank singled and advanced to third on a wild pitch and a groundout, but Longwood used a strikeout to close out the inning.
The Lancers held the Hawkeye offense at bay in the seventh to solidify their 4-1 final win.
Starkenburg took the loss in the circle, dropping her record to 1-2 on the season. She tied her career-high in strikeouts with five in her 5.1 innings pitched. Massey finished the final 1.2 innings in relief, holding the Lancers scoreless.
Blank and Massey went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Hawkeye offense. Massey collected the lone RBI bringing her season total to six and her weekend total to three RBI.
“It was nice having them in the box when we needed them,” head coach Marla Looper said. “Today they both got on twice, and it was nice to see them come around because we’ve got to have them. We have to have production from everyone, but we have to have those two for sure when we get into this next stretch of the season. It was good to see them put good wood on the ball.”
The Hawkeyes have a three-game series at Texas March 15-17 and play a single game at Texas State March 19, before opening their Big Ten slate with a three-game series at Illinois March 21-23.
|Longwood 4, Iowa 1||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|W: Carnes (LW) 2-0|
|L: Starkenburg (IOWA) 1-2|