March 29, 2014
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MADISON, Wis. — The University of Iowa softball team opened its doubleheader at Wisconsin (16-13, 2-3) with a win, 4-1, but fell in game two to the Badgers, 8-4. The Hawkeyes move to 8-15 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play following Saturday action.
The Hawkeyes erased their zero in the scoring column early, using three hits to score a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Leadoff Brianna Luna singled to open the contest and moved into scoring position at second base on a Claire Fritsch sacrifice bunt. Megan Blank and Erin Erickson came through in RBI situations with consecutive outfield singles to put Iowa ahead 2-0.
Following a scoreless second, Wisconsin used a double steal in a first and third situation to get on the board.
The Iowa offense got the run back and plus one in the top of the fifth. Starting pitcher Kayla Massey helped out her cause in the circle by hitting a solo home run. It is her third long ball in the last four games.
Blank and Erickson followed with singles to give Iowa three consecutive hits. After Blank advanced to third on a wild pitch, Whitney Repole used a sacrifice fly to add the second Hawkeye run of the inning and provide her team with a 4-1 advantage.
A scoreless sixth and seventh inning gave Iowa the victory, 4-1. Massey (4-9) earned the complete game win in the circle for Iowa. She struck out six, just one off her season-high of seven. Wisconsin’s Cassandra Darrah (10-8) took the loss in her complete game effort.
Blank led the Hawkeye offense, going 3-for-4 at the plate. It is her sixth multiple hit game of the year and her first time recording three hits in a contest this season. Luna, Massey and Erickson also recorded multiple hits going 2-for-4. Earning one RBI apiece were Massey, Blank, Erickson and Whitney.
“We got on them early, that’s their ace that they threw, and put a couple runs up early,” head coach Marla Looper said. “Kayla threw a pretty decent game, probably one of the best ones she’s had so far. It’s easy to play defense behind someone that’s throwing the ball near the zone and taking care of the hitters by getting ground ball outs.”
|Iowa 4, Wisconsin 1||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Iowa (8-14, 3-1)||2||0||0||0||2||0||0||4||10||1|
|Wisconsin (15-13, 1-3)||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||7||1|
|W: Massey (IOWA) 4-9|
|L: Darrah (WIS) 0-1|
After a scoreless first inning, Wisconsin sent all nine of its hitters to the plate in the bottom of the second and put up a four spot to pull ahead of the Hawkeyes. A pair of walks put two on base with one away and the Badgers used three consecutive singles to plate four runs. The inning chased Iowa starting pitcher Shayla Starkenburg from the game, and Micaela Whitney entered in relief.
The Hawkeyes put a run on the board in the top of the third to cut the deficit to three runs, 4-1. Holly Hoffman singled to open the frame and was replaced by pinch runner Haley Hansel on the basepaths. Michelle Zoeller recorded the second single in a row for the Hawkeyes to put runners aboard on first and second. Brianna Luna came through with a clutch double — just her second of the season — to score the run.
The Badger offense continued its hot streak, sending eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the third. After three consecutive walks loaded the bases with no outs, Wisconsin used two singles to add three runs and extend its lead, 7-1.
Iowa and Wisconsin traded zeroes in the fourth, but the Hawkeyes used a two-out rally to add three runs in the top of the fifth. A Luna fielder’s choice, Claire Fritsch single up the middle and Kayla Massey walk loaded the bases for Megan Blank who cleared the bases with her third triple of the season. It is the 10th triple of her career, which ties her for 10th on Iowa’s career triples list. She ties current volunteer assistant Chelsey Carmody (2008-11) and Amy Hartsock (1990-92).
Wisconsin added its eighth run of the game in the bottom of the sixth to extend its lead, 8-4, heading to the seventh. Massey and Blank hit back-to-back singles and moved up a base each on a passed ball, but the Badgers used a groundout and two pop outs to end the Hawkeye scoring threat and solidify their 8-4 win.
Starkenburg (3-3) took the loss in the circle for the Hawkeyes. She allowed four runs — two earned — and four hits in her 1.2 innings pitched. Whitney threw the final 4.1 innings, allowing four runs — three earned — and six hits. She struck out six, tying her career-high.
Blank went 3-for-4 to lead the Hawkeyes for the second time in as many games and drove in three runs. Zoeller (2-for-3) and Mullarkey (2-for-2) also turned in multiple hit performances. It marked Mullarkey’s first multiple hit game of her career.
“We’ve left too many runners on,” head coach Marla Looper said. “I know we left nine in this game, and we left eight in the first game. When you’re giving up a lot of runs, you can’t afford to leave too many on and that hurt us. We have to find a way to execute and put runners across.”
The Hawkeyes and Badgers meet for the series finale at noon Sunday. Live stats, audio and video links are available on the softball schedule page at hawkeyesports.com.
|Wisconsin 8, Iowa 4||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Iowa (8-15, 3-2)||0||0||1||0||3||0||0||4||11||4|
|Wisconsin (16-13, 2-3)||0||4||3||0||0||1||X||8||10||0|
|W: Steward (WIS) 6-5|
|L: Starkenburg (IOWA) 3-3|