March 30, 2014
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By JIL PRICE
MADISON, Wis. — University of Iowa softball won the rubber match of its series at Wisconsin, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon. The Hawkeyes move to 9-15 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten action with the victory.
Iowa has won each of its conference series thus far defeating Illinois and now Wisconsin, two games to one.
Following a scoreless first inning, Megan Blank put the Hawkeyes on the board with a solo home run. It is her first home run of the season and the 14th of her career, which ties her for No. 16 on Iowa’s career list with Debbie Bilbao (1995-98) and Tammy Utley (1996-99).
The Hawkeyes used four free passes — a Whitney Repole walk, Holly Hoffman walk, Kaitlyn Mullarkey hit by pitch and Brianna Luna hit by pitch — to plate their second run of the inning. Luna was credited with the RBI.
After a scoreless third inning, the Badgers reached the scoring column in the fourth. Wisconsin singled, stole second and used a single to right to touch home and cut the deficit in half, 2-1.
The teams traded zeroes in the fifth and sixth, but the Hawkeyes added insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Blank drew a walk and stole a base with one away to start the rally. Erickson reached on an error and pushed Blank up to third base. Whitney Repole came through with a single to center to plate Blank, but Erickson was thrown out at the plate for the second out. Michelle Zoeller followed with a double to the wall in right center to drive in Repole and extend the Iowa lead, 4-1.
The Iowa defense used a Kayla Massey strikeout and a pair of groundouts to end the contest and put the team’s ninth win in the books.
Massey (5-9) earned the complete game win in the circle. She struck out a season-high seven and held the Badger offense to one run and seven hits. Wisconsin starter Cassandra Darrah (10-9) was tagged with the loss.
“Kayla had a good game again today,” head coach Marla Looper said. “She came out knowing they saw her yesterday, but because of her success against them, she was confident in what she could do to them. She paid attention to what she did yesterday, studied them and that’s why she and Holly (Hoffman) were able to come out here and attack them today.”
Repole led the way for the Hawkeye offense with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. Also posting a hit in the contest were Massey (1-for-4), Blank (1-for-2) and Zoeller (1-for-3).
“We got Megan Blank’s home run and got some hit by pitches early to score with bases loaded,” Looper said. “Those little things matter and we talk about that over and over. We don’t always have to get the double off the fence or the huge, rocket shot to the outfield, we just need base runners. That’s exactly what we did today.”
The Hawkeyes return to Iowa City for their home opener on Wednesday, April 2 against Drake. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. (CT).
|Iowa 4, Wisconsin 1||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Iowa (9-15, 4-2)||0||2||0||0||0||0||2||4||5||0|
|Wisconsin (16-14, 2-4)||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||7||2|
|W: Massey (IOWA) 5-9|
|L: Darrah (WIS) 10-9|