April 6, 2014
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — With the game tied in a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh inning, the University of Iowa softball team scored a run on a Nicole Bond wild pitch to record the 4-3, walk off win over No. 23/RV Northwestern.
The Hawkeyes avoid the sweep with the win and move to 10-18 overall and 5-4 in Big Ten action. It is Iowa’s first victory over a ranked foe this season. Northwestern drops to 22-9 overall and 5-4 in conference play after the loss, but win the series, 2-1.
“As streaky as we’ve been, we have been able to fight back and continue to give ourselves chances,” head coach Marla Looper said. “They did a nice job early on limiting our base runners. We just needed to be patient, get that base runner and that’s when we exploded. We have the ability to do that all the time, I just wish we wouldn’t wait so long to do it.
“It’s nice to get a home win and to finish the weekend with a better taste in our mouths. And we did it against a quality ball club. There’s a reason why they play the way they do. They score a lot of runs. We just had to do a better job and score more than they did, and we did that today.”
Wildcat leadoff hitter Emily Allard singled to open the game and stole second base to reach scoring position. The team’s second consecutive single off the bat of Mari Majum put runners on the corners. A Northwestern double steal allowed a run to score and provided an early 1-0 advantage.
Northwestern added its second run in the top of the third. Consecutive singles from Allard and Majum started the inning. The Hawkeyes recorded an out then tried to end the inning with a double play, but could not turn two. Allard snuck home on the play to make it 2-0 Northwestern.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Iowa offense came charging back in the fifth. Michelle Zoeller drew a one-out walk, and Erin Erickson followed with a single to give the Hawkeyes their first hit of the game. Alyssa Navarro plated Zoeller with a double to right center to ruin the Wildcat shutout bid. After Luna drew a walk to load the bases, Claire Fritsch came through with a clutch two-RBI single to left field to push the Hawkeyes ahead, 3-2.
Iowa kept its advantage until a Hawkeye error in the top of the seventh with two outs allowed Northwestern to plate the game-tying run.
Brianna Luna led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to right center. After a Northwestern pitching change, Luna moved to third on a Fritsch sacrifice bunt. The Wildcats elected to intentionally walk Megan Blank to get to Kayla Massey who was hit by a pitch in her at bat to load the bases. With Holly Hoffman at the plate and one out on the board, a Bond wild pitch got by the catcher, allowing Luna to slide in, score the game-winning run and give the Hawkeyes their 10th win of the season, 4-3.
Massey (6-10) earned her sixth complete game victory of the season for the Hawkeyes. She struck out six and held the Wildcats to seven hits and three runs — two earned. Northwestern starting pitcher Kristin Wood (11-4) took the loss in the circle. She allowed four earned runs and dished out six walks in her six innings pitched. Bond threw the final 0.1 inning of the contest.
Four Hawkeyes recorded a hit in the ball game including Luna (1-for-3), Fritsch (1-for-3), Erickson (1-for-3) and Navarro (1-for-2). Fritsch drove in two runs, while Navarro plated one.
Iowa softball continues its home stand with a Tuesday doubleheader against Minnesota at Pearl Field. First pitch is set for 3:05 p.m. (CT). The contests will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.
|Iowa 4, #23 Northwestern 3||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Northwestern (22-9, 5-4)||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||3||7||1|
|Iowa (10-18, 5-4)||0||0||0||0||3||0||1||4||4||2|
|W: Massey (IOWA) 6-10|
|L: Wood (NU) 11-4|