April 20, 2014
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By JIL PRICE
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa softball fell to Michigan State, 4-0, in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. The loss gives the Spartans their first series win over the Hawkeyes since 1999.
Following the loss Iowa moves to 13-25 overall and 6-11 in Big Ten play, while Michigan State improves to 12-29 overall and 4-13 in conference action.
“The short game killed us again,” head coach Marla Looper said. “That’s what has hurt us all year long. When we won on Wednesday of this week, we bunted all day long. We were successful and we got runners in scoring position. Today, we didn’t do that.
“We didn’t give ourselves a chance to win today. We didn’t make any adjustments from when we saw (Spartan starting pitcher Kelly Smith) two days ago. We continue to make her look really good because we don’t make the adjustments we need to. That’s pretty frustrating. We’re a better ball club than what’s being put on the field.”
After the teams traded zeroes in the first and second innings, Michigan State put a run up in consecutive innings to pull ahead of Iowa, 2-0. Consecutive singles started the rally for the Spartans in the top of the third and Lindsey Besson capitalized on the situation with an RBI single to center. Michigan State started the top of the fourth with a double and saw its base runner reach third on a groundout. A McKinzie Freimuth single followed, plating the second run of the contest.
In the top of the sixth, back-to-back errors put two runners on base for the Spartans with no outs. Jacquie Reiser laid down a sacrifice and bunt and was thrown out at first, but a the lead runner slid in safely ahead of the throw home adding the third run of the ball game.
Michigan State posted its fourth run of the contest in the top of the seventh. A leadoff single, sacrifice bunt and Besson double scored the run.
The Hawkeyes were limited by Spartan starter Kelly Smith (5-13) for the second time in the series. She held the Iowa offense to five hits in her complete game shutout win. Iowa left six runners on base — five in scoring position.
Brianna Luna singled in the bottom of the first and moved to second base on a Megan Blank sacrifice bunt. In the second, a Whitney Repole single to right and a Kayla Massey walk put two runners on base with no outs. Michigan State ruined Iowa’s sacrifice bunt attempt, getting the lead runner at third base for the first out, then used a fielder’s choice and a groundout to keep the Hawkeyes scoreless.
Luna singled to start the third and made it to second with two outs, but the Spartans were once again able to survive the inning collecting a strikeout.
Iowa was retired in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but were able to string some hits together in the top of the seventh. Singles from Repole and Erin Erickson put runners at first and second with one away. Alyssa Navarro laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both into scoring position with two away but a strikeout ended the Hawkeye comeback effort and the contest, 4-0, in favor of Michigan State.
Massey (7-14) took the loss in the circle. She allowed four runs — three earned — and eight hits in her complete game effort with two strikeouts. Luna and Repole led the way for the Hawkeye offense with 2-for-3 performances at the plate. Also adding a hit for Iowa was Erickson (1-for-3).
UI softball is back in action on Wednesday, April 23 at Iowa State. The Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series contest will begin at 4 p.m. (CT).
|Michigan State 4, Iowa 0||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Michigan State (12-29, 4-13)||0||0||1||1||0||1||1||4||8||0|
|Iowa (13-25, 6-11)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||3|
|W: Smith (MSU) 5-13|
|L: Massey (IOWA) 7-14|