May 4, 2014
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Down one run in the bottom of the seventh with one out remaining, Erin Erickson delivered a two-run, walkoff home run over the left field wall. The long ball gave the University of Iowa softball team a 3-2 win over Ohio State and secured head coach Marla Looper’s 100th career win.
“I told myself when I was walking up to just put the ball in play,” Erickson said. “I got into a good count, saw she was struggling a little bit and knew I was going see something more over the plate. It felt good, but I didn’t know it was over until I turned at first.”
“This 100th win is not about me, it’s about the team,” Looper said. “It says a lot about the team and the program since myself and my staff have been here. We’ve continued to uphold the tradition that Iowa softball has had. It puts us in a different league. I think it’s a stepping stone and that we’re going to get to 200 a lot faster than we got to 100.”
The Hawkeyes loaded the bases in the first on a Megan Blank single, Whitney Repole single and Kayla Massey walk with two away, but the Buckeyes were able to halt the Iowa offense with an inning-ending strikeout.
After an Iowa miscue allowed Ohio State to score a run for a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, the Hawkeyes put runners in scoring position again in the bottom half. Erickson opened the frame with a single, but the Buckeyes got her out ruining Michelle Zoeller’s sacrifice bunt. On a Claire Fritsch single, Zoeller got caught in a run down and was called out sliding into home for the second out. The Buckeyes closed the inning with a pop out to keep Iowa off the board.
Iowa and Ohio State traded zeroes in the third and fourth before the Buckeyes added their second run in the top of the fifth. After a Hawkeye double play put two outs on the board, Ohio State drew a walk and plated a run with back-to-back singles to extend its lead, 2-0.
Iowa got a run back in the bottom half of the fifth when Blank opened the frame with a double and came around to score on a Massey double to left center. The run cut the deficit in half, 2-1. The Hawkeyes were able to get a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth after Fritsch reached on an error and Brianna Luna singled up the middle, but could not push a run across.
The Hawkeyes retired the Buckeyes in order in the top of the seventh and had three outs to rally back for a win. Repole opened the frame with a double off the wall in center and moved to third base on an Alyssa Navarro sacrifice bunt. With one out remaining, Erickson knocked a ball out of the park to secure Iowa’s 3-2 walkoff victory.
“She was cool as ice up there,” Looper said. “There was no doubt in my mind she was going to hit that ball in a solid way for us to score. The home run is just icing on the cake.”
With the win, Iowa improves to 16-29-1 overall and 9-14 in Big Ten play. Ohio State drops to 28-24 overall and 13-10 in conference action.
Blank was a perfect 3-for-3 to pace the Hawkeyes at the plate, while Erickson was the walkoff home run hero with a 2-for-4 performance and two RBIs. Repole (2-for-3) also turned in a multiple hit performance and Massey posted an RBI.
Massey (10-16-1) went the distance in the circle throwing a complete game in her final career appearance at Pearl Field. She struck out one and held Ohio State to two runs — one earned — on seven hits.
No. 8 seed Iowa will challenge No. 9 seed Illinois in round one of the Big Ten Tournament in Evanston, Illinois. The contest is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. (CT) on May 8 and will be shown live online by the Big Ten Digital Network. To view the full bracket, visit the 2014 Big Ten Softball Tournament Page.
|Iowa 3, Ohio State 2||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Ohio State (28-24, 13-10)||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||2||7||1|
|Iowa (16-29-1, 9-14)||0||0||0||0||1||0||2||3||11||1|
|W: Massey (IOWA) 10-16-1|
|L: Hursh (OSU) 5-8|