Iowa Drops Twinbill to Nebraska

March 25, 2015

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IOWA CITY, Iowa —The University of Iowa softball team dropped a doubleheader to Nebraska at Pearl Field on Wednesday. The Huskers recorded a 12-2 (6 innings) run-rule victory in game one, before registering a 16-7 win in game two to sweep the Big Ten series.

Iowa drops to 10-24 overall and 1-4 in Big Ten action after the doubleheader, while Nebraska improves to 17-12 overall and 5-0 in conference play.

“We continue to fight at the plate, but we need to be better offensively and defensively to be behind our pitchers,” said head coach Marla Looper. “In game two I think we did a much better job of that.”

Nebraska reached the scoreboard first in game one. The Huskers used a single, three doubles and a walk to plate four runs and take an early 4-0 lead.

The Hawkeyes got one back in the bottom of the first. Freshman Cheyenne Pratt drew a leadoff walk and senior Megan Blank followed with a single through the right side. With two outs, junior Whitney Repole and sophomore Alyssa Navarro drew back-to-back walks to plate Pratt and narrow the Husker lead, 4-1.

The Huskers struck again in the top of the second. Nebraska used a triple to right and a double down the right field line to extend their lead to 5-1.

After trading zeros in the third, Iowa added its final run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Navarro started the inning with a single to right, and freshman Allie Wood followed with a double to right. Junior Erin Erickson took advantage of the RBI opportunity with a grounder to second to plate Navarro and pull within three runs of the Huskers (5-2).

It was all Nebraska from there. The Huskers added two runs on three hits in the top of the fifth and five runs on three hits and an error in the top of the sixth to secure the run-rule victory.

Ashley Yoways (2-9) took the loss in the circle. The freshman allowed 10 earned runs on 13 hits and walked two. Junior Jillian Navarrete pitched an inning in relief, allowing one earned run on one hit and a walk.

Nebraska 12, Iowa 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Nebraska (16-12, 4-0) 4 1 0 0 2 5 12 14 0
Iowa (10-23, 1-3) 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 4 1
Game Decision
W: Lockman (NEB) 9-7
L: Yoways (IOWA) 2-9

The Husker bats stayed hot in game two. Nebraska plated four runs in the top of the first. The Huskers drew a leadoff walk before sending back-to-back singles to center to take a 2-0 lead. Nebraska catcher Steph Pasquale followed with a two-run home run to left center to give the Huskers a 4-0 lead. Nebraska added two more runs in the top of the second on a walk and a two-run blast to extend their lead to 6-0.

The Hawkeyes got two runs back in the bottom of the second. Navarro started the rally with a single to left center, and Erickson and freshman Angela Schmiederer followed with back-to-back doubles to narrow the Husker lead to 6-2.

Nebraska added another run on a solo shot to right in the top of the third, before the Iowa bats came to life in the bottom of the third. Blank led off the inning with the 53rd double of her career, a new school record. Repole trailed with a walk before freshman Allie Wood sent the third home run of her career over the center field wall. Two batters later, Schmiederer sent a solo blast –her first career home run — to center to pull the Hawkeyes within a run of the Huskers (7-6).

“As a pitcher I wouldn’t want to face [Blank] very often,” said Looper. “Megan is a quality ball player, and she continues to do what she needs to do to help our team. That is what is on the forefront of her mind. She is a great kid and a great ball player.”

After a scoreless fourth, Nebraska plated five runs in the top of the fifth. The Huskers used two walks, a hit by pitch and a MJ Knighten grand slam to take a 12-6 lead. Nebraska added two more runs in the sixth on three hits and an error to take an eight run lead (14-6).

Iowa avoided the run-rule loss by plating a run in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Kaitlyn Mullarkey drew a walk, before sophomore Claire Fritsch singled through the left side. Blank reached on an infield single to the catcher before Repole sent an RBI single through the left side.

Nebraska added two more runs in the top of the seventh to secure the 16-7 victory.

Navarrete (0-1) took the loss in the circle. She allowed six earned runs on four hits and walked two. Yoways pitched five innings in relief, giving up eight earned runs of 11 hits. The freshman walked five.

Blank, Navarro and Schmiederer each had two hits for the Hawkeyes. Schmiederer and Wood led the team with three RBIs a piece.

“Nebraska is a quality ball club,” said Looper. “They keep playing. You tip your hat to them, but now it’s time for us to shake this off and head to Michigan this weekend.”

Iowa continues Big Ten Conference action with a three-game series on the road against No. 4-ranked Michigan on March 27-29.

Nebraska 16, Iowa 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Nebraska (17-12, 5-0) 4 2 1 0 5 2 2 16 15 0
Iowa (10-24, 1-4) 0 2 4 0 0 1 0 7 11 2
Game Decision
W: Jablonski (NEB) 1-3
L: Navarrete (IOWA) 0-1