April 3, 2015
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Redshirt sophomore Sammi Gyerman knocked a single, double, triple and a homerun to hit for the cycle and set career-highs with six RBIs and four hits to lead the University of Iowa past Illinois, 15-7 after five innings, in game one of the Big Ten Conference series Friday.
“That’s what Sammi has been doing for us for a good chunk of the season,” head coach Marla Looper said. “She’s calm, cool, and collected in the box and it showed tonight.”
Following the win, the Hawkeyes improve to 12-28 overall and 3-6 in conference action, while the Illini drop to 12-21 on the season and 3-4 in league play.
The Hawkeye offense got off to a hot start early, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring nine runs in the bottom of the first for a 9-0 advantage. The first eight hitters for Iowa reached base, four on walks, two on hit by pitches, and two on hits from the bats of Gyerman and junior Whitney Repole to kick start the rally.
After the Fighting Illini recorded two outs, Gyerman and senior Megan Blank delivered back-to-back triples to add four more runs. It was Gyerman’s second in as many games and the 11th of Blank’s career, which ties her for seventh all-time.
Illinois rallied within two, scoring six runs in the top of the second and adding another in the top of the third, but the Hawkeye offense continued to push.
Gyerman delivered a solo home run in the bottom of the third before Iowa batted around in the bottom of the fourth to score five more.
Redshirt junior Holly Hoffman opened the frame with a walk and junior Erin Erickson and sophomore Kaitlyn Mullarkey followed with consecutive singles to load the bases. Freshman Sarah Kurtz delivered in the RBI opportunity, driving in two with a single through the right side.
“I’ve never hit for the cycle before,” Gyerman said. “I’ve had games that I had the same mentality, but the outcome wasn’t the same. The ball just ended up going where it needed to go today.”
Blank drove in the fifth run of the inning with a single up the middle, giving the Hawkeyes an eight-run advantage.
Redshirt sophomore Shayla Starkenburg and the defense took it from there, retiring the Illini in order in the top of the fifth to key the run rule and secure the, 15-7, final victory. Starkenburg (10-16) posted the complete game win in the circle. She struck out two and allowed seven runs on 11 hits.
Gyerman paced the Hawkeyes offensively with a perfect performance (4-for-4) at the plate and six RBIs. Blank (2-for-3) and Mullarkey (2-for-2) also turned in multiple hit performances. Kurtz, Repole, and Blank joined Gyerman with multiple RBI efforts.
“We did great,” Gyerman said. “We were being consistent. Everyone came up clutch today. Coach Adam Arbour talks about being clutch in timely situations, and that’s what we did.”
Game two of the series is set for 2 p.m. (CT) on Saturday at Pearl Field. It is the Third Annual Awareness Game, and fans who bring a donation will receive free admission.
|Iowa 15, Illinois 7 (5 innings)||1||2||3||4||5||R||H||E|
|Illinois (12-21, 3-4)||0||6||1||0||0||7||11||0|
|Iowa (12-28, 3-6)||9||0||1||5||X||15||12||0|
|W: Starkenburg (IOWA) 10-16|
|L: Vecvanags (IL) 6-8|