May 2, 2015
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team scored six runs in the final four innings, but could not complete the comeback in game two of its home series against Northwestern on Saturday. The Wildcats recorded the 11-6 victory and leads the series 2-0.
The Hawkeyes drop to 16-39 overall and 7-15 in Big Ten play following the game, while Northwestern improves to 27-19 and 14-7.
The Wildcat offense faced all three Hawkeye pitchers, but continued to produce throughout the game to earn the win. They started on a high note, plating four runs on five hits in the top of the first inning for an early 4-0 advantage.
After starting pitcher Ashley Yoways and the Hawkeye defense sent their opponent down in order in the second, the Wildcats returned with hot bats to add a pair of runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Jillian Navarrete relieved Yoways in the circle in the top of the fourth after two Wildcats reached to open the frame. She faced two batters before giving way to Shayla Starkenburg, who threw the final four innings in the circle.
Facing an 8-0 deficit in the bottom of the fourth, Erin Erickson woke up the Hawkeye offense with one swing of the bat. She hit her second home run of the season and the sixth of her career to put Iowa on the board.
Sarah Kurtz followed with a single, but was out at second on a fielder’s choice on the next play. With a runner at first Claire Fritsch sent a single into left field. After a passed ball moved runners into scoring position, Sammi Gyerman drove in a pair of runs with a single to left to cut the deficit to five runs, 8-3.
After Northwestern added a pair of runs in the top of the fifth to go ahead 10-3, Iowa continued to rally at the plate in the bottom half. Holly Hoffman and Kaitlyn Mullarkey drew consecutive walks and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Allie Wood and Erickson recorded back-to-back RBI singles to deliver for the Hawkeyes.
The Wildcats pushed a run across in the top of the sixth, but once again, Iowa answered in the bottom half. Fritsch and Gyerman opened the frame with consecutive singles. After a fielder’s choice out, Mullarkey drew a walk to load the bases for Wood, who recorded an RBI on a walk to bring the score to 11-6.
Neither team reached the scoring column in the seventh, ending the game 11-6 in Northwestern’s favor. The Wildcats also won the series, as they defeated Iowa, 1-0, in game one on Friday.
Four Hawkeyes — Fritsch, Gyerman, Wood, and Erickson — posted two hits in the contest, while Gyerman, Wood, and Erickson each drove in a pair of runs.
Yoways (2-16) was tagged with the loss in the circle. She allowed eight earned runs on nine hits in her three innings pitched. Navarrete faced two batters, allowing a hit and a walk, while Starkenburg allowed three earned runs on five hits and struck out four in her four innings.
Game three of the series is set for 1 p.m. (CT) on Sunday.
“We’re going to look at taking tomorrow’s game and attacking it,” head coach Marla Looper said. “We didn’t do a very good job of attacking offensively at times today; we let the game come to us instead of taking care of business. If we can adjust our mindset, the odds will be in our favor.”
The Hawkeyes will honor shortstop Megan Blank for Senior Day following the contest.
|Northwestern 11, Iowa 6||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Northwestern (27-19, 14-7)||4||0||2||2||2||1||0||11||15||3|
|Iowa (16-39, 7-15)||0||0||0||3||2||1||0||6||10||0|
|W: Duehr (NU) 1-2|
|L: Yoways (IOWA) 2-16|