No. 19/23 Gophers Defeat Hawkeyes, 9-2

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team dropped a 9-2 decision to No. 19/23 Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at Bob Pearl Field. Minnesota clinched the series victory with the win.

“We knew they were going to want to punch first after yesterday’s game,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “We gave them too many opportunities, which made it hard for us to get back in it.

“We didn’t quit though, we could have been done in five and our girls weren’t going to allow that. It all started with our senior leadership. I’m proud of them for that, and we’re going to come out ready for tomorrow.”

The Golden Gophers got the bats going early, plating eight runs over the first three innings. Minnesota plated two runs in the top of the first on an error, and three singles, before scoring five more in the second on five hits. The Golden Gophers added to their lead in the third, using a hit by pitch, walk, fielder’s choice, and an RBI groundout to take an 8-0 lead.

After a scoreless fourth, Minnesota added another run in the fifth. A single, double, and RBI groundout increased the Gopher lead to 9-0.

The Hawkeyes fought back in the bottom of the fifth, plating two runs to avoid the five-inning run-rule. Senior Whitney Repole was awarded first after a hit by pitch. Senior Haley Hansel followed, legging out an infield single before a throwing error moved her to third and allowed Repole to score. Sophomore Cheyenne Pratt kept the rally alive, reaching on an error by the Minnesota pitcher that plated Hansel and pulled the Hawkeyes within seven, 9-2.

Iowa put the leadoff batter on in the seventh, but could not plate another run as Minnesota held on to win 9-2.

Shayla Starkenburg (4-15) was credited with the loss. She allowed six runs — four earned — on six hits and a walk. Freshman Erin Riding allowed a pair of runs — one earned — on two hits and a walk in relief, while junior Elizabeth Wiegand held Minnesota to just one earned run on three hits in the final five innings.

Five seniors started the game for the Hawkeyes, including Hansel who registered her first start of the season in right field. Hansel also registered a hit and scored a run in the contest.

The Hawkeyes (13-38; 3-19) and Golden Gophers (37-12; 18-3) round out the three-game set tomorrow. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. (CT) from Bob Pearl Field. Iowa’s six seniors will be honored following the game.

Minnesota 9, Iowa 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
#19/23 Minnesota (37-12; 18-3) 2 5 1 0 1 0 0 9 11 3
Iowa (13-38; 3-19 ) 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 5 1
Game Decision
W: Anderson (MINN) 8-4
L: Starkenburg (IOWA) 4-15