Iowa Defeats South Dakota

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team defeated South Dakota, 1-0, on Monday afternoon in game five of the Hawkeye Invitational at Pearl Field. The Hawkeyes went 4-1 in their home opening tournament.
“Today’s win was nice,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “I think being home has been a big help. We’ve been able to find a rhythm and a routine, and we have been able to take care of the ball. When we do that, we have a good chance of success.”
Lea Thompson went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Cheyenne Pratt was 1-for-2 with a run scored. Shayla Starkenburg earned the win, throwing a season-high seven strikeouts in 7.0 innings pitched.
After two scoreless innings, Iowa took the lead in the bottom of the third. Pratt hit a bunt single to the catcher and stole second before scoring on a two-out RBI single from Thompson.
Starkeburg took over from there, retiring four batters and allowing just one hit and one walk in the final four frames.
“Shayla really buckled down towards the end of the game,” said Looper. “She allowed us to play easy defense and to take care of the ball ourselves. It’s nice to see that. I’m proud of the girls and how they played this weekend.
“It’s nice to have momentum as we prepare to face Illinois. They are a formidable opponent in the Big Ten, and it’s always a good matchup. They come in swinging and they come in running, so this weekend really prepared us for that type of opponent. It’s going to be good to hit conference play on Friday night.”
The Hawkeyes (6-17) open Big Ten play against Illinois on Friday at 5:30 p.m. (CT) at Pearl Field. Games two and three of the series are slated for Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon, respectively.