Illinois Downs Iowa in Doubleheader

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team dropped a doubleheader to Illinois on Sunday afternoon at Pearl Field, suffering a 5-2 decision in game one and a 7-4 decision in game two.
“We have to continue to fight and plug away,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “We will keep making adjustments. There is an opponent on the other side of the field, and they’re not going to lay down and die. We have to keep scrapping. It’s like a boxing match, and we can’t give up partway through. We didn’t give up today, and I’m proud of our girls for that.”
Game One
Brooke Rozier went 1-for-2 with an RBI, while Claire Fritsch, Cheyenne Pratt, and Kaitlyn Mullarkey were 1-for-3 in game one. Rozier, Fritsch, and Mullarkey each recorded doubles. Shayla Starkenburg suffered the loss, throwing three strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched.
After two scoreless innings, Illinois (22-8, 3-0 Big Ten) took the lead as Nicole Evans hit a two-RBI home run over right field. The Hawkeyes cut into the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Allie Wood reached on an error before scoring on a Rozier RBI double to right center field.
Illinois extended its lead in the top of the seventh with three runs on four hits. Iowa responded in the bottom of the frame as Fritsch hit a double to right center, advanced to third on sacrifice hit by Thompson, and scored on an RBI double by Mullarkey.
Game Two
Devin Cantu was hot for Iowa in game two, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Wood went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run, while Lea Thompson, Angela Schmiederer, Pratt, and Sarah Kurtz also added hits. Allison Doocy took the loss, throwing three strikeouts in 1.2 innings pitched.
The Hawkeyes took the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Mullarkey was hit by pitch and advanced to second on a Cantu single up the middle, scoring on a Wood RBI single to left field.
Illinois took the lead in the fifth frame as Maddi Doan hit an RBI single to right field before Alyssa Gunther hit an RBI single to third.
The Hawkeyes responded in the bottom of the inning. Cantu hit a single and advanced to second on an error by the right fielder before moving to third on a Wood single. Rozier reached first, Wood advanced to third, and Cantu scored on another miscue by the right fielder. Wood scored on a Schmiederer RBI single to left field. Rozier then scored as Pratt hit an RBI single up the middle.
The Fighting Illini re-gained the lead in the top of the sixth inning, scoring on a two-RBI home run by Stephanie Abello and an RBI single by Doan before adding two runs on three hits in the top of the seventh.
“We have to shake this weekend,” said Mullarkey. “We have to come out and have a great week at practice to give us energy going into the next weekend. We have to work get a W in the Big Ten.”
The Hawkeyes (6-20, 0-3 Big Ten) open the series against Purdue on Friday at 5:30 p.m. (CT) in West Lafayette, Indiana. Game two of the series is slated for Saturday at noon, while the series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m.