DES MOINES, Iowa — Redshirt senior Shayla Starkenburg threw a complete-game shutout as the University of Iowa softball team defeated Drake, 2-0, at Buel Field on Tuesday evening. The win marked Iowa’s sixth straight midweek game victory.
“We do take these in-state rivalries seriously,” said UI head coach Marla Looper, whose team improved to 3-1 against in-state competition this season. “They mean a lot to us and everyone in the state. That’s why we have to go out there with our best lineup on the field.”
Starkenburg (8-11) scattered seven hits over 7.0 shutout innings. The Ankeny, Iowa, native fanned seven batters and surrendered just two walks to earn her eighth win of the season. Drake’s Aryka Knoche (2-6) suffered the loss. Knoche allowed two runs on seven hits in 3.0 innings.
“Shayla threw a nice game tonight,” Looper said. “She wasn’t real sharp early, but she gave us ground balls we could play defense behind, got key strikeouts, and kept plugging away.”
Redshirt freshman Brooke Rozier broke a scoreless tie with a solo blast to center in the top of the second inning. It was the fourth home run of the season for the Jefferson City, Missouri, native.
The Hawkeyes tacked on a run in the top of the third. Freshman Lea Thompson led off the inning with a walk before senior Kaitlyn Mullarkey followed with a single to put runners on the corners with no outs. Junior Allie Wood delivered, sending a sacrifice fly to center and give the Hawkeyes a 2-0 advantage.
Drake threatened in the middle innings, putting a pair of runners on in the third, fourth, and fifth, but Starkenburg and the Iowa defense held to secure the 2-0 victory.
Junior Angela Schmiederer and Rozier led the Hawkeyes at the dish. Schmiederer was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, while Rozier was 2-for-3 with a single and a home run. Junior Cheyenne Pratt (single), Mullarkey (single), and freshman McKenzie Schneider (double) also registered hits for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa (18-29; 8-12) closes out the regular season this weekend, hosting Northwestern in a three-game series. Friday’s series opener is set for 6 p.m. (CT) at Bob Pearl Field.
“We get the opportunity to do something this weekend to set us up for a good spot in the Big Ten Tournament,” said Looper. “We just have to get out there and go play. Friday night is our Pink Game, our Alumni Day is Saturday, and then we will celebrate our seniors on Sunday. It would be nice to have a good weekend of softball to go along with those activities.”