Hawkeyes Down Wildcats in 11 innings

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Brooke Rozier hit a walk-off single to lift the University of Iowa softball team to a 7-6, 11-inning victory over Northwestern on Saturday afternoon in game two of the series at Pearl Field.
With the score tied at 6-6 for three extra innings of play, the Hawkeyes scored in walk-off fashion. Lea Thompson reached on a Northwestern error and advanced to second on the play before scoring as Rozier chipped a hit over the shortstop for the game-winning run.
“Our young ladies never stopped today,” said Looper. “They didn’t quit. We allowed the other team to play with us some, but we were able to hold them off in the end. Shayla was tough as nails throughout the whole game.
“We started playing better defense towards the end of the game and then we put the run across in the 11th. It’s exhausting, but that’s how you always want to leave the ball park — tired because you left it all on the field. Our team did that today.”
Shayla Starkenburg dominated on the mound, scattering six hits over 11 innings. She registered 10 strikeouts and only one walk with just two earned runs.
Claire Fritsch went 2-for-4 with a run, while Allie Wood was 2-for-5. Thompson, Rozier, and Angela Schmiederer each added hits.
Trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Thompson smacked a triple to right field and scored as Wood reached on a fielder’s choice to extend the game.
The Wildcats took an early advantage in the top of the first inning when Morgan Nelson hit a sacrifice fly to left field, but the Hawkeyes responded in the bottom of the inning. Cheyenne Pratt walked, advanced to second on a Thompson sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a Kaitlyn Mullarkey ground out, and scored on a passed ball.
Northwestern re-gained the lead in the second frame, taking advantage of two hits and a Hawkeye miscue to score a pair of runs.
Iowa exploded for four runs in the fifth inning. Fritsch single to left field and advanced to third on a Northwestern error. Mallory Kilian was then hit by a by a pitch, while Pratt reached on another Northwestern error to load the bases for Iowa. Fritsch scored on a passed ball before Mullarkey was hit by a pitch and Rozier reached on a fielder’s choice to keep the bases loaded. Schmiederer drove in Rozier, Pratt, and Mullarkey with a single to left field.
The Wildcats jumped ahead again in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs on two hits and a Hawkeye miscue, before Iowa extended the game and then secured the win in the bottom of the 11th inning.
“Going into tomorrow’s game, we have to keep controlling what we can control,” said Looper. We can’t control external factors, but we can control what we do. When we do that, we are able to level ourselves out and take care of business.”
The Hawkeyes (19-31, 9-13 Big Ten) take on Northwestern on Sunday in the rubber match at 1 p.m. (CT). Sunday is Senior Day and Iowa will honor Elizabeth Wiegand, Claire Fritsch, Kaitlyn Mullarkey, and Shayla Starkenburg at the game.