Hawkeyes Storm Back on Opening Day
Feb. 8, 2013
HOUSTON -- The University of Iowa softball team opened its 2013 season on Friday afternoon, splitting two games on the first day of the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic. The Hawkeyes won a wild second game, scoring four runs in their last at bat to down Texas State, 5-4. Iowa fell to Lipscomb in the opener, 4-0. Both contests were held at Cougar Softball Stadium on the campus of the University of Houston.
In the second game, Iowa trailed 4-1 entering the top of the seventh. With one down, junior Brianna Luna singled to left. Freshman Holly Hoffman followed, launching her first career home run to left center to cut the Bobcats' lead to 4-3. Classmate Whitney Repole drew a walk, before senior Johnnie Dowling singled to second, putting runners at first and second.
Sophomore Megan Blank stepped in, launching a go-ahead, two-run double off the right field wall to give the Hawkeyes a 5-4 lead they would not relinquish.
"I had talked to coach (Stacy May-Johnson) about the adjustments I needed to make," said Hoffman. "I made the adjustments and everything fell into place. It was the best feeling. You cannot describe it, especially, coming from behind. It changed our momentum; everyone was ecstatic."
"The hitters finally started making some adjustments," said UI head coach Marla Looper. "Holly did a really nice job. Whitney (Repole) came in and did a great job as a pinch-hitter, earning a walk.
"It was fun to see. That is what I expect of this team. I see it all the time, and I would like to see it again tomorrow."
The Hawkeyes put the first run on the board. Dowling led off the contest with a single to right field. With two away, Dowling stole second, and senior Bradi Wall walked. Junior Kayla Massey singled to right field to bring home Dowling and give Iowa the early 1-0 advantage.
The Bobcats responded and took a 3-1 lead, scoring single runs in the bottom of the first, second and third innings off Hawkeye starter Chelsea Lyon. Texas State extended its lead to 4-1 with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, before Iowa won the contest in its final at bat.
Lyon earned the win, throwing a complete seven innings. The senior allowed seven hits, and three earned runs. She struck out one.
Texas State starter Anne Marie Thomas took the loss. She allowed eight hits and five earned runs.
"I was a little disappointed early on," said Looper. "We sat back and let the game come to us, instead of playing the game the way we can. We put ourselves in a hole a few times. Fortunately, I am proud of the way we came back and earned that second win."
In game one, the Bisons struck first in the bottom of the third, pushing across two, two-out runs to grab a 2-0 lead. Lipscomb extended its lead to 4-0 with two more tallies in the next inning. The Bisons used a sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout to grab a four-run lead after four innings.
Tanner Sanders limited the Iowa offense, holding the Hawkeyes to two hits in seven complete innings. Massey started in the circle for Iowa. The junior took the loss, tossing six innings. She allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits. She struck out two Bisons.
The Hawkeyes return to action tomorrow in the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic. Iowa plays host Houston at 2 p.m. The Hawkeyes conclude the day at 7 p.m., facing No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette.
"Our pitching has to be sharper tomorrow," said Looper. "We need to get more groundouts and not walk as many. Defensively, we have to attack the ball. Offensively, we have to adjust early. If that is the case, we will put ourselves in a good position."