Iowa Captures Lovelace Title, Falls to OSU in Finale
Feb. 17, 2013
DENTON, Texas -- A furious comeback fell short for the University of Iowa softball team as the Hawkeyes dropped a 4-3 decision to Oklahoma State on Sunday in the finale of the Lovelace Invitational. The loss ends Iowa's four-game win streak. The game was held at Lovelace Stadium on the campus of the University of North Texas.
Iowa (7-3) won the Lovelace Invitational, finishing with a 4-1 mark. The Hawkeyes opened the Lovelace Invite on Friday with victories over Dayton (3-0) and Oklahoma State (3-1, 8 innings). Iowa continued its winnings ways on Saturday, downing Nebraska-Omaha (2-1) and host North Texas (4-1). The Hawkeyes and Mavericks both finished 4-1, but Iowa captured the title by way of its head-to-head victory over Nebraska-Omaha.
"Overall, we had a pretty good performance this weekend," said UI head coach Marla Looper. "I wish we would be the aggressor on day three of a tournament. We came out and earned four victories early. Today was a big one for us; we wanted to come away 5-0 and we didn't. I am not always based on the outcome, but our process was not very good today. We sat back on our heels."
Iowa starter Chelsea Lyon worked out of a jam in the top of the second. With runners at the corners, catcher Holly Hoffman and Lyon connected on a putout at home plate, retiring the runner from third as she tried to advance home. Lyon then coaxed an inning-ending strikeout with the bases loaded to work out of it.
Oklahoma State halted the tie game with a solo home run in the top of the third, grabbing a 1-0 advantage. The Cowgirls added to their lead in the sixth, putting up a three-spot to grab a 4-0 lead.
The Hawkeyes used back-to-back doubles from Johnnie Dowling and Bradi Wall and a sacrifice fly from Megan Blank to cut the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth. Iowa did not stop there. Michelle Zoeller laid down a perfect bunt single, and Oklahoma State's throw to first went wide, scoring two runs.
The Cowgirls took a 4-3 lead into the final inning. Simone Freeman retired the side in the bottom of the seventh, sending Iowa to its only loss of the tournament.
Lyon took the loss. The senior allowed one run on three hits in two and two-thirds. She struck out three. Freshman Micaela Whitney made her third appearance of the season in relief, allowing three runs on four hits in an inning and a third. Kayla Massey made her second relief appearance of the year. She tossed three scoreless innings, allowing no hits while striking out two.
Kat Espinosa started for the Cowgirls. She allowed no runs on one hit in two and two-thirds innings. Freeman earned the win, allowing three runs on four hits in four and a third.
"We have to take care of the ball better and play Iowa softball," said Looper. "We have to be the aggressor and stay on our toes. We have to dictate what we do, not let the opponent dictate what we do, and we need to make adjustments earlier."
Iowa continues action next weekend at the Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Hawkeyes open play on Friday against Winthrop (1:30 p.m. CT) and top-ranked Alabama (6 p.m.).