March 2, 2012
"It comes down to the simple thing of taking care of the ball and being in command," said UI head coach Marla Looper. "When we're ahead, we need to take care and control the ball. We were in control and need to want it in those last innings."
After Oklahoma State cut Iowa's 4-0 lead in half with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, sophomore Brianna Luna connected on a towering, solo home run to left centerfield to give the Hawkeyes a 5-2 advantage.
The Cowgirls responded with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to even the game at five. Kelsey Anchors laced a triple down the right field line, and it caromed into the corner to clear the bases. Oklahoma State loaded the bases a second time in the inning, but Iowa starter Kayla Massey got Chelsea Garcia to ground out to end the threat.
Oklahoma State took advantage of three Iowa errors in the bottom of the eighth to plate the game-winning run. Ari Morrison led off the inning by reaching on a throwing error by UI second baseman Bradi Wall. Morrison then stole second base before scoring the game-ending run via a pair of Hawkeye throwing errors.
The Hawkeyes got off to a quick start, plating two runs in the top of the first. Junior Ashley Akers singled with one out before freshman Megan Blank reached via catcher's interference. With two outs, senior Liz Watkins delivered with a two-run single to right field to give Iowa the 2-0 advantage.
Iowa doubled its advantage in the fourth inning on two hits and a Cowgirl error. Watkins reached on a miscue by Garcia before Luna was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Wall drove in the first run with an RBI single through the left side before freshman Melanie Gladden made the score 4-0 with an RBI single to left field.
"We were doing a good job of being aggressive early, but we need to finish it the rest of the game and not assume a four run lead is going to hold," said Looper.
Massey suffered the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits in 7.1 innings. She had five strikeouts, but issued six walks. The sophomore's record now sits at 4-4 on the season.
Akers had three of Iowa's seven hits in the game, finishing 3-for-4 with a run scored. Watkins was 1-for-4 with two of the team's five RBIs.
The Hawkeyes (8-7) will get a rematch with Oklahoma State on Saturday when the two teams square off at 1:30 p.m. in Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
|#23 OSU 6, Iowa 5 (8 innings)||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||R||H||E|
|#23 Oklahoma St. (7-7)||0||0||0||0||2||3||0||1||6||9||3|
|W: Kat Espinosa (OSU) 3-3|
|L: Kayla Massey (IOWA) 4-4|