Freshman Liz Watkins hit her team-leading seventh home run Tuesday night.
April 7, 2009
IOWA CITY - The University of Iowa softball team picked up its 30th win of the season Tuesday night, defeating intra-state rival Iowa State, 7-1 at Pearl Field. The win gave Iowa an additional two points in the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series, running the total to 21-4 in favor of Iowa. The UI has already clinched this year's Cy-Hawk Series.
"We came out very aggressive today, both offensively and defensively," Head Coach Gayle Blevins said. "We put a constant amount of offensive pressure on Iowa State with baserunners in every inning. It was good to bounce back with a solid win like this, but we need to play like this tomorrow night as well."
Junior Amanda Zust kept the Cyclone offense in check, picking up her 16th win of the season. Zust threw 6.1 innings and gave up only one earned run on four hits with three strikeouts. Iowa State's hitters were unable to lift the ball of Zust, who induced 13 outs from the infield, including eight from second baseman Chelsey Carmody.
The Hawkeyes opened up the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Freshman Liz Watkins doubled down the left field line and was lifted for pinch-runner Rachel West. Junior Katie Brown drove in the first Iowa run with a double to center, plating West. This is the third year in a row that Brown has driven in a run against the Cyclones. As a freshman and sophomore, Brown drove in the game-winning runs. Brown advanced to third on a passed ball later in the inning and scored on a single by freshman Missy Mazur.
Iowa blew the game open in the fifth frame by putting up a five-spot. The first Hawkeye run came on a unique play, as junior Taylor Leichsenring attempted a bunt that was fielded by the Cyclone third baseman. The throw skipped in front of the base and caromed off the fence behind first, rolling all the way to the warning track in right field. The speedy Leichsenring was already rounding second before a Cyclone fielder could grab the ball, and scored easily with no throw being made.
Senior Sam Heinzman kept things rolling with a pinch-hit single, and Watkins added to her team-leading home run total with a two-run shot over the right field fence. Watkins now has seven round-trippers on the season.
Mazur kept the inning alive after reaching on an error and scored one batter later off a pinch-hit triple by sophomore Jenny Schuelke. Iowa State starting pitcher Rachel Zabriskie then tossed a wild pitch, and Schuelke hustled home for the final run of the inning.
Iowa State made things interesting in the top of the seventh, but couldn't plate more than one run. After Zust gave up two walks and barely hit a batter with a pitch, Katie Harms recorded a fielder's choice RBI for the first Iowa State run. Another Iowa State single loaded the bases, and senior Brittany Weil relieved Zust in the circle. Weil managed to get a fly ball to senior Erin Riemersma at shortstop for the second out of the inning, and then struck out the final batter looking to end the game.
Watkins and Brown each had two hits, while Watkins added two RBI to lead Iowa at the plate.
The Hawkeyes return to action Wednesday when they travel to Western Illinois. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.