Wildcats Top Iowa in Series Finale
April 8, 2012
"I was proud of how the team came back and continued to battle," said UI head coach Marla Looper. "Unfortunately, we got ourselves in a hole early by not taking care of the ball, a lot of free passes, and they capitalized on it. We have to get back to work in taking care of what we can and be a little better coming into the weekend."
The Hawkeyes dug themselves a hole in the first inning, committing three errors, which led to five unearned Northwestern runs. The Wildcats' lone hit of the frame was an RBI single by right fielder Olivia Duehr. NU then pushed its advantage to 6-0 with a single run in the second, courtesy of an RBI single up the middle by third baseman Marisa Bast.
"We let that snowball a little bit and got it into a big boulder, instead of keeping it as a small tiny one," said Looper. "We did this early on, but we were able to make some adjustments and fix it."
The Wildcats threatened to end the game early, plating four runs in the fourth inning to build a 10-0 lead. Sammy Albanese had a two-run single to knock in the first two runs before the second two runs scored when Andrea DiPrima reached on Iowa's fifth error of the contest.
The Hawkeyes avoided losing via run-rule by plating five runs in the top of the fifth inning. Freshman Melanie Gladden started the rally with a single before junior Ashley Akers and freshman Tor Hawley drew one-out walks to load the bases. Freshman Megan Blank then followed with a bases clearing, three-run triple into the right centerfield gap to make the score 10-3.
With two outs, senior Katie Keim had an RBI single to knock in the Hawkeyes' fourth run before junior Kayla Massey followed with a single to right field. Junior Bradi Wall then hit an RBI double off the base of the wall in left field, making the score 10-5.
"I don't think the word quit is in our team dictionary," said Looper. "It's nice to know as a coach, but it's hard when you get down too far. It's challenging to keep coming back."
After NU stretched its lead to 12-5 in the fifth off a two-run Bast long ball, Iowa plated its sixth run in the top of the sixth. Following a pinch hit walk by Nikki Gentile and a sacrifice groundout by Ashley Akers, junior Johnnie Dowling had an RBI single up the middle to make the score 12-6.
Junior Chelsea Lyon suffered the loss, allowing 10 runs (four earned) in 3.1 innings pitched. She had one strikeout to five walks and three hit batters in the game.
Keim paced the Hawkeyes, going 2-for-3 to tally her 13th multi-hit game of the season. Blank went 1-for-3 with a run and three RBI.
Iowa returns to action on Saturday, April 14, hosting Nebraska in a doubleheader at Pearl Field. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. (CT).