Iowa Softball Team Blanks Hoosiers on Senior Day
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa softball team won its third straight Big Ten series, downing Indiana, 10-0, in five innings on a soggy Sunday afternoon at Pearl Field. Following the game, the Hawkeyes recognized seniors Katie Keim and Liz Watkins for Senior Day.
“I am proud our team for how they came out and got on them early,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “They stayed consistent throughout and continued putting runs up and when the weather started coming in they put a few more up to give us some cushion.
“Katie and Liz have been cornerstones in the program the last four years. Sometimes on Senior Day seniors put a little too much pressure on themselves to go out in style, and neither one of them did that. They went out and played the game and stuck to our game plan. We’ll miss them, but we’re not done yet.”
The victory improves Iowa’s record to 23-24 overall and 12-6 in the Big Ten, while Indiana falls to 24-25 overall and 8-10 in conference play.
The Hawkeyes wasted little time getting their bats going, putting three runs on the board in their opening at-bat. Junior Johnnie Dowling singled to left field to leadoff the game before stealing second to move into scoring position. Freshman Megan Blank followed with an RBI double into the left centerfield gap to make the score 1-0.
Clean-up hitter Keim then drilled a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right centerfield to stretch Iowa’s advantage to 3-0. The long ball was the senior’s team-leading eighth home run of the season.
Iowa doubled its lead and then some in the third inning, pushing four runs across the plate. Blank reached on an error to start the frame before Keim followed with walk to put two runners on base. Watkins and freshman Melanie Gladden then had consecutive RBI singles before sophomore Malloree Grove ripped a two-run double into the left centerfield gap, making the score 7-0.
The Hawkeyes plated their final three runs in the fourth inning. After loading the bases with one out, Blank scored the eighth run on a throwing error by IU shortstop Shelby Gogreve when she was trying to get the force out at the plate. Sophomore Michelle Zoeller then laced the first pitch she saw into the right centerfield gap for a two-run double, stretching Iowa’s advantage to 10-0.
With a steady rain falling in the top of the fifth, UI starter Kayla Massey pitched around a one-out walk before starting the 1-6-3 double play to end the contest. The sophomore tossed her first career two-hitter in notching her fifth complete game shutout of the season. Massey had two strikeouts to two walks in picking up her 12th victory.
“She has had some success, and is starting to find her grove,” said Looper of Massey. “She did a nice job dealing with the elements. It is hard to not let it faze you, but she got us the ground ball outs when we needed her to, and she was able to turn one of her own double plays to finish the game.”
Three Hawkeyes finished with multi-hit games. Dowling went 2-for-3 with a run scored, Blank went 2-for-3 with three runs and an RBI and Watkins was 2-for-2 with a run and RBI. Keim went 1-for-2 with a home run, and she drove in three runs and had an RBI.
Iowa returns to action Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, facing Ohio State in a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. (CT).
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