Softball sweeps Hoosiers

BY MITCH SMITH | APRIL 05, 2010 7:30 AM

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The Iowa softball team seemed to do no wrong against Indiana over the weekend in Pearl Field.

The Hawkeyes (18-13-1, 4-0) remain undefeated in conference play after sweeping the Hoosiers (7-21, 0-2), winning 5-1 on April 3 and by the mercy rule on Sunday, 12-1. And Iowa’s superiority especially showed in the first inning of the teams’ Easter contest.

After senior Amanda Zust shut down the Hoosiers 1-2-3 in the top of the first, the Hawkeye bats exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the opening frame.

The offensive barrage began with a single by Lindsey Digmann, followed by a Liz Watkins triple. The Hawkeyes recorded four more hits in the first frame, including a double by junior Sarah Spiering that cleared the bases and plated three runs.

“We came out with a great purpose,” Iowa head coach Gayle Blevins said. “Defensively, we shut them down right away, and then offensively, we just went to work.”

Eight Hawkeye batters recorded hits, and all nine reached base in the game with six players driving in a run.

Junior Chelsey Carmody went 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead Iowa, and Digmann and senior Taylor Leichsenring each added a pair of hits. Senior Katie Brown drove in two runs as well.

“It’s definitely the best offensively we’ve looked all year,” Carmody said. “It’s awesome to jump on a team like that.”

Watkins remained hot at the plate. The sophomore has tallied 11 hits in her last 15 at bats, and she holds a seven-game hitting streak while batting .750 in Big Ten play.

In the field, the Hawkeyes were flawless on Sunday.

Zust tossed her 13th complete game of the season, striking out four and allowing four hits. She picked up her 10th victory of the season.

Jumping on the Hoosiers from the get-go gave Zust and the defense a lot of added confidence, the pitcher said.

“We play a lot more relaxed knowing that we have an eight-run cushion and knowing that our offense is producing runs for us,” she said.

Iowa’s 5-1 win on April 3 may have added to the relaxation.

Carmody got Iowa going, driving in three runs, and freshman Jordan Goschie added an RBI.

Sophomore third baseman Katie Keim led the Hawkeyes on defense as well.

Freshman hurler Chelsea Lyon continued to demonstrate her potential in the circle, tossing a complete-game and picking up her eighth win in her first Big Ten start. She has allowed zero earned runs over 16 innings in her last three appearances.

The Hawkeyes will face Northwestern in a double-header at Pearl Field on Wednesday. With the next four games at home, Iowa players said they hope to extend the weekend’s momentum into the midweek matchup.

“We know what we’re going to do and how good we are now,” Brown said. “We’re playing really well, starting the Big Ten well, and hitting well going into this week.”

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