Hawkeye softball can't back pitching with runs

BY BEN ROSS | APRIL 05, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa softball team's bats couldn't back up a complete-game performance from starting pitcher Kayla Massey, and the Hawkeyes failed to score a run in Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Drake at Pearl Field.

Massey (7-8) recorded 7 strikeouts in 7 innings of work, giving up just 6 hits and no earned runs to the Bulldogs.

"Everything was working pretty well; I had to go right at them." Massey said of her pitch quality. "I stayed pretty steady throughout the whole game for confidence. I go into every inning with the mindset as I need to get 1-2-3."

Iowa didn't give Massey any run support, and the squad was held to just 4 hits. The Black and Gold have managed to score just 1 run — coming from a walk-off walk in the 10th inning of a contest against Illinois on Sunday — in the past 17 innings.

Bulldog starter Jordan Gronewold was pulled in the fifth inning in favor of Rebekah Schmidt. Both hurlers used pitches that confused the Hawkeye hitters, and the two combined for 5 strikeouts. Gronewold was also effective at the plate, getting a hit and scoring the game-winning run.

"Even with 6 hits and 7 strikeouts, we should have won." Iowa head coach Marla Looper said. "Pitchers know it's frustrating, but they just have to hold them as long as they can and have faith that our offense will come around at some point. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Unfortunately tonight was one of the don'ts."

The lone Drake run came in the fifth inning. Gronewold scored from third while Hawkeye shortstop Megan Blank hesitated with the ball after catching Nicole Randel in a pickle between first and second. Randel reached first base safely; Blank's throw to home was too late.

Even though the play wasn't listed as an error in the stat sheet, Blank said she thinks it was — and a lapse of her judgment on what to do with the ball.

"It was a huge brain fart; two outs, we need that," Blank said. "We're taught to get the out and get out of the inning. I got a little flustered; I thought the girl got back and thought the girl on third was back."

The game ended when junior Johnnie Dowling grounded out to first, leaving pinch-hitter Michelle Zoeller stranded at third.

Blank said she thinks the production at the plate — or lack thereof — can be attributed to the hitters being impatient. Looper agreed, and said her hitters need to come up to bat with a clear mind.

"It's frustrating when none of them made adjustments as the game went on," Looper said. "With the pitching change, we didn't do anything to make those adjustments either. If you're just sitting and reacting, you're never going to be impatient or anxious.

"When your brain gets involved, usually your body doesn't follow it."

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