Hawkeye softball beats in-state rival Iowa State, 8-3

BY NICK DELAQUILA | MAY 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa softball team won its second-straight game after beating Iowa State Wednesday evening 8-3. Iowa improved its record to 27-23 going into the final series of the regular season this coming weekend.

After losing two of three last weekend to Penn State, Iowa’s offense came alive against the Cyclones.

It was a back and forth affair for much of the game as both the Hawkeyes and Cyclones scored in the first three innings. Iowa State jumped on top early, taking a 1-0 lead before Iowa came back with 2 runs in the bottom half.

Junior third basemen Michelle Zoeller continued to see the ball well — she belted a double off the right-center field wall to plate the first 2 Hawkeye runs. From there, every time the Cyclones scored, Iowa countered.

“It was just timely hitting more than anything,” head coach Marla Looper said. “We got the hits when we needed to, and Michelle Zoeller has been on fire as of late.”

In the bottom of the third inning, the Hawkeyes started to pull away. With the score knotted at 3, starting pitcher Kayla Massey doubled home a run, then first basemen Brianna Luna and left fielder Ashley Akers each tallied RBI singles.

“We started strong, and we’re going to take the win,” Zoeller said. “We’re just kind of going with the flow and doing what we can to win.”

The offense continued to surge in the bottom of the fifth inning as Luna stepped into the box again. This time, she pelted a solo home run off the scoreboard, her first of the year. Luna finished with 2 hits, 2 runs, and 2 RBIs. Johnnie Dowling followed with her second single of the night before Bradi Wall was hit for the 27th time this season — good for first in the Big Ten.

“We were just really focused out there on offense tonight, “ Wall said. “Struggled lately on popping pitches up, so we really just focused on staying on top of the ball and driving it.”

Although the offense was the story of the night, Massey settled down to have a nice outing after struggling early on. She allowed 1 run in each of the first three innings, then shut the Cyclones out the rest of the way. The California native went the distance, giving up only 2 earned runs along the way.

Iowa, which has already clinched the 2012-13 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, extends its lead this season to 16-9. The Hawkeyes have won the last seven events this season between the in-state foes.

Up next for the Hawkeyes is a three-game set at Purdue. Iowa will try to improve upon its two-game winning streak in the final preparation before the Big Ten Tournament.

“It’s nice to have other people step up, other than Megan Blank carrying the load,” Looper said. “We got the hits when we needed to tonight.”

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