Iowa softball wins three-straight in a road series over Purdue

BY NICK DELAQUILA | MAY 06, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa softball team stayed hot over the weekend, concluding its regular season by winning five games in a row and six of its last eight. The five-game winning streak matches a season high for Iowa.

Iowa swept the three-game set against Purdue this past weekend with an 8-2 victory on Sunday. The win came after Iowa won the first two games of the series — 2-0 on May 3 and 4-3 on May 4.

Both of the earlier games went into extra innings, where Iowa is now 4-0 this season. The series sweep over the Boilermakers also gives the team momentum heading into the Big Ten Tournament Thursday, something head coach Marla Looper said builds confidence in the players.

“It was huge to get this sweep,” she said. “This home stretch, we needed to get some wins; I think we can take some of this momentum and take it into the first competition Thursday.”

Iowa improved to 30-23 overall, 8-15 in conference play and earned the No. 9 seed in the tournament.

Junior third basemen Michelle Zoeller continued to swing well over the weekend in West Lafayette — she launched her second home run of the season to give the Hawkeyes an early 2-0 lead in Sunday’s contest.

“[Hitting home runs] feels really good; it shows you’re doing something right,” she said. “It’s kind of nice to get it done early in the game. The past two games, I wasn’t hitting that well, so it’s nice to come out early with a hot bat.”

Sophomore shortstop Megan Blank struggled a bit over the weekend, garnering four hits in 13 plate appearances without recording an RBI. Her performance dropped her season batting average to .436. 

Even though Blank didn’t have the performance she’s used to this season, she said the series against Purdue proved that her team is able to pick up slack if needed.

“I think it was a good team weekend for us; if someone wasn’t able to produce a clutch hit, someone else was ready to take on the workload,” she said. “… It’s a good thing to end the regular season on a high note.”

Junior pitcher Kayla Massey improved to 17-12 on the season after winning Iowa’s final two games on May 4 and Sunday. She pitched 14 innings and allowed just 9 hits. Massey also added two hits in the Sunday contest.

Iowa has now won four-straight league games and is one of the hottest teams in the league heading into the Big Ten Tournament — this after a 4-15 start to conference play.

Iowa will play the No. 8 seed in the tournament. The pairings will be announced later today.

“It’s time for a new season and time to get prepared for a new championship,” Looper said. “We’re excited to get to Lincoln and show the Big Ten we deserve to be there.”

DI Sports Editor Ben Ross contributed to this article.

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