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Hawks go 3-1 on weekend

BY JORDAN HANSEN | MARCH 02, 2015 5:00 AM

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After losing eight-straight games coming into this past weekend’s games, the Iowa softball team rebounded in Florida, posting a 3-1 record at the Central Florida Doubletree/Radisson Invitational.The Hawkeyes started off hot on Feb. 27 as they beat Long Island-Brooklyn, 10-2, in five innings and then downed No. 17 Central Florida, 3-2, in the second game of the afternoon.

Winning against Brooklyn ended their eight-game streak in explosive fashion; the Hawkeyes were finally able to muster up some serious offense, which at times been hard to find so far this season. Junior Erin Erickson was the star of that game, totaling 4 RBIs on two hits.

“In pregame, I was working on getting my timing down with my swing and felt good,” Erickson said in a release. “I saw the ball really well in the game and was happy with how it went.”

The game was only the third time this season that Iowa has registered 10 or more hits.

The solid offensive output carried over to their next game, as the Hawkeyes totaled 6 hits and took down a ranked Central Florida squad.

“I liked the fight that they had,” Iowa head coach Marla Looper said in a release. “They had great energy coming off of game one, came out after a rest, and jumped on them. It was nice to see that.”

Princeton jumped all over Iowa the next day, beating the Hawkeyes, 10-2, in five innings of play. The Tigers scored 8 runs in the bottom of the fifth and the game was called after the end of the inning.

To make matters worse, their afternoon game against Florida A&M was moved to Sunday morning and their fifth game of the weekend was canceled.

However, Iowa responded well, beating the Rattlers 2-0 behind a complete-game one-hitter from pitcher Shayla Starkenburg.

While the Hawkeye offense was not quite as solid as it had been earlier in the weekend, a career-high 9 strikeouts from Starkenburg helped offset the slow offensive day.

“The biggest thing I was trying to do was keep the batters off balance,” she said in a release. “Angela [Schmiederer] did a good job calling behind the plate, working inside and outside and taking advantage of their weaknesses.”

While pitching has been a bit of a struggle for Iowa so far this year, Starkenburg has carried the load and will likely have to keep doing that.

When the Hawks do pitch well, they can win a number of games, but finding that consistently will be important for Iowa, something Looper feels very strongly about.

“When they did get runners on, she was able to hold them at bay at either first or second,” Looper said in a statement. “She kept them from being a scoring threat. She still needs to be better at pounding the zone and going after hitters, but when she took command of the zone and her pitches, she had a lot of success.”

Follow @JordyHansen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa softball team.


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