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Softball caps 1-4 weekend with loss to No. 2 Oregon

BY CHARLIE GREEN | MARCH 09, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa softball team lost, 2-1, to No. 2 Oregon on Sunday at the Judi Garman Classic, capping off a dismal 1-4 weekend by nearly getting a signature win.

The team dropped to 7-15 with the loss after leaving eight Hawkeye runners on base.

“Oregon is one of the top teams in the country,” head coach Marla Looper said in a release. “But the Iowa team that showed up on the field today can play with any team in the country. That’s the team we have talked about. We’ve got to bring that every day.”

The Hawks struck first in the contest, scoring their lone run in the bottom of the first inning. With the bases loaded after back-to-back singles from freshman Cheyenne Pratt and sophomore Sammi Gyerman, senior Megan Blank was hit by a pitch for the team’s lone run batted in.

Oregon added runs in the second and third innings and proceeded to shut the Hawkeyes out for the remainder of the ball game.

Gyerman and Kaitlyn Mullarkey each notched 2 hits for the Hawks, but Allie Wood left five runners on base.

Sophomore ace Shayla Starkenburg took the mound for the Hawks, giving up the 2 runs on 8 hits and striking out 4. With the loss, she falls to 5-9 on the season.

“Other than two walks, I think she threw really well,” Looper said in a release. “She settled in and took command of them. When she threw pitches that they could contact, our defense played behind her.”

Neither Iowa nor Oregon committed an error in the game, but Hawkeye hitters did strike out 9 times, compared with just 4 for the Ducks.

Oregon’s small-ball tactics proved to be the difference in the game. In the second, they used two sacrifice bunts to tie the game. In the third, they stole two bases as they took the lead for good.

After losing their first three games of the weekend, the Hawkeyes defeated Cal State Fullerton, 12-11, before giving the Ducks all they could handle.

Next weekend, the Hawks are scheduled to travel to Norman, Oklahoma, for the Oklahoma Tournament, which will run from Saturday through March 16.

“We have to get back at it this week and sharpen up some things that cost us some ball games this weekend,” Looper said in a release. “We need to do that this week in order to go into Oklahoma and take care of business.”

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


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