Softball falls to instate rival Drake, 1-0


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Other than a bit of a messy start, Hawkeye pitcher Shayla Starkenburg threw one of her best games of the season on Wednesday in Des Moines.

But it was not enough as the Iowa softball team (11-27) fell, 1-0, to Drake (17-12) in a midweek game.

Starkenburg went the distance, allowing just 1 hit and walking only three.

However, one of those walks and Drake’s only hit came in the bottom of the first inning and ended up scoring the game’s only run.

“We talk to our pitchers all the time about getting that first out of the game,” Looper said. “That lead-off walk can score and, well, it did. Unfortunate for us and fortunate for them.”

Drake’s leadoff hitter, the aptly named Kelsey Walker, got the walk and advanced to second base on a single from the next batter. A groundout moved her to third, and moments later, a play at first base allowed her to come home.

The Hawkeyes got out of the inning without further scoring, but the damage was done.

“You give up 1 walk, 1 run, a hit in the first inning, you think you can come back from it,” Looper said. “We didn’t do a very good job offensively at all; we were pretty anemic — it’s not what we’re used to seeing, and we have to be better, plain and simple.”

Iowa had runners in scoring position in both the third and fourth innings but was not able to get them home. Catcher Holly Hoffman popped up to end the third, and infielder Alyssa Navarro and designated hitter Cheyenne Pratt grounded out to end the fourth.

In a mini seventh-inning rally, Pratt and infielder Claire Fritsch reached base, but center fielder Sammi Gyerman grounded out to end the game.

“We had some hitters in the box that were trying not to fail, that’s what it looked like, but, unfortunately, that’s what they ended up doing,” Looper said. “We were looking for someone to come up there and just attack, and we didn’t really see that today.”

The Hawkeyes finished with 6 hits, but they were spread out and didn’t occur at timely instances.

Drake was the first game of a stretch in which Iowa plays five in five days. Western Illinois will come to Pearl Field tonight, followed by a three-game series with Illinois that ends on April 5.

“We have Western tomorrow, and they’re going to want to come in to our house and put it to us,” Looper said. “We’ve got to attack the game from the first pitch to the last pitch, and if we do what we did today, that’s not attacking the game, and we have to do that tomorrow.”

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

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