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Messy fifth inning downs Hawks

BY JORDAN HANSEN | APRIL 03, 2015 5:00 AM

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The top of the fifth inning in Thursday’s game against Western Illinois was one to forget for the Iowa softball team.

In 14 at-bats, the Leathernecks scored 10 runs, and the Hawkeyes were forced to use three different pitchers en route to an eventual 11-8 loss. Iowa came into the inning leading 4-1, but after Iowa starter Ashley Yoways gave up 2 runs, she was pulled in favor of Jillian Navarrete.

She then gave up 5 runs, and Yoways went back to the circle and immediately gave up another 3 runs.

“I could have done a few things better, thrown the ball a little lower maybe,” Yoways said. “I was really happy to get another chance to get out there and put some more down, but that didn’t really happen.”

Shayla Starkenburg came into the game to finish the inning and she stopped the bleeding, but Western Illinois didn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the game.

However, not just the pitchers were to blame for the loss, something Iowa head coach Marla Looper was adamant about.

“It started with our defense not talking care of the ball,” Looper said. “If we would have just gotten that first out, it would have been, ‘All right, we got an out,’ but they started some momentum, and we just let it go.”

The play she referred to was third basemen Alyssa Navarro overthrowing Kaitlyn Mullarkey at first, allowing a Western Illinois run to score. That started the mess that followed.

With that said, Iowa’s offense was a bright spot for the Hawkeyes, despite the loss.

Catcher Holly Hoffman hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the third inning, and for the most part, Iowa’s offense was much improved from the game against Drake on Wednesday.

“My first at-bat wasn’t good,” Hoffman said. “My second at-bat I was looking to make adjustments, and I think that’s what a lot of the people on the team were looking to do. Throughout out at-bats we’re trying to make adjustments, and we were just making good contact.”

Iowa tallied 15 hits on the evening, 3 more than Western Illinois, and consistently hit the ball throughout the evening.

Mullarkey also had a good offensive night, hitting a home run in the bottom of the third inning.

“There were some innings where we were good and we were driving the ball well,” Looper said. “But we left way too many on and left way too many runners in scoring position, but we did do a better job of scoring runs tonight.”

The Hawkeyes will have to have a short memory, as the Big Ten foe Illinois comes to town today for a three-game series.

“I think we’re going to come out looking to attack,” Hoffman said. “We’re not scared to play anyone, and I think our offense is going to come out looking like this, and we’re going to look to shut them down.”


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