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Softball takes weekend series at Purdue

BY CHARLIE GREEN | APRIL 20, 2015 5:00 AM

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Iowa softball is gaining some ground in the Big Ten standings.

After taking two of three in West Lafayette, Indiana, against Purdue over the weekend, the Hawks improved to 16-33, 7-10 in the conference.

“Especially after the Wisconsin series win, it gives us some big momentum,” junior Erin Erickson said. “You can’t count us out; we’ve upset some great teams.”

The team clinched the series with a 5-1 victory in the second game of a double-header on April 18. After dropping the initial game 4-1, the Hawks used a steady offensive outing and a dominant performance from a red-hot Shayla Starkenburg in the circle to stifle the Boilermakers.

“It was nice to see the team come out and bounce back after the first game today,” head coach Marla Looper said in a release. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win in Game 1, but we came back and took care of business in Game 2 to take the series.”

Starkenburg allowed 1 earned run on five hits in the series finale. In two games over the weekend, the redshirt sophomore recorded a 0.50 ERA in 14 innings. She also notched 12 strikeouts.

And her dominance was much needed.

In the series opener on April 17, the Hawks mustered just 1 hit — a hit that could not have come at a more opportune moment.

After Purdue hurler Lill Fecho walked sophomore Sammi Gyerman in the sixth, senior Megan Blank blasted the eventual game-winning home run to cash in on Starkenburg’s brilliance.

“Megan finally made an adjustment and attacked a pitch that was in the middle of the zone and attacked it really well,” Looper said in a release. “It was nice to have Sammie on with a walk right before her so it did a little more damage.”

Iowa’s hitting continued to lag in the second game. With freshman Ashley Yoways in the circle, the offense put up just 1 run on four hits in the loss.

Purdue used four pitchers in the final game, walking Hawkeye batters eight times and allowing six hits. Blank went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while freshman Cheyenne Pratt went 2-for-3 with a run scored.

The series win is the second consecutive for the Hawks, who now stand at ninth place in the Big Ten. Falling to 6-9 in conference play, the Boilermakers slid into 10th.


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