Hawkeyes down Buckeyes in Columbus, 5-3 in women’s softball |COLUMBUS, Ohio — The University of Iowa softball team won its Big Ten Conference opener, topping Ohio State, 5-3, Saturday afternoon at Buckeye Field.
“It’s nice to come out and get the first win in conference and get it on the road,” said UI head coach Marla Looper, who was victorious in her Big Ten coaching debut. “This conference is tough top to bottom, and to beat someone in their own yard is nice.”
The Hawkeyes used a two out rally in the first inning to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Senior Chelsey Carmody tallied Iowa’s first hit with an infield single before moving up a base when Stephanie Ochoa reached on an error. Junior Liz Watkins plated the first run with an RBI single to left field.
Iowa stretched its advantage to 2-0 with a single run in the third inning. Sophomore Johnnie Dowling walked to open the frame before stealing second to move into scoring position. Watkins was in the middle of the scoring again, as her RBI single up the middle gave the Hawkeyes the two run advantage.
Ohio State tallied its first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth against Iowa starter Chelsea Lyon. After the Buckeyes loaded the bases, Megan Coletta’s fielder’s choice plated OSU’s first run, and the squad’s second run crossed the plate on a Melaina Saalfeld single to right field.
The Hawkeyes answered with three runs in their next at-bat to build a 5-2 advantage. Dowling accounted for the first run when she hit a one-out solo home run to left field, making the score 3-2. Carmody followed with a walk before making her way around the bases on an RBI double to left centerfield by Watkins. Freshman Michelle Zoeller assisted in adding to the lead when her RBI single up the middle plated Watkins.
The Buckeyes cut into the advantage in the sixth inning on a solo home run by Evelyn Carillo. The first baseman hit a towering shot to right field that ricocheted off the video tower overlooking the Ohio State football practice facility.
The Buckeyes threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning by loading the bases with two outs. Lyon, however, struck out Coletta swinging to strand three runners and end the game.
Lyon allowed seven hits in the complete game, while striking out three. She improved her record to 9-8 on the year.
Watkins led Iowa at the plate, as she accounted for four of the team’s eight hits. The Illinois native went a perfect 4-for-4 with three RBI in the contest. Watkins’ four hits are tied for a career high, and they are tied for the most in a single game by an Iowa player this season (Carmody, Ochoa).
Iowa (17-12, 1-0) closes out the series against Ohio State tomorrow afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. (CT).