COLUMBUS, Ohio — The University of Iowa softball team completed a two game sweep over Ohio State, winning 7-2 Sunday afternoon|COLUMBUS, Ohio — The University of Iowa softball team completed a two game sweep over Ohio State, winning 7-2 Sunday afternoon at Buckeye Field. The Hawkeyes pounded out 12 hits in the contest, and Kayla Massey scattered four hits in the complete game victory.
Iowa jumped on Buckeye starter Kasie Kelly in the first inning, scoring three runs. Following singles by Johnnie Dowling and Stephanie Ochoa, junior Liz Watkins laced a three-run home run over the right centerfield wall. The home run — her sixth of the season — was her fifth straight hit in the series, as she went a perfect 4-for-4 Saturday.
“Liz has done a great job this weekend,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “She is on fire right now, and we have to continue that streak. She’s made some great adjustments, and we have to continue that success.”
Ohio State plated single runs in the first and second innings to cut into Iowa’s lead. Alicia Herron belted a solo home run to dead center field in the bottom of the first before Melaina Saalfeld’s second inning ground out plated Melissa Rennie, making the score 3-2.
Iowa broke the game open in the top of the third with four runs. Junior Katie Keim opened the frame with a double down the right field line, and Dowling reached on a hit by pitch. Chelsey Carmody plated the first run with an RBI single through the right side to make the score 4-2.
Following an Ochoa groundout, the Buckeyes intentionally walked Watkins to load the bases bringing freshman Michelle Zoeller to the plate. The Wisconsin native delivered with a three-run double into the right center field gap to clear the bases.
Massey then settled in for Iowa, as she retired eight straight batters over the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The Buckeyes put runners on base in the sixth and seventh innings, but the Hawkeye freshman pitched her way out of the jam en route to her ninth victory of the season.
Massey scattered four hits in the victory, and she finished with three strikeouts. The complete game was her 10th of the season and lowered her ERA to 2.77.
“Kayla did a really good job of putting the ball on their hands,” said Looper. “We saw yesterday they have some pop and if you put it anywhere over the plate they’re going to do a nice job with it. Kayla was able to settle in and spot the ball on the corners.”
Four Hawkeyes tallied multi-hit games on the day; Keim (2-4, 1 run), Dowling (2-3, 2 runs), Ochoa (2-4, 1 run) and Brianna Luna (2-4). Luna connected on her first career home run in the third inning, but she was credited with a single and called out at second when she missed the bag rounding the bases.
Iowa (18-12, 2-0) returns to action Wednesday afternoon at Western Illinois beginning at 4 p.m.