IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team used a sixth inning sacrifice fly to claim a 4-3 victory over Iowa State Wednesday night at Pearl Field in the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series. |IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team used a sixth inning sacrifice fly to claim a 4-3 victory over Iowa State Wednesday night at Pearl Field in the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series.
“It was key to end this game with a victory,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “We’ve been struggling a little bit in mid-week games. We got a good lead early, but then we gave them three runs. Anytime you give more chances they’re going to take advantage of it.”
After getting out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the second inning, Iowa struck first. Chelsey Carmody led off the frame with an infield single before stealing second to move into scoring position. Liz Watkins was the second Hawkeye to reach base in the inning, drawing a one out walk.
With two outs, senior Jenny Schuelke cleared the bases for the Hawkeyes, drilling a 2-2 pitch over the left center field fence to put Iowa on top 3-0. The home run was Schuelke’s fourth of the season.
“Jenny saw a good pitch, and she put a good swing on it,” said Looper. “I was thankful for that.”
Iowa starter Chelsea Lyon cruised through the third and fourth innings, retiring the Cyclones in order, but the sophomore ran into trouble in the fifth. Cassie Habben singled to lead off the frame before Iowa State proceeded to load the bases on a pair of Iowa miscues at second base.
The Cyclones then used patience at the plate, drawing a pair of bases loaded walks to make the score 3-2. Iowa made a call to the bullpen, and the move paid off, as Kayla Massey struck out Erica Miller before getting a pop out and ground out to end the inning.
In its next at-bat, Iowa State tied the score at three via a squeeze bunt. Erin Johnson tripled off the right field wall to lead off the frame before Habben knocked her in the RBI sacrifice bunt.
Iowa answered in its at-bat in the sixth. Watkins led off the inning with a double before advancing to third base on a passed ball. The heady base running paid off, as Michelle Zoeller’s sacrifice fly to left field with one out proved to be the game-winning RBI.
“Luckily Liz was heady on the bases to get to third,” said Looper. “Had she not been there, that fly ball would have been for not.”
Massey allowed two hits in three innings of relief to notch her 12th victory of the season. The freshman struck out four of the nine batters she faced.
Iowa (25-16) next heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a weekend series against top-ranked Michigan. Saturday’s opening game is set to begin at 5 p.m. (CST).