WACO, Texas — The University of Iowa softball team opened its 2012 season with an 11-0 run-rule, five inning victory over Wichita State on Friday afternoon at the Getterman Classic.
The Hawkeyes jumped on the Shockers early, plating all 11 runs in the first three innings. Iowa sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning en route to scoring five runs. Senior Liz Watkins’ RBI double down the right field line scored freshman Megan Blank before senior Katie Keim laced an RBI single to right field to knock in Ashley Akers.
Watkins then crossed the plate on the throw following Keim’s steal of second base and sophomore Kayla Massey ripped a double over the WSU centerfielder Rachel Milnark’s head to make the score 4-0. Freshman Sydney Reynolds scored Iowa’s final run after pinch running for Massey.
“I was pleased with how we came out and attacked them that first inning,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “We talked about getting three outs, coming back in and scoring early. We did a nice of job putting five on the board.”
The Hawkeyes plated two additional runs in the second inning and four in the third. Massey had a sacrifice bunt in the second frame to score Watkins, and sophomore Brianna Luna’s sacrifice fly to center field knocked in Keim.
“It’s always great as a pitcher to have the offense have your back,” said junior pitcher Chelsea Lyon. “It’s not as if you take a step back, but you have a cushion and are ready to go out there.”
In the third, Blank drew a one-out walk before eventually scoring on an illegal pitch. Akers crossed the plate on Luna’s fielder’s choice and Watkins scored on Michelle Zoeller’s RBI single through the left side.
Lyon was superb in her first start of the season, allowing two hits in the complete game shutout. She finished with one strikeout in five innings of work with zero walks.
“Getting that 1-2-3 in the first inning, sets the tone,” said Looper. “The best thing is Chelsea had no walks. When you’re putting them on for free, that’s when things happen.”
Akers and Keim led the Iowa offensive attack, each tallying multi-hit games. Akers went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Keim was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Massey had two RBIs out of the designated player position.
Iowa (1-0) returns to action tonight, facing seventh-ranked Baylor at approximately 7 p.m. Fans can listen to the game free of charge at www.baylorbears.com.
“The biggest game is the one we’re playing now,” said Looper. “This morning, that was that game. We’ll get our minds right, and playing Baylor is the biggest game we’re playing this year. We’re playing them one game at a time.”