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SOFT: Iowa Evens Series with 5-1 Win Over Michigan State
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Hawkeye softball evened their series with the Spartans, recording a 5-1 win at Pearl Field on Saturday afternoon. Iowa raises its records to 13-24 overall and 6-10 in Big Ten play with the victory, while Michigan State drops to 11-20 overall and 3-13 in conference action.
The Spartans were quick to reach the scoring column, scoring a run in the top of the first. After a one-out walk, Sarah Gutknecht doubled to plate a run and give her team the 1-0 advantage.
The Iowa offense got the run back in the bottom half of the inning. Brianna Luna reached on an error, advanced to second on a Claire Fritsch sacrifice bunt and came around to score on a Holly Hoffman single to right field. It marked Hoffmans fifth RBI of the year and knotted the contest, 1-1.
After trading zeroes with the Spartans in the second, the Hawkeyes rallied for their first lead of the ball game in the bottom of the third. Kaitlyn Mullarkey opened the frame with her fourth career double and advanced to third base on a Luna fly out to deep center. Fritsch ripped her second career triple to plate Mullarkey then came home to score on a Megan Blank single to right field.
In the bottom of the fourth, Iowa tacked on a pair of insurance runs to extend its lead, 5-1. Erin Erickson started the drive with a single up the middle and moved into scoring position on an Alyssa Navarro sacrifice bunt. Michelle Zoeller singled then stole a base to put runners on the corners for Luna, who reached on an error that allowed both runners to touch home.
Michigan State left 13 runners on base but could only score one in the contest, ending the game, 5-1, in favor of the Hawkeyes. Shayla Starkenburg (4-8) was the complete game winner in the circle. She struck out four, and allowed one run on seven hits.
Unfortunately we gave up a first inning run and put that runner on base with a walk. They found a way to come around and score, head coach Marla Looper said. Defensively, we stayed behind Shayla, and we forced them to leave 13 on, which is huge when we only left four on. We didnt have that many on base. We scored a few.
Shayla was able to battle through it and let her defense play behind her. She had a couple key strikeouts and we were able to put a few more runs up to give us a little bit of a cushion.
Hoffman was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate to pace the Iowa offense. Also adding hits for the Hawkeyes were Fritsch (1-for-2), Blank (1-for-3), Erickson (1-for-3), Zoeller (1-for-3) and Mullarkey (1-for-2). Fritsch, Blank and Hoffman each drove in a run in the contest.
The rubber match of the series between Iowa and Michigan State will begin at 1 p.m. (CT) at Pearl Field in Iowa City. The first 100 kids through the gates will receive a free Iowa softball drawstring bag. An egg hunt and autograph session will follow the contests completion.