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Hawkeye softball lets lead slip away late, falls to Buckeyes 6-3

[ 0 ] May 2, 2014 |

By Matt Cozzi
HawkCentral.com

Six outs to go.

The Iowa softball team carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning, but Ohio State struck for four runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to win 6-3.

Ohio State posted four runs on five hits in the top of the sixth. Highlighted by Evelyn Carillo’s solo home run just below the scoreboard in center field, the inning was the dagger for Iowa (15-28-1, 8-13 Big Ten).

“We looked like we were in control, but to me, we were coasting instead of continuing to stay on the attack,” Iowa coach Marla Looper said. “That’s what happens to us sometimes. We get comfortable instead of staying in an aggressive mindset. … We gave them a big inning.”

The Hawkeyes scored first, scoring one run in the bottom of the first. Whitney Repole’s grounder to the left side rolled underneath the glove of Ohio State third baseman Anna Kirk, allowing Megan Blank to score from second.

Iowa took a 2-1 lead in the fourth after Ohio State tied the game at 1-1 in the second. Kayla Massey led off the frame with a double, advanced to third on Claire Fritsch’s sacrifice bunt and then scored on Erin Erickson’s bunt single. The Hawkeyes scored another run in the sixth, but that was all they could muster, leaving six runners on base overall. Holly Hoffman led the lineup, going 3-for-4.

“We popped our own bubble a few times (on offense), but you have a lot of the game left to be able to make up for it,” Looper said.

Massey went seven innings in the circle, allowing six runs on 12 hits while walking two and striking out seven. The right-hander faced the minimum three batters in the third and fourth before stymieing a 2-out rally in the fifth. The Buckeyes had runners on first and second, but Massey induced No. 3 hitter Cammi Prantl to ground out.

But the sixth inning was a whole different story — and ultimately too much to overcome — as eight Buckeyes stepped to the plate.

“It’s been the same thing we’ve dealt with this whole season, and we’re still trying to figure it out,” Hoffman said. “We get caught up in the snowball effect a lot. One error leads to another, and so on. We need to be better at just cutting it off before it gets out of control.”

Friday night was an opportunity to move up in the Big Ten standings for Iowa. Ohio State (27-23, 12-9) entered 2.5 games ahead of the Black and Gold, one slot above Looper’s squad in league play. Ohio State has now won seven games in a row while the Hawkeyes have lost the last two.

The Big Ten Tournament is next weekend in Evanston, Ill.

“We have a chance to come out the next two days and find out a way to be better,” Looper said. “We’ve talked since day one of me being in this program, ‘How can we be better today than we were yesterday?’ That’s going to be our goal tomorrow. How are we going to be better?”

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