For the second time this season, the Iowa softball team has defeated a top 15 foe.
A six-run second inning got the Hawkeyes out in front and Kayla Massey’s homer in the fifth made sure the lead was safe as Iowa defeated No. 15 Stanford, 7-6, on Friday.
The game was played on the campus of Cal State Fullerton and was part of the Easton Invitational.
“I think our girls did a nice job of scurrying from the airport while getting here, and then finding a way to focus,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “We went into that game ready to attack and not letting any other factor impact us. Unfortunately, we spotted them a couple of runs early, but we attacked the next inning.”
The Cardinal came into the game winners of 10 of their last 11 games and struck first two two-out runs in the first inning.
Iowa answered though in the second inning as Sammi Gyerman lined an RBI single with the bases loaded. One run scored on the play and that run was the first scored on Stanford starter Kelsey Stevens in 38.2 innings pitched this year.
Ashley Akers followed the Gyerman single with a walk that tied the game at 2. The Hawkeyes got another run following a walk by Johnnie Dowling after a pitching change. A third consecutive free run was handed to Iowa during the next at-bat as Bradi Wall was hit by a pitch.
The final two runs were plated by Megan Blank as her two-run single made it 6-2. The six runs were the most scored in one inning this year for Iowa.
“We forced their pitchers to throw a lot of pitches,” said Looper. “We have talked about it before; we have to get runners on so our hits then matter and hurt a little more. That is exactly what happened today.”
Like good teams do, Stanford (14-4) clawed its way back into the game. The Cardinal got another two-out run in the bottom of the second to trim the deficit to 6-3 and then made it 6-5 in the third following a two-run double.
Massey’s homer in the fifth helped herself and gave the Hawkeyes some breathing room.
Stanford got back within one in the bottom of the sixth but Blank and Wall turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the scoring threat.
Erin Ashby was thrown out while rounding third in the final frame following her one-out triple. Massey then got Stanford to pop out to end the game as she recorded her fourth win of the season. The junior allowed four earned runs in seven innings and struck out three.
Iowa is now 9-3 in neutral site games and the Hawkeyes handed Stevens just her second loss of the season. She entered the game with a 0.99 earned run average but only lasted an inning and a third Friday and gave up five earned runs.
Massey finished with a multi-hit game at the plate, going 2-for-4. Blank paced Iowa with two RBIs.
“Kayla Massey did a great job today,” said Looper. “It always helps when you can play both sides of the ball. Kayla is fortunate to be able to do that, and do it well. She gave us a great performance in the circle. We are proud of her.”
Iowa continues action tonight against No. 24 Oregon State. First pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. in Fullerton.