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Hawkeyes Claim 4-2 Win Over Liberty
In the second meeting in two days between Iowa and Liberty, it was the Hawkeyes who came out on top, 4-2, Saturday afternoon, at the Stetson Classic in DeLand, Fla.
The Lady Flames defeated Iowa, 3-1, Friday afternoon.
With the loss, Liberty drops to 6-4 on the year, while the Hawkeyes improve to 10-10.
The Hawkeyes struck first, scoring a run in the top of the first. After Michelle Zoeller was hit by a pitch and stole second, she scored on a single up the middle by Chelsea Carmody to give Iowa a 1-0 advantage.
Liberty matched that in the bottom of the first frame, as Sammi Shivock ripped a one-out double to left, then moved to third when Jenny Law singled to the opposite field. Shivock then scored to tie the game, 1-1, when Ashley Bensinger reached on a fielder's choice, and Law was tagged out on her way to second.
Starting pitcher Tiffani Smith got into a jam in the top of the second, as Katie Kroeger led off with an infield single, and kept running to reach second. After stealing third, Nikki Gentile drew a walk to put runners on the corners with no outs.
That's when the Lady Flames' defense came up big, as catcher Bensinger picked off Kroeger at third, and caught Gentile stealing on the same play. The contest stayed tied at 1-all.
Liberty made a threat in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with nobody out. Kaylee West reached on an error by the second baseman, and moved to second when Kelly Strickland singled up the middle. Bridgett Woods was up next, reaching on a fielder's choice with a bunt to the pitcher.
But the Lady Flames couldn't manage to score, as two straight infield grounders made for force outs at the plate, and pinch hitter Keely McMillon grounded out to shortstop to end the inning with the game still tied.
The Hawkeyes broke away in the top of the fifth, when cleanup hitter Liz Watkins ripped a two-run homer over the center field fence. Those two runs, combined with Katie Keim's run on a Chelsea Carmody single, gave Iowa a 4-1 advantage.
Liberty managed to put runners in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth. West led off with a double to left, followed by a Strickland walk. Both runners advanced when pinch hitter Jill Stephens grounded out to first, but they stayed stranded, as pinch hitter Grace Nordan grounded out and Amber DePasquale flied out to right.
Shivock stepped up to bust her first career homer, a solo bomb to left, in the bottom of the seventh. It wasn't enough, as Iowa walked away with the 4-2 win.
Smith (3-2) suffered the loss in the circle, giving up seven hits and fanning one batter in 4.1 innings. Relief pitcher Alyssa DiMartino gave up two hits and no runs in 2.2 innings of work.
Iowa's Kayla Massey improved to 6-3 with the win, giving up seven hits and striking out two Liberty batters in the complete-game appearance.
The Lady Flames were led by Shivock, who was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Law was 2-for-4 and Strickland was 2-for-2 at the plate.
Carmody paced the Hawkeyes, batting 4-for-4 with two RBIs in the contest.
The Lady Flames conclude round-robin play at the Stetson Classic later this afternoon, taking on the host Hatters at 4 p.m.