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Badgers drop series finale with Hawkeyes

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Wisconsin Iowa 4,  Wisconsin 1
Goodman Diamond • Madison, Wis.

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
0 2 0 0 0 0 2 4
 5 0
0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 7
W Massey (5-9) 7.0 7 1 1 1 7
L Darrah (10-9) 7.0 5 4 3 5 4
 Batting Leaders
 • Mary Massei: Two hits
 • Maria Van Abel: Two hits
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March 30, 2014

MADISON, Wis.-- On a windy, sunny afternoon at Goodman Diamond, Wisconsin was unable turn hits and base runners into runs, as the Wisconsin softball team fell 4-1 to Iowa, dropping the weekend series, 2-1.

Despite outhitting Iowa 7-5, the Badgers dropped the series finale after splitting their doubleheader with the Hawkeyes yesterday.

"I give all the credit to Iowa," UW head coach Yvette Healy said. "They're a great team and I think Kayla Massey threw a great game. Their seniors are playing really well and obviously we have to get a little better. But I think you put the credit to them. They just played a great game against us."

A clean first inning for both team's pitchers gave way to a messy second for Cassandra Darrah, as she allowed a leadoff home run, two walks, two hit by pitches and two runs.

The Corydon, Iowa, native finished the day with fours runs, three earned, on five walks, five hits and four strikeouts.

The Badgers (16-14, 2-4) responded with one run in the fourth inning, as yesterday's hero, Marissa Mersch, singled up the middle, swiped second base and scored on Sara Novak's hit into left field.

As Darrah settled in the pitcher's circle, UW pressured the Hawkeyes (9-15, 4-2) to a first-and-second situation with one out in the fifth inning.

Mary Massei led off with a base knock through the hole on the right side. Maria Van Abel then reached on a fielder's choice, slapping a chopper to the short stop who forced Massei out at second. Stephanie Peace poked a floater out down the right field line that landed just fair.

With two on and one out, Massey buckled down to draw two outs from the Badgers four and five hitters, Michelle Mueller and Chloe Miller--a lineout to second and deep fly out to left field, respectively.

"We're still putting a lot of the pieces of the puzzle together right now," Van Abel said. "We're all still working through some things individually in the box. We're a young team. We've made some big improvements, some big strides, so (run scoring) will come. We just have to trust the process and it will all come together."

Up one run entering the final frame, the Hawkeyes added a few insurance tallies to seal the deal in the seventh.

After forcing Massey to ground out to Ashley Van Zeeland at third base, Darrah allowed Blank to reach on a walk. The speedy shortstop quickly stole second and advanced to third following an error by Novak.

With runners on second and third, Whitney Repole singled to center. The lead runner easily scored, but Erickson, trying to score from second base, was tossed out at home plate thanks to a perfect throw-and-tag combination by centerfielder Van Abel and Miller behind the dish.

Michelle Zoeller smoked a fly ball to right center field with two outs in the inning to plate Repole and put the Hawkeyes on top, 4-1.

Massey recorded her fifth win of the year, bringing her season record to 5-9. The senior struck out seven, while allowing just one walk in seven innings of work.

Despite the outcome, UW won't dwell on the loss.

"We saw some really good things within the team," Van Abel said. "We saw some people making improvements, making adjustments, which was really awesome. But we definitely have a lot of work to do to really start playing as a whole. We're getting there."

Wisconsin will head north next weekend to try and get back on track against Minnesota in a three-day series beginning with a 6 p.m. first pitch on Friday.

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