If there is a bias against west coast and southeastern NCAA softball teams, no one told the Hawkeyes this past weekend.
The University of Iowa’s softball team went out to the Easton Invitational in Fullerton, California this weekend to be the fifth team in the tournament. The field of Iowa’s opponents included CSU-Bakersfield, the host school Cal-State Fullerton, #24 Oregon State and #16 Stanford.
Instead of getting to play the unranked teams in a warm-up fashion for the ranked teams, the Hawkeyes went head first into the gauntlet and opened up the tournament on Friday afternoon with #16 Stanford. Coming into the game the Cardinals had won 1o of their last 11 games and pitcher Kelsey Stevens had been one of the hottest pitchers in the country. The Hawkeyes scored six runs in the fifth inning and added two more later as they were able to squeak out the upset, 7-6.
Iowa took that momentum into its Friday night game, against their other ranked foe, Oregon State. The Hawkeyes once again got the bats going, plating nine runs on eight hits and Chelsea Lyon got her sixth win in the circle as the Hawkeyes got another upset 9-3. It seemed as though Iowa was just getting warmed up for Saturday.
Saturday morning the Hawkeyes were set to face Cal-State Fullerton on their home field. Kayla Massey pitched a complete game, one-hit shutout and added two RBIs to lead the Hawkeyes to a fourth straight victory, 7-0. After the final pitch of that game, all that stood between Iowa and a weekend sweep was CSU-Bakersfield.
Saturday night brought Lyon back to the circle. A four-run second inning was the catalyst to yet another Hawkeye victory and the Hawkeyes left California with another tournament title. Iowa is back for practice for the week on a five-game winning streak and is now 3-2 on the season against ranked teams.
The Hawkeyes head out to the Miken Invitational in College Park, Maryland this week. They will face St. John’s University and play the host school and future Big Ten conference opponent Maryland on Friday. Saturday will bring Radford University and the Hawkeyes’ first conference game, against Ohio State.