U softball swept by Hawkeyes

Michael Dougherty

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.
The Gophers softball team was as far away from heaven as it could possibly be on Tuesday, as it lost both games of a doubleheader against No. 22 Iowa, 1-0 and 2-0, in Iowa City, Iowa.
The 16th-ranked Gophers (33-13, 7-6 in the Big Ten) lost for the fifth straight time, as they were again dominated by tough pitching.
Iowa’s Debbie Bilbao began the day with a 0.97 ERA, and lowered that stat considerably as she limited the Gophers to three hits in 11 innings, notching both wins.
In the first game, the Hawkeyes senior rolled through the Minnesota lineup, giving up only one hit while striking out seven.
The Gophers’ Michelle Bennett, who made her return to the starting lineup after a two-week layoff because of a knee injury, got the only Minnesota hit with a single in the fifth inning.
Despite Bilbao’s dominance, the Gophers blew an excellence chance to tie the game in the top of the seventh.
With one out, they loaded the bases thanks to a walk and two Iowa (26-10, 7-4) errors. However, the next two batters ground out, ending the threat.
Bilbao again started the second game and continued to baffle the Gophers’ hitters.
The 2-0 loss was the third time in the last four games the usually potent Minnesota offense has been shut out.
Steph Klaviter pitched six strong innings of four-hit ball, but wound up on the losing end of the first game to lower her record to 11-8.
Wendy Logue gave up five hits in seven innings in the second game of the double dip. Her loss puts her record for the season at 14-4.
After being a half game out of first place Friday, the Gophers now find themselves tied for fourth place in the conference with Michigan State.
Minnesota travels to Penn State for a three-game series this weekend in hopes of breaking out of its slump.