ONLINE EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE BY MATTHEW GOGERTY
After winning their last three games, the Bulldogs’ streak game to a screeching halt with a pair of losses to close-proximity opponents.
They hosted the Creighton Bluejays at home on Tuesday night, losing 4-0. They went to Iowa City Wednesday to face the Hawkeyes, and narrowly lost 8-7 in an extra inning walk off.
Kailee Smith took the mound Tuesday night against the Creighton Bluejays. She threw all seven innings, with eight strikeouts, and gave up only five hits. It was a near identical matchup between her and Creighton pitcher, Sydnee Eck, who had 10 strikeouts and gave up only five hits.
However, it seemed like an unusual display offensively for the Bulldogs. Coming into this game they had won 11 of their last 12 and were averaging 7.2 hits for their last five games. They just couldn’t find their rhythm against Eck in this game, and they didn’t make the most of the five hits they got, with nobody else reaching base for the Bulldogs.
Sophomore Kailee Smith pitched all seven innings for the Bulldogs and only gave up two earned runs, although four Drake errors allowed another two runs to score.
The game ended 4-0, handing the Bulldogs to their first loss at home since March 22 against South Dakota State.
Pitcher Nicole Newman feels that the team struggles more in midweek games, having fallen into a pattern of playing on weekends.
“Those midweek games, we’re so used to playing on the weekends,” Newman said. “And it’s definitely different, on the weekends we don’t have any class.”
The Bulldogs hit the road following the loss at home to face in-state rivals, the Iowa Hawkeyes. It was a true fight for the finish, with pitchers dominating the early game and hitters lighting up the scoreboard in the end. The Bulldogs had 12 hits total, to the Hawkeye’s seven.
In the first inning the Bulldogs were able to get three hits and a run in the first inning, with Megan Sowa bringing in the RBI. The third inning however, began the back and forth between the two teams.
The Bulldogs brought runner home during their at bat in the top of the third, this time with Taryn Pena getting the RBI, giving the Bulldogs a two run lead. But the Hawkeyes had a big inning in the bottom of the third and were able to tie it up with two runs on three hits.
The tie didn’t last long though.
In the top of the fourth Kennedy Frank hit a two-RBI double. This brought the score to 4-2, and the Bulldogs were able to hold Iowa in check until the seventh inning.
The Hawkeyes had a big rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Where they were able to drive in two runs on a game extending home run. Again, one of the runs was unearned on account of a Drake error.
In the top of the eighth the Bulldogs were able to answer back with a rally of their own. It started with an RBI-single to right field from Kaitlyn Finneran that drove home pinch runner Melissa Schlotzhauer. A triple to center field from Tasha Alexander drove home another two runs.
But, the Bulldogs couldn’t hold the Hawkeyes in the bottom of the eighth. The Hawkeyes were able rally once more.
A one-out walk loaded the bases for the Hawkeyes with the score 7-6. A second walk tied the game at 7-7.
The next batter grounded out to second base, but the runner was able to score for the walk off. Final score: Iowa 8, Drake 7.
Nicole Newman pitched all 7.2 innings of the game, striking out five. She gave up eight runs, but only four of them were earned, errors dooming the Bulldogs for the second straight game.
The Bulldogs came back home that weekend for a three game series against the Missouri State Bears, where they were able to snag a single win. Check back in print on April 25 for a recap of those games and Drake’s doubleheader against Northern Iowa from April 19.