LAKEWOOD — Just like Friday night when Florida International snapped their nine-game winning streak, the 49ers’ bats disappeared when they needed them most against Iowa.
The Long Beach State softball team fell to the Hawkeyes, 3-0, Saturday to drop its second game of the Long Beach Invitational at Mayfair Park. The 49ers stranded eight runners and twice left the bases loaded to end an inning.
Freshman Taylor Petty (6-1) was charged with her first loss of the season. Petty went the distance to record six strikeouts, nine hits and three earned runs.
Hawkeye starter Amanda Zust (6-1) went 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Zust struck out six and held LBSU to three hits before senior Brittany Weil came in to tally the save (2).
“[Petty] kept it down to three runs,” 49er catcher Brandy Reyes said. “She did her job, but you can’t win without scoring runs. We’re getting hits, but they’re just not coming at the right time.”
Reyes was the most successful ‘Niner at the plate, managing to get on base in all three trips to the batter’s box. The junior went 1-for-1 and drew two walks.
“[Zust] was working the corners and hitting her spots,” Reyes said. “She was doing what she’s supposed to do.”
Despite the stellar Hawkeye pitching, LBSU (13-9) was able to load the bases in the second and third innings, but came up empty on both opportunities. The ‘Niners have stranded 19 runners and left the bases loaded to end the inning five times over the last two games.
“We had so many opportunities to put the game away, but the more you struggle, the more you put pressure on yourself,” 49er head coach Kim Sowder said.
The Hawkeyes (14-4) went up 2-0 with two outs in the fourth when pinch-hitter Katie Keim worked a full count and produced a two-run single to drive in Rachel West and Chelsey Carmody.
Iowa added an insurance run in the sixth when shortstop Erin Riemersma added an RBI single to drive in Liz Watkins.
“Taylor pitched well enough to win this game,” Sowder said. “But when you give a team that much momentum, they only need one key hit at the right time.”
The game also gave the ‘Niners a chance for payback after the Hawkeyes bounced LBSU from last season’s NCAA Regional with a 5-3 win in Iowa City.
“We talked about it,” Sowder said. “We got them here at home, but for whatever reason, we didn’t come out attacking.”
The 49ers will attempt to re-group tomorrow with games against No. 3 UCLA and Syracuse to conclude the Long Beach Invitational. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
LBSU and UCLA are both expected to start its sophomore standouts, with the 49ers sending right-hander Brooke Turner (7-4) to the circle to counter the Bruins’ Donna Kerr (11-2).