Iowa pitchers Lisa Birocci and Ali Arnold each hurled three-hit shutouts in a doubleheader Sunday at Goodman Diamond in Madison as Wisconsin was held scoreless for the fourth consecutive time this weekend. The Hawkeyes (37-19 overall, 14-4 Big Ten) took game one 1-0 and claimed game two 5-0.
The Badgers (27-27, 5-13) have now gone 35 innings without scoring a run. They last dented the scoreboard when freshman Athena Vasquez hit a solo home run in the third inning of their 3-0 win over Loyola-Chicago Wednesday.
In Big Ten play Wisconsin's offensive output has been even more futile: 40 innings without a run, including five consecutive shutouts. The Badgers last conference run came in the fifth inning of a 3-1 loss to Michigan April 25.
The weak hitting has spoiled some spectacular pitching performances. In the first game Sunday, junior Katie Layne pitched seven strong innings, allowing just three hits and two walks. Iowa's lone run: an unearned first-inning tally.
Birocci (17-10) made the run hold up, facing just two batters over the minimum. She did not yield a walk and struck out nine. In the process, the junior set an Iowa single-season strikeout record with 267.
Layne (12-12) has lost her last three decisions, including two this weekend, despite pitching very well. She threw complete games in her last three starts, allowing a total of four earned runs, nine hits and four walks, while striking out 13 in 20 innings. The Badgers, though, scored just one run in those three outings.
Wisconsin freshman pitcher Eden Brock (11-12) had a rough afternoon in Sunday's second game, however. After pitching 9 1/3 innings in a 1-0 loss to Illinois Saturday, Brock allowed five runs, all earned, in 5 2/3 Sunday.
Arnold did her damage at the plate as well as on the mound, pacing Iowa's game-two offense with a 2-for-3 performance and two RBI. She also scored a run.
From the pitcher's circle, the sophomore was even more dominant. She struck out four and walked two, improving to 16-9 this season.