Softball faces challenges in Golden Land


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

Aralee Bogar gets a nice introduction from her teammates before their game against Iowa State Saturday, Sep. 30, 2017. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

The Iowa softball team will take the field in Fullerton, California, this weekend for a full slate of games at the Judi Garman Classic.

The squad will face Stanford at 2:30 p.m. today, followed by Cal State-Fullerton at 9:30 p.m. On Saturday, the team has Cal Poly at 2 p.m. and Louisiana-Lafayette at 7:30 p.m. The Hawkeyes will cap the weekend with a March 4 game against Baylor at 11 a.m.

Head coach Marla Looper’s team is coming off an off-week, giving the players time to prepare for some talented lineups.

Before the Hawkeyes’ off-week, they had a successful outing at the Texas A&M Invitational, in which they won three of five games and nearly topped sixth-ranked Texas A&M. A passed ball in the third inning was the difference between extra innings and an Aggie win.

“Every time we’ve stepped on the field so far, we’ve gotten better,” Looper said. “That game was proof that we can be on the field with anybody in the country, and the next step will be to control some of those ‘controllables’ so then we win that game with anybody in the country.”

The week has given the Hawkeyes time to focus on their weaknesses and prepare for the challenges the Garman Classic poses.

“We’re working out the kinks in our team, the things that aren’t going so well,” freshman shortstop Aralee Bogar said. “We know what our weaknesses are, and we know how to fix it now.”

Iowa will have to fend off a 10-7 Stanford squad that is hitting .394 as team and adds a staff 2.49 ERA.

Fullerton is 6-8, but 4-1 at home, while Cal Poly is 7-7 overall. Lafeyette pounded Iowa in their first meeting this season on Feb. 11. The Ragin’ Cajuns poured on 9 runs behind 11 hits, Iowa could not respond, and bingo, 9-0.

Since that poor outing, Iowa’s pitching has improved immensely. At the A&M Invitational, three Iowa pitchers threw complete games: Lauren Shaw, Erin Riding, and Allison Doocy. Doocy has emerged as the figurehead of Iowa’s softball team with her strong pitching outings. She has posted a 2-2 record but has a 2.01 ERA, keeping the team close with the likes of Texas A&M.

“Our mentality is a lot better,” Doocy said. “We’re using our mistakes to push forward and get better. We’re going to use our losses and wins from this weekend to better ourselves for the rest of the season.”

Even with strong pitching, Iowa’s bats will need to be hot to take down this weekend’s strong talent. The team has adopted a new mentality in the box this season, Looper said.

“This season, our mindset is just attack every pitch,” she said. “Every strike we see, we just go after it, and that’s been working really well so far this season. If you’re struggling, go back to the basics. If you see a ball, just attack it.”

In their last outing, the Hawkeyes scored 11 runs behind 12 hits against Tulsa on Feb. 18.

“We want to put up as many runs as we can, and we know that if they can hold them to as few runs as possible and we put up a couple, we’re going to be fine,” Bogar said.









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