Softball travels to Maryland with the means to win


Big Ten softball action continues today out East as Iowa takes on Maryland in a weekend series.

Today’s game starts at 5 p.m., with the next two games beginning at noon on Saturday and April 1.

The Hawkeyes are coming off of a midweek sweep against Wisconsin-Green Bay and a loss to Drake. In the loss, head coach Marla Looper learned some things the Hawkeyes need to work on going into the second Big Ten series of the season.

“I think the biggest thing is us making adjustments earlier in the game,” Looper said. “We’re going to see a variety of pitching coming up, as we do every time we step on the field, and not to overthink it, not think too much, but just go up there and do what we do, see ball, hit ball, make it simple, and make things happen.”

The Hawkeye offense struggled in the second game against Green Bay and in the loss to Drake, and it will have to heat up over the weekend to assist the pitching staff.

Sophomore Allison Doocy is 9-5 on the season with a 1.49 ERA, the best of any Hawkeye pitcher appearing in more than 2 innings. She leads the club with 98.2 innings pitched and 113 strikeouts.

RELATED: Drake surges through quiet Iowa softball

Senior Kenzie Ihle is also fitting into her role, winning her second game against Green Bay. She allowed only 1 run on 8 hits in a complete game.

Doocy took the loss against Drake, though, and had some takeaways of her own to improve her performances in the circle.

“We’ve just got to get ahead and stay ahead,” she said. “It was kind of a little shaky there for a bit, but we got back on it, and trusting my defense, they’re there when I need them.”

The Terrapins are 12-20, with a 2-1 Big Ten record after beating Penn State.

Maryland has a couple big components. Skylynne Ellazar owns a .348 average with 4 doubles and 3 home runs. In pitching, Ryan Denhart has scrounged up 63 strikeouts in 106.2 innings with a 2.62 ERA.

Iowa has had a history of playing down to its opponents after proving it can compete with ranked teams. This weekend, it will be important for both the offense and defense to play at the highest level.

At the top of the order, first baseman Mallory Kilian leads the Hawkeyes offensively with a .333 average and, more importantly, a .455 OBP. Having runners on early for Iowa will be critical to restart the offense after it lagged for two games.

Following Kilian are third baseman Sarah Kurtz and center fielder Allie Wood. Kurtz has a .240 average with 11 RBIs, following only Wood and Kilian in that category. Wood leads the Hawkeyes with 5 doubles and 2 triples, and her triples are the first of her career.

Iowa has the means to take down any Big Ten team, as proved with the win over Michigan. However, the question of whether it will rise to the occasion will be a big factor against an unranked conference foe.



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