Softball heads into battle in Big Ten play


David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

University of Iowa softball player Angela Schmiederer watches a pitch during a game against the University of Wisconsin on Saturday, Apr. 7, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Badgers 3-0. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

After losing 11 out of its last 12 games, Iowa softball has the tools to finish off the regular season strong going into a potential Big Ten Tournament appearance.

In their victory on April 28 against Northwestern, the Hawkeyes executed everything the coaching staff had been preaching all season.

“Well, we went out, and made adjustments in the box, and played really solid defense, had a good outing in the circle, and took care of what we could control,” head coach Marla Looper said. “When we did that, we gave ourselves opportunities.”

Having all the facets of the game working makes Iowa a dangerous ballclub in the Big Ten, but only if everything remains consistent.

At the forefront of the win at Northwestern was senior Angela Schmiederer, who hit a 2-run triple to begin the scoring for the Hawkeyes.

“It’s definitely not just a one-person thing,” Schmiederer said. “I think we’ve all been willing to get ahead anyway, so it was cool to break it open and keep going throughout the game. I think we had the most hits we’ve had in a while, so we just have to keep building that momentum.”

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This 2018 season, which has been a roller coaster for Iowa, has included wins against numerous ranked teams and tight losses against both nonconference and Big Ten opponents.

The energy and momentum has been key in some of Iowa’s bigger wins, namely in defeating top-10 Baylor and No. 17 Michigan.

That energy was at a low in each loss, but it picked up again against Northwestern.

“I think that’s where we’ve struggled in the past; we’ll have a couple good innings, and then we kind of fall flat,” shortstop Aralee Bogar said. “Keeping our energy up and attacking every inning is going to be a big deal for us.”

Prior to the 10-game losing skid, Iowa was swept by Maryland. Even winning one of those games would have made a difference in standings — the Terrapins are one game ahead of the Hawkeyes.

Strangely enough, the games at Maryland were arguably Iowa’s best losses of the season. The squad turned it around with a sweep of Wisconsin and was back on track.

Fast forward two days to the second game at Nebraska, and the struggles began for all the aspects of the game: pitching, defense, and offense.

Despite falling in 10-straight games before everything improved, to take a game off of any Big Ten opponent is huge.

“All those teams we’ve lost to recently in conference were ranked above us, so for us to take games out of them are not what they’ve expected, it’s what we’re expecting,” Looper said.

As the conference stands going into the final week of the regular season, the Hawkeyes are in 11th with their 6 wins and 13 losses.

Iowa’s last series is at home against 13-39 (4-15 Big Ten) Purdue.

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