Hawkeye softball bats prove inconsistent in sweep to Wildcats

Errors were plentiful and hits were few as the Hawkeyes drop a three-game series to Northwestern at home.


Katie Goodale

Pitcher/utility Mallory Kilian up to bat during softball against Northwestern on Bob Pearl Field on March 30, 2019. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 6-2.

Pete Mills, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa softball is in search mode, busy trying to find a missing offense and that ever-elusive first home win.

Northwestern swept the squad in the Hawkeyes’ first full home series of the season, in which Iowa scored only 2 runs in three games. The Hawkeyes dropped to 15-15 overall, 1-5 in the Big Ten. It is winless at home in four matchups.

Opportunities were few and far between on the offensive side throughout the series. Only one Hawkeye — Hallie Ketcham ­­—­­­­­­ reached base in the first game of the series against the Wildcats (March 29). Northwestern’s Danielle Williams pitched a complete game, only giving up 1 hit and striking out 15.

Iowa pitcher Allison Doocy keeps putting the team in position to win, head coach Renee Gillispie said, but the Hawkeyes just don’t get the extra elements they need.

“We have the opportunities and ability to win these games, and we just aren’t finishing them,” she said in a release. “… Northwestern’s hitters are great, and they don’t bite on pitches out of the zone. Doocy did a great job of keeping them off balance.”

Even though Northwestern took down Iowa, 5-0, in the first game, Doocy pitched a complete game, giving up only 2 earned runs. Some Iowa fielding errors were the difference.

The Hawkeyes cleaned up fielding in the second game, but other problems for Iowa lifted Northwestern to another win. Iowa even found daylight on the offensive end, but fire in the Wildcat bats made it a hard day for Doocy, in the circle for a second-straight start.

“Our team came back with a lot of grit and fight,” Gillispie said in a release. “Offensively, we were doing the things right that we needed to — we just came up short.”

Sophomore Aralee Bogar led the rejuvenated Hawkeye offensive effort, with a hit, an RBI, and a walk. It wasn’t enough, though, with Northwestern’s Nikki Cuchran knocking 3 hits and adding 2 RBIs for the Wildcats.

Iowa has shown it has the elements to win the games with top-notch pitching from Doocy and powerful bats from DoniRae Mayhew and Mallory Kilian. But putting the elements together at the same time has proved to be a challenge.

It was a similar problem in the third game of the series, with the Hawkeyes only knocking 2 hits.

In the bottom of the fifth, it looked as if Iowa might finally catch a break with the bases loaded, but it couldn’t convert.

“You see little improvements every day with this team,” Gillispie said in a release. “Today, we had the bases loaded, but we weren’t able to get that key hit. Our outfield is playing great right now, and we are looking to improve on our offense.”

Iowa’s three biggest hitters ­­— Bogar, Kilian, and Mayhew — were held to 3 hits in the series. Iowa has the tools it needs to win but must dig deep to find consistent depth in its lineup.