Iowa softball continues losing skid after sweep by Wisconsin

Iowa softball committed 5 errors in a three-game sweep by Wisconsin this past weekend.


Katie Goodale

Head Coach Renee Gillispie talks with Aralee Bogar (2), Lea Thompson (7) and Mallory Kilian during softball against Northwestern on Bob Pearl Field on March 30, 2019. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 6-2.

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

Hawkeye softball (15-17, 1-8 Big Ten) tacked on three losses to its eight-game losing skid this past weekend after the team was swept by No. 25 Wisconsin in a three-game series in Madison.

Although the final game of the series on Sunday was close, the first two matchups were morbid. Iowa scored only 1 run in the first two games of the series on an RBI single from Mallory Kilian. But the Badgers put 17 runs on the board in the first two days, dismantling Iowa pitchers with 2 home runs and 5 doubles among their 16 hits. The Hawkeyes also committed 5 errors in the first two days of action.

There have been common problems during the eight-game skid, but the lack of offense has been the most prevalent. Iowa scored only 3 runs overall in the series, and it has plated only 8 runs in the last eight games. There have been many missed opportunities; a leadoff double from Aralee Bogar on Sunday, along with a bases-loaded situation on April 5, were both fruitless.

The Iowa pitchers certainly did struggle against Wisconsin, but the Badgers have been doing damage like that all season. The team has put up more than 10 runs in three games this month, twice over Penn State and once over Northern Iowa. Hawkeye head coach Renee Gillispie made it a point to give pitches to younger players on the staff and was happy with the quality despite poor results.

DoniRae Mayhew pitched in the second day of action, and even though she gave up 6 earned runs, Gillispie is happy to have the first-year player getting action in the circle. Freshman Sarah Lehman came in the game for relief after Mayhew pitched four innings.

“DoniRae did a great job in the circle,” Gillispie said in a release. “She worked hard for a few innings, and we are looking toward some of the younger pitchers to come in and win some games for us.”

These stronger looks helped Iowa in the third game, where it made a run at the Badgers. Starting pitcher Allison Doocy had a much better outing, especially after giving up 4 earned runs in five innings on April 5. The junior notched six innings of action with 7 strikeouts against the Badgers.

Five of the 11 Hawkeye hits in the series came on Sunday. But again, not driving in runners and missing opportunities were clear problems; Bogar blasted back a leadoff double in the first pitch of the game, but Iowa stranded her.

Wisconsin is certainly a tough matchup for any team in the Big Ten, but there will be a lot of competitive action all season for the Hawkeyes. To keep up with those opportunities, Iowa needs to hit in the clutch to give it a chance to win future matchups.