Iowa softball falls to Iowa State despite stellar pitching

A tough performance from the Iowa bats overshadowed a stellar performance from Hawkeye starter Allison Doocy.


Katie Goodale

Pitcher Allison Doocy pitches during softball against Northwestern on Bob Pearl Field on March 30, 2019. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 6-2. Doocy pitched the entire game.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

Softball is obviously a team game, but occasionally it can feel like an intense, back-and-forth tennis match.

That was the case in Tuesday night’s Cy-Hawk battle as both the Iowa and Iowa State starting pitchers dominated the game from start to finish in a 2-0 Cyclone victory.

Iowa ace Allison Doocy was on early in the game, shutting down the Iowa State offense for the first five innings in rather dominant fashion, striking out seven in those innings.

However, everything Doocy did in the top half was matched or bettered in the bottom half by Cyclone pitcher Savana Sanders, who allowed just 2 hits in four-plus innings.

While Sanders made the first four innings look easy, Doocy made things as difficult for herself, allowing the leadoff batter to reach base in six innings

For the most part, the veteran Hawkeye pitcher wasn’t fazed, as she consistently worked her way out of jams, forcing Iowa State to strand nine baserunners.

Everything seemed to work for Doocy. Even though Iowa State got runners on, the Cyclones still found it challenging to put the bat on the ball, as Doocy struck out eight.

It certainly was a welcomed performance from the junior, as she had racked up losses in her last five decisions, along with a 5.06 ERA in her past three starts.

“This was a big turnaround for us” Doocy said. “[I] just trusted my defense that they were going to get the job done and we just kept rolling.”

Doocy rolled through most of the game, not allowing a run until a two-out double by Logan Schaben in the top of the sixth.

A towering lead-off homer by Sami Williams pushed the Cyclone advantage to 2-0 going into the seventh, a lead that was just too much for the sputtering Iowa offense.

The Hawkeyes left three on base while hitting just 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position – not a winning formula.

Mallory Killian, one of two seniors on the team, said the problem is all cerebral.

“It’s not an issue with anything mechanically,” she said. “[It’s] our mindset. [We need to] relax and have confidence. I think once we start to string a few things together we can start building on that.”

Sanders was the Hawkeye offense’s Kryptonite for the first four innings before she gave way to Cyclone ace Emma Hylen, who finished Sanders’ work by putting away all nine batters she faced in the final three innings.

Iowa has now lost its last nine games. Seven of those have been conference games, which is concerning, but the season isn’t lost yet.

Hawkeye head coach Renee Gillispie saw some positives in how hard Iowa hit the ball Tuesday night.

“They know they can hit hard balls off of tough teams as long as they can make those adjustments early on and know what they’re up against,” she said. “I think we have to go out and be aggressive with these games and go after these games, and they did that tonight.”

Next, Iowa will take on a stingy Illinois team (24-11, 4-5 Big Ten) for a weekend series.