Late-game heroics boost Iowa softball over Illinois

After trailing most of the game, Iowa found a way to pull out a victory in Game Two of the double-header to avoid a sweep from Illinois.


Katina Zentz

Iowa pitcher Mallory Kilian and infielder Sydney Owens cheer after Iowa scores the winning run during the game against Illinois at the Bob Pearl Softball Field on Saturday, April 13, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 4-3.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

An Illinois error resulted in Iowa’s first win in 11 games, as it took Game Two of the Saturday double-header, 4-3, in 8 innings.

While the win was certainly the highlight, the other major momentum booster was how well the offense performed. Offense is something that had been almost non-existent for Iowa, as it had scored just 8 runs in its previous 10 games before erupting for 11 in the first game of the double-header.

Still, those 11 runs weren’t enough to topple the Illini’s potent offense. Illinois put up a 6-run sixth inning, which was the difference in a 12-11 Hawkeye loss.

After a nearly three-hour first game that resembled two heavyweights going blow-for-blow, Game Two saw much better pitching.

Just 3 runs were scored between the teams before the offenses awoke in the seventh inning.

Illinois scored a run in the top half of the seventh inning to push its lead to 3-1. Then, Iowa’s Aralee Bogar hit a 2-run double in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extras.

“I knew she was going to be throwing me [inside],” Bogar said. “So I was waiting for that pitch to come. It felt really sweet coming off my bat and I was just hoping it was amazing. We needed that so much to stay in that game and pull out a win.”

In the bottom of the eighth, a few fielding mishaps loaded the bases for the Hawkeyes. Then. Havyn Monteer, who hit a dribbler that was bobbled by Illinois short stop, allowing Mallory Killian to score the winning run.

“It felt really good,” said Monteer about knocking in the winning run. “I haven’t been put in that situation before, but now that I have been it feels good to come out with what we needed in that situation.”

The best part about the Hawkeyes’ Saturday was the awakening of an offense that had been essentially non-existent over the past several weeks.

What was particularly encouraging for Iowa was the play of DoniRae Mayhew. She started the season red hot, hitting .351 in Iowa’s first 26 games, proving to be a real catalyst for the Hawkeye offense.

Since, Mayhew has struggled mightily, getting just 1 hit in her last 22 at-bats.

That changed during game one of Saturday’s double header, when she went 4-for-4, including two solo home runs.

 “The girls were really working on small adjustments,” head coach Renee Gillespie said. “Donni’s adjustment was just looking for her pitch and being able to stay a little bit taller. She did a great job at making those adjustments.”

The other major offensive highlight that came out of the first game of the double-header was a grand slam by Miranda Schulte in the second inning.

It was the first homer of her college career, and it signaled the start of Iowa’s offensive explosion.

Iowa hopes it can carry this momentum into next week as they go to Des Moines to play Drake on April 17 at 6 p.m.

“I think they’re feeling confident where they are right now,” Gillespie said. “Being able to come into this week we have a shot to get on a roll here.”