Hawkeye softball diced up by Gopher bats

Iowa softball struggled in a weekend sweep by Minnesota, and the team was outscored 23-1 in Minneapolis.

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Katie Goodale

Junior Allison Doocy pitches during the Iowa v Kirkwood softball game at the Pearl Softball Complex in Coralville on Sept 14, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Kirkwood Eagles 10-6.

Pete Mills, Assistant Sports Editor

It was a rough weekend at the office for Iowa softball. The team was swept by Minnesota in Minneapolis by a combined score of 23-1 this past weekend.

Because of inclement weather the following day, April 26 turned into a doubleheader, which quickly became a clear disadvantage for the Hawkeyes, who struggled greatly in both games. Iowa pitchers Sarah Lehman and Allison Doocy started for Iowa on April 26, but each gave up 8 earned runs in their respective trips in the circle.

Though a frustrating performance for Doocy —  who gave up 10 hits in only 4.2 innings — head coach Renee Gillispie was content with some portions of the performance. The junior was able to fan several batters in her appearance, striking out 7.

“We were going up against some tough competition; Minnesota is a great team,” Gillispie said in a release. “They are solid defensively and offensively. They are three pitchers deep. We also gave up too many runs.”

What was a tough day for Iowa pitchers was also a rough one for the Hawkeye bats. Iowa failed to score a single run in the April 26 doubleheader. Only three batters found any daylight on the day; junior Lea Thompson, sophomore Ashley Hamilton, and freshman Cameron Cecil managed to get hits.

None of these hits turned into anything, Gillispie said, because of Minnesota’s dominance and ability to control games.

“Minnesota did a great job with two outs — they’re a solid team,” she said. “We’re going against a tough pitching staff and solid offense.”

Both matchups ended early as Minnesota forced the run rule. That didn’t happen before the Gophers’ massive bats made some major statements. Minnesota’s Natalie DenHartog stepped up to the plate in the fourth inning of Game 1 to blast a 3-run homer to finish off the scoring at 9 runs for the Gophers. Just hours later, Makenna Partain finished off the Hawkeyes in Game 2 with a smoked a 3-run dinger to left field.

Not that it could have gone much worse than it did for Iowa, but April 28 seemed much rosier.

The Hawkeye bats made more happen in Sunday’s lone game than it did in the two prior. Kate Claypool led the charge at the plate, smacking back 2 hits and gaining an RBI to score Abby Lien in the seventh inning, which represented Iowa’s lone run of the series.

Although it gave up 6 earned runs in the final game of the series, the pitching staff was marginally better. Lehman and Doocy struggled in the first day of action, and that theme continued for Lehman on Sunday. Erin Riding, though, relieved the starter and pitched three innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 earned run.

Rough weeks are just the nature of the sport. Streakiness is common; all the Hawkeyes can do is look ahead, and that’s what Gillispie stressed to the players.

“We have UNI on Tuesday, and having Ohio State at home with our home crowd is going to be fantastic,” she said. “We want our fans to come out, be loud, and get our girls going, it’s going to be a good weekend.

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