Iowa softball falls to Northern Iowa on the road

The Hawkeyes' woes continued in Cedar Falls on Tuesday, as they fell to the Panthers, 4-2.

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Iowa softball falls to Northern Iowa on the road

Iowa pitcher Sarah Lehman winds up to pitch during a softball game against Western Illinois on Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2019. The Fighting Leathernecks defeated the Hawkeyes 10-1.

Iowa pitcher Sarah Lehman winds up to pitch during a softball game against Western Illinois on Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2019. The Fighting Leathernecks defeated the Hawkeyes 10-1.

David Harmantas

Iowa pitcher Sarah Lehman winds up to pitch during a softball game against Western Illinois on Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2019. The Fighting Leathernecks defeated the Hawkeyes 10-1.

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Iowa pitcher Sarah Lehman winds up to pitch during a softball game against Western Illinois on Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2019. The Fighting Leathernecks defeated the Hawkeyes 10-1.

Pete Mills, Assistant Sports Editor

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Hawkeye softball fell in a contest to in-state rival Northern Iowa on Tuesday, 4-2.

The game served as Iowa’s last chance to get a win over an in-state school this season, but it has now dropped games against Iowa State, Drake, and Northern Iowa on the season.

It is certainly lucky the Panthers call their indoor football stadium, the UNI-Dome, their home turf, because weather was less-than-ideal for a softball game. Like the Panther’s stadium in that respect, the Hawkeye bats were similarly less-than-ideal for a softball game.

“UNI’s pitcher, Jaclyn Spencer, kept our team off-balance; she did a great job,” Iowa head coach Renee Gillispie said in a release. “UNI’s timely hits that was the difference in the game.”

A closely contested affair made possible by solid pitching from Iowa’s Sarah Lehman kept the score knotted at 1 run apiece until the fourth inning.

The Hawkeyes struck first in the top of the first, as senior Mallory Kilian batted in sophomore Aralee Bogar with a single into center field. Bogar all but manufactured the run for the team, stealing second and third sequentially to get herself in position.

That team play in the first inning was about all Iowa would do for the majority of the contest. Another Iowa hit wouldn’t come until the fourth inning, and another Hawkeye run waited until the sixth when it would be nearly too late for a comeback.

The Panthers took full advantage of that lull. The sophomore Lehman pitched a solid contest for the Hawkeyes, fanning seven batters and only walking two. But the Panthers took advantage with a 4-run fourth inning.

Northern Iowa opened up scoring in the fourth inning with a 1-run double. Pitcher Jaclyn Spencer came up to the plate minutes later and smashed a go-ahead 2-run dinger. She supplemented this offensive power with a day in the circle, only giving up 1 earned run and striking out 10 Iowa batters.

After a rough weekend against Minnesota in which Iowa scored only 1 run across its three games, the team was hoping for a bit more of a bounce-back than it got against Northern Iowa. An error in the sixth inning helped Iowa get its only other run of the matchup. Other than that, 10 strikeouts on only 6 hits left a lot to be desired.

What continues to be promising, though, is Iowa’s pitching staff. Lehman has gotten better by leaps and bounds this year; her performance against the Panthers was strong, but simply wasn’t met with strong offense. In the long run, having her to round out ace Allison Doocy and the staff will be a great asset for the squad for years to come.

Next, Iowa hosts Ohio State for a three-game set to close the regular season, and it’s hoping things go better.

“We have our final home series against Ohio State this weekend, and we want to play our best for our seniors,” Gillispie said in a release. “We are looking forward to being home with Hawkeye Nation behind us.”