Hawkeye softball recognizes seniors in regular-season finale

The Hawkeyes said farewell to their seniors in the final game of the regular season.

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Hawkeye softball recognizes seniors in regular-season finale

Iowa pitcher Erin Riding throws a pitch during a softball game between Iowa and Ohio State at Bob Pearl Field on Sunday, May 5, 2019. The Hawkeyes, celebrating senior day, fell to the Buckeyes, 5-0.

Iowa pitcher Erin Riding throws a pitch during a softball game between Iowa and Ohio State at Bob Pearl Field on Sunday, May 5, 2019. The Hawkeyes, celebrating senior day, fell to the Buckeyes, 5-0.

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa pitcher Erin Riding throws a pitch during a softball game between Iowa and Ohio State at Bob Pearl Field on Sunday, May 5, 2019. The Hawkeyes, celebrating senior day, fell to the Buckeyes, 5-0.

Shivansh Ahuja

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa pitcher Erin Riding throws a pitch during a softball game between Iowa and Ohio State at Bob Pearl Field on Sunday, May 5, 2019. The Hawkeyes, celebrating senior day, fell to the Buckeyes, 5-0.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

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Iowa softball’s game against Ohio State on Sunday was a special one for the Hawkeyes, and not just because they captured their season goal of making it to the Big Ten Tournament.

It was a special afternoon because Iowa was able to honor its two seniors on Senior Day at Pearl Field.

This group of seniors has seen some significant changes over their careers as they started under head coach Marla Looper and now end their careers under first-year head coach Renee Gillispie.

“I’m proud of them,” Gillispie said. “I’m proud of the way they’ve come out each and every day.”

This season, Iowa isn’t flooded with seniors; the team was made up of mostly underclassmen. However, the two seniors on the team have made significant contributions over their careers.

One is Erin Riding, who spent most of her time at Iowa in the pitchers’ circle, amassing a 4.50 ERA and a 5-7 record over 110.1 innings pitched.

“Erin has just been that rock when we’ve needed her,” Gillespie said. “She always been able to go seven innings when we needed it or two or three innings. She’s been the mom of the team. If anyone ever needed anything, she was always there for them. She was that force that always wanted the ball and part of the program.”

Shivansh Ahuja
Iowa’s seniors embrace their fathers during a softball game between Iowa and Ohio State at Pearl Field on May 5. The Hawkeyes, celebrating Senior Day, fell to the Buckeyes, 5-0.

This season, Riding recorded a 4.99 ERA in 33.2 innings. She got the ball for five innings in last weekend’s series against Ohio State, where she held the Buckeyes to 4 runs.

“Committing to play softball at the University of Iowa was the best decision I ever made,” Riding said. “There are endless amounts of memories I have from my four years — amazing trips, bus rides, and so much more.”

The other senior for the Hawkeye was third baseman Mallory Kilian.

She has been dynamite at defending the hot corner for the Hawkeyes throughout her four years at Iowa, putting up a .961 fielding percentage.

“Mallory has always been that solid rock for us,” Gillispie said. “Never getting too high or low. She’s kind of bringing up the energy when we need it and is able to calm the team down when they get to high. She’s solid rock for us at third base and we always knew she could get it done at the plate.”

And she certainly got it done at the plate. Kilian has a .244 career batting average, but her best year was last season — she hit .290.

“As I’m reaching the end [of my career, I’m coming to realize that I couldn’t be more content,” Kilian said. “I am proud of what I was able to accomplish, and more importantly, experience beside many seasons worth of teammates who were all impactful in their own ways.”

While it’s a small group, it was an important core for Gillispie’s first year at the helm for the Hawkeyes.

“It’s going to be hard losing them,” Gillispie said. “I wish I had four years with them, but it was great to be able to have them this year.”

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