Iowa softball successful in second weekend outing

In four extra-inning games, Iowa went 5-1 against Penn State and Maryland.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa utility player Aralee Bogar watches a pitch while at-bat 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.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

After a 2-4 start to the season in Leesburg, Florida, two weeks ago, Iowa softball returned to the Sunshine State this past weekend on a mission, going 5-1 against Penn State and Maryland. The Hawkeyes improved to 7-5 on the season after two weekend series.

The weekend featured four extra-inning wins for the Hawkeyes, as freshman Grace Banes played the hero on Thursday night against Penn State.

In the first game of the doubleheader on Thursday, Iowa won, 5-1, with senior pitcher Sarah Lehman pitching a two-hit complete game with one unearned run. Freshman Denali Loecker collected three RBIs in the first game, going 3-for-4 from the plate.

The second game with the Nittany Lions went 12 innings, with the Hawkeyes winning in walk-off fashion, 6-5. Senior pitcher Lauren Shaw started on the mound for the Hawkeyes, pitching four innings with two unearned runs before senior right-handed pitcher Allison Doocy took over, who allowed three unearned runs and striking out 11.

Penn State struck first in the fourth inning, scoring two runs. Iowa didn’t respond until the bottom of the seventh, putting on two runs to send the game into extra innings. The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions scored one run each in the ninth and tenth innings and went scoreless in the 11th.

But after Penn State got across the plate at the top of the 12th inning, junior outfielder Riley Sheehy moved sophomore outfielder Nia Carter — who was on second base because of the International Tiebreaker rule — over to third base on a sacrifice bunt. Senior infielder Aralee Bogar then laced a triple to bring Carter home and tie the game, and Banes hit a single to bring Bogar home and win in the bottom of the 12th.

“I just tried to go up there and hit Bogar in,” Banes said in a release. “Get the job done. I just tried my best to get a hit. Especially try to hit it to the outfield so Bogar could tag up and go. The team did really well, Doocy pitched a great game. We fought as a team.”

On Friday, Iowa continued its momentum to complete the season sweep of Penn State, 2-0.

It took until extra innings for either team to get a run across the plate, with the Hawkeyes striking first with two runs at the top of the eighth. Those two runs ended up being all Iowa needed, as Penn State put runners on second and third but couldn’t get a run to home plate.

Saturday saw Iowa’s only loss of the weekend, as Iowa split a doubleheader with Maryland.

RELATED: Iowa softball set for road tilt with Penn State and Maryland

Iowa won the first game in another extra-inning matchup, 1-0, as both teams were scoreless through the first seven innings. As Bogar started on second base in the eighth inning, freshman utility player Sammy Diaz laid a sacrifice bunt to move Bogar to third. Maryland intentionally walked Carter, and Carter drew a throw from the mound on a steal for Bogar to successfully steal home in the only run of the game.

“We had talked that Nia might do a delayed steal to try and draw a throw,” Bogar said in a release. “It ended up happening and I was ready for it. As soon as I saw the throw go past the pitcher I took off and it worked out.”

In the second game, Iowa got the scoring started in the fourth inning, plating two runs. Maryland responded in the fifth inning, tying the game at two. A Maryland home run allowed by Shaw in the bottom of the sixth would prove to be the difference-maker, as the Hawkeyes lost, 2-3.

“The second game didn’t go as we wanted,” head coach Renee Gillispie said in a release. “I feel like we jumped out at them and did good defensively. Shaw held us in that game, was strong for five innings. We struggled doing the little things, had a couple base-running mistakes that really do affect the game. Those situations hurt us. We have to bounce back and focus on what we can adjust. I think we will come back stronger tomorrow.”

On Sunday, Iowa had its fourth extra-innings game in six games, winning against Maryland in eight innings, 4-3. Lehman pitched her fifth complete game of the season, notching her fourth win.

This time, freshman utility player Lindy Milkowski played hero in her walk-off win. At the bottom of the eighth inning, tied 3-3 and with Banes starting on second base, Milkowski singled to left field to bring Banes across the plate and end the game.

Milkowski ended the weekend 5-for-10 from the plate and with three RBIs.

“Again, we are having our pitchers take care of business,” Gillispie said. “Sarah did a good job on the mound and really fought for us that entire game. We knew our offense was there, we were making good contact with their pitcher.

“Just a huge congratulations with Lindy having two clutch hits. One to get us to extra innings again, and then the big run to win the game.”

Iowa has a week off before matching up against Purdue in a four game series in West Lafayette, Indiana, March 26-28.