Iowa softball’s pitchers struggle in 7-0 loss to Northwestern

Iowa softball surrendered seven earned runs in its loss to Northwestern at Bob Pearl Field Friday afternoon.


Grace Smith

Northwestern infielder/outfielder, Rachel Lewis, hits the ball during the Iowa softball game v. Northwestern at Pearl Field on Friday, April 16, 2021. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes with a score of 7-0.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Iowa softball struggled on both sides of the ball in its 7-0 loss to Northwestern at Bob Pearl Field on Friday, surrendering seven runs defensively and accruing no hits offensively.

Northwestern’s starting pitcher, Danielle Williams, threw a perfect game, allowing no hits and issuing no walks against the 21 batters she faced.

Senior southpaw Lauren Shaw got the nod on bump for the Hawkeyes Friday afternoon.

In the top of the first inning, Shaw stumbled, giving up a home run to Wildcat second baseman Rachel Lewis, who also started a Northwestern scoring rally in the sixth inning.

Shaw gave up three runs before the Hawkeyes went to their bullpen in the sixth inning.

Despite that, Shaw still felt like she put together a solid outing Friday afternoon.

“I came out feeling really great,” Shaw said postgame. “The first girl hit that home run, and I left the changeup hanging, so that one’s on me. The rest of the game I picked it back up, and I felt that it was one of the best games I’ve thrown all year, even though the outcome didn’t really come like that. Three pitches didn’t hit their spots, and those three pitches hurt the most.”

The Wildcats’ offense has been potent all season, posting a .295 season-long batting average — good for second in the Big Ten.

“That home run in the first inning, it was a changeup that was supposed to be in the dirt,” head coach Renee Gillispie said. “It was an 0-2 pitch that hung on [Shaw], so it’s really about just making sure that we’re hitting our spots, that we’re getting the ball off the plate when we need it off the plate.”

Senior right-hander Sarah Lehman entered the game for Shaw the sixth frame with no outs on the scoreboard. Lehman did, however, extinguish all three batters she faced in the inning.

In the seventh inning, Lehman did not find as much success, walking three batters in a row. Northwestern cashed in on Lehman’s miscue, scoring three more runs before inning and the game ended.

“We see that we’re not able to stay as focused as we need to in those later innings,” Gillispie said. “So we knew going into this that we might have to make a change in the sixth, and seeing how Shaw was starting to get those big hits, we needed to make a change. Sarah, I don’t know that she was ready. She came in and had three walks in a row, and that’s not what you want for a closer. I think she could definitely do a better job of helping out as a closer.”

The Hawkeye coaching staff is hoping to utilize the talents senior right-hander Allison Doocy on the mound on Saturday, as she didn’t see any action Friday afternoon. 

Doocy may not pitch all the innings the Hawkeyes play Saturday, as Iowa and Northwestern will play two games at Bob Pearl Field, the first of which kicks off at 3 p.m.

“We’ll probably look at Doocy or Sarah [Saturday],” Gillispie said. “Hopefully Sarah will be a little bit stronger tomorrow — hopefully these two innings under her belt will help … we’ll see how it goes, we’ll probably be pitching by committee.”

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