Iowa softball’s pitchers bounce back in 5-2 win over Northwestern

In Iowa’s only win of the series against Northwestern Sunday, Iowa’s pitchers allowed one earned run.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa pitcher Lauren Shaw winds up to throw during a softball game between Iowa and Indiana at Pearl Field on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Shaw went six complete innings but could not finish the seventh. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 1-0.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

After allowing 21 earned runs through the first three games of their series against Northwestern this weekend, Iowa’s trio of pitchers bounced back Sunday, surrendering just one earned run in a 5-2 win over the Wildcats in Iowa City. 

With the win in the series finale, Iowa avoided the sweep from Northwestern and moved to 15-13 on the season. 

All three Hawkeye pitchers — seniors Allison Doocy, Sarah Lehman, and Lauren Shaw — saw the mound in two or three inning increments Sunday, a plan the seniors devised themselves to keep Northwestern’s hitters off-balance.

“I got a kick because they came to us,” head coach Renee Gillispie said. “And they said, ‘We want to do it this way.’ And I love when they take ownership of the game… [Northwestern] was doing the same thing to us, you could see they were constantly putting in new pitchers. So it takes you a while to get your timing down when a new pitcher comes in, so I think it really worked on having a pitcher one time through the lineup, and then making a shift.”

The Hawkeyes usually rely on their pitchers for complete games, so frequently exchanging pitching duties kept the Wildcats uncomfortable in the batter’s box.

“They were probably guessing who was going to throw because all weekend had been a stacked game,” Shaw said. “We had been splitting a lot of games, saving each other this weekend a couple times already. So coming in, [Northwestern] probably thought they would have Doocy the entire game, but then Sarah came in, then I came in, and it probably just threw them off a little bit. We’re very different, we have different strengths, so just keeping them on their toes and making sure they’re never settling in.”

Doocy started the contest for the Hawkeyes, throwing two innings and allowing one earned run on 36 pitches. Lehman continued the good outing in the third and fourth inning, only allowing one earned run behind two defensive errors in the fourth.

RELATED: Iowa softball’s pitching struggles continue in losses to Northwestern

Coming out in the fifth and finishing the game, Shaw rebounded in Sunday’s game after taking a loss in two straight games on Friday and Saturday. She earned the save Sunday with three innings of shutout work for the Hawkeyes.

“It was awesome [to get the save],” Shaw said. “Yesterday and the day before, I wouldn’t really consider them losses, because you learn a lot more from a loss than you do a win. We took a lot of little things that we did right, and that we could do better from the last two losses on my part, and fine-tuned them.”

Freshman designated player Lindy Milkowski hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning to put the Hawkeyes up four runs. Iowa added another run in the third on an RBI single from freshman third baseman Sammy Diaz.

Iowa goes on the road next weekend for a four-game series against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis. The first pitch comes Friday at 5 p.m. at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.