Iowa softball’s pitching helps decide doubleheader split against Illinois

Lauren Shaw pitched great in the first game, while Allison Doocy and Sarah Lehman struggled in the second game.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa pitcher Lauren Shaw is congratulated by teammates after winning a softball game between Iowa and Illinois on Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Pearl Field. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 7-2.

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

Pitching made a big difference for the Iowa softball team for better or worse in Saturday’s doubleheader against Illinois. Iowa won the first game, 7-2, and Illinois won the second game, 9-1, at Bob Pearl Field.

In the first game, senior left-hander Lauren Shaw pitched all seven innings as she had zero walks, four strikeouts, and gave up eight hits, though one of them was an extra-base hit.

The Ohio native struggled in the in the first two innings. She let up an RBI single in the first inning and then an RBI double in the second. Yet all considered, with the Hawkeyes committing four errors in game one, Shaw did what she needed to do to give the Hawkeyes a good chance at victory.

“I thought she did great job,” head coach Renee Gillispie said. “In the first inning she kind of struggled getting a little too much of the plate. We talk about Illinois. They are just a very aggressive team. They look for anything on the plate that they can drive, and that’s what they’re doing against her in that first inning. So once she kind of got off the plate a little bit, brought it down a little bit, she just dominated.”

With the win, Shaw is now 8-4 on the season. Her 1.97 ERA leads the team.

The second game showed an unexpectedly poor performance from senior right-handed pitcher Allison Doocy. After going perfect through her first three innings of work, she allowed three runs in the fourth off two doubles that came with two outs.

After giving up a two-run home run in the fifth, senior right-hander Sarah Lehman came in to replace Doocy after she pitched 4.2 innings. Doocy finished the game by giving up five earned runs.

RELATED: Doocy pitches dandy in Iowa softball’s 3-1 victory over Illinois

Though Lehman got the Hawkeyes out of the fifth without issue, she struggled in the seventh, yet it wasn’t entirely her fault. She gave up a run after senior second baseman Aralee Bogar committed an error. On the next at bat, Lehman committed an error of her own when she misfired to first base, allowing the Fighting Illini to score two runs.

After the Hawkeyes made defensive changes to most of the infield, the Fighting Illini got an RBI single. Sophomore shortstop Erin Carter did make an error after that at bat, but it led to no more runs.

“I think in that second game, defense, offense, all the way around the board, there was just really a huge lack of focus… and it started with Doocy,” Gillispie said. “We had that two outs, and she was focus on that one [freshman catcher] Marissa [Peek] had on that pop out. She was frustrated on one of the pitches that she threw, and it kind of snowballed from there. And then with Sarah coming in, I don’t think she was warmed-up, ready to come in.”

Bogar agreed that defensively, focus was an issue with the Hawkeyes having seven errors between the two games. That all comes after the Hawkeyes had zero errors in Iowa’s 3-1 Friday victory.

“Play Pearl, it can take bad hops when the ball’s hit hard,” Bogar said. “So just sticking with the ball. We’re a good defensive team. I know we’ll bounce back tomorrow.”

The Hawkeyes (25-18) will play their regular season finale at 3 p.m. Sunday. The game will be televised on BTN.

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