Iowa softball goes 3-1 at Northern Lights, Southern Nights Invitational

The Hawkeyes took down No. 24 Liberty in Leesburg, Florida, for their first ranked win since April 2021.


Grace Smith

Nebraska catcher Anni Raley runs to first base as Iowa utility player Denali Loecker gets her out during the Iowa softball game v. Nebraska at Pearl Field on Saturday, May 8, 2021. The Huskers defeated the Hawkeyes with a score of 4-0.

Dawson Moore, Sports Reporter

Iowa softball kicked off its 2022 campaign in Leesburg, Florida, this weekend, playing in the Northern Lights, Southern Nights Invitational.

Iowa played four games over the span of three days, finishing the weekend with a 3-1 record.

On Friday, Iowa swiftly defeated Eastern Kentucky, 7-2. University of Central Florida transfer Breanna Vasquez picked up her first win as a Hawkeye, pitching a complete game in the process.

The Hawkeyes then played their second game of the day, taking on No. 24 Liberty. Unranked Iowa upset Liberty, 7-0, as sophomore Denali Loecker pitched a shutout and picked up the first win of her career.

“I am happy to be out there,” Loecker said in a Saturday release. “Last year we had three solid pitchers so for me to have the opportunity this year is exciting. I am just doing the best I can and trusting the defense behind me. Having the offense score seven runs is a huge cushion and makes me more relaxed on the mound. It helps relieve that pressure.”    

Iowa freshman Tristin Doster notched the first grand slam of her collegiate career against Liberty. In two games, Doster went 3-of-8 at the plate.

“Right when I hit that ball, I felt the excitement and the pure joy from my teammates,” Doster said in a release. “I could hear them as I rounded first base and it was so amazing when I got to home plate. My teammates were like, ‘Let’s go,’ we knew we had the game.”   

Freshman Devyn Greer took the mound against No. 19 Kentucky on Saturday. Greer struggled, pitching just three innings and giving up seven of the Wildcats eventual 11 runs of the day. Iowa ultimately lost, 11-4.

Iowa bounced back on Sunday, taking down Pittsburgh, 9-4. Catcher Marissa Peek hit her first home run of the season to help push the Hawkeyes over the Panthers.

Big Picture

The Hawkeyes are 3-1 after the Northern Lights, Southern Nights Invitational. 

Iowa recorded its first win over a ranked opponent since April 24, 2021, when it defeated No. 24 Minnesota.

Up Next

Iowa will travel to San Diego for the Torero Classic on Feb. 18-20. The Hawkeyes will take on South Dakota State, DePaul, UC Riverside, San Diego, and Oregon State.