Iowa softball looking to make fewer mistakes on four-game road trip

The Hawkeyes have made 12 fielding errors in just nine games this season, committing six against the Oregon State Beavers on Feb. 20.


Casey Stone

Iowa outfielder Nia Carter runs to third base and cheers as teammate Grace Banes hits a 2-run home run during the Iowa Softball senior game against Illinois on May 16, 2021 at Bob Pearl Field. Iowa defeated Illinois 4-3.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

The Iowa softball team is heading to Leesburg, Florida, this week for a slate of four spring games.

The Hawkeyes will face the North Florida Ospreys and Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Friday. Then, Iowa will take on Princeton and Cornell on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The Hawkeyes enter the event fresh off the Torero Classic, which was held in San Diego. Iowa earned wins over South Dakota State, UC Riverside, and San Diego. The Hawkeyes lost to the DePaul Blue Demons and Oregon State Beavers.

RELATED: Iowa softball wins three games at Torero Classic

Iowa is 6-3 overall this season, and many of its wins can be attributed to its hitting.

Four Hawkeye starters are batting .328 or higher. Iowa’s team average is .295 — good for fifth in the Big Ten Conference.

Junior Nia Carter has led the way for the Hawkeyes this season with a .500 batting average.

Despite all its hitting prowess, Iowa has struggled to get runners across home plate in 2021-22. The Hawkeyes stranded 10 base-runners against the Jackrabbits.

Versus San Diego and Oregon State, Iowa left 17 combined runners on base.

“We have a lot of innings where we get runners on but we can’t capitalize,” Carter told The Daily Iowan. “Being more consistent going into these next games will really help our team because we are getting hits. We just need them at the right time.”

Defensively, the Hawkeyes’ mistakes have fluctuated from game-to-game. At times, Iowa’s fielding has been flawless. Against Oregon State, however, the Hawkeyes made six errors.

“We’ll have games where we are unstoppable and have no errors and look great,” Iowa head coach Renee Gillispie said. “We’ll then lose focus and end up having a couple errors that build to big innings.”

The number of mistakes the Hawkeyes have made through nine games can, in part, be attributed to their youth. Iowa has just six upperclassmen on its roster.

“I like where we are right now, being as young as we are and being able to compete against some of the top teams in the country,” Gillispie said. “I think we are in a good place.”

Two of the four teams the Hawkeyes will play in Florida this weekend have winning records. Princeton and Cornell have not played any games in 2021-22.

The Fighting Irish will likely serve as the toughest test for the Hawkeyes. Notre Dame upset then-No. 21 LSU and then-No. 11 Texas on Feb. 19 and 20, respectively.

Texas has since fallen out of D1 Softball’s NCAA top 25. LSU fell to 25th in the poll.

Both Iowa and Notre Dame are not currently ranked.

All four of the Hawkeye softball team’s games this weekend will stream live on FloSoftball — a online, subscription-based service. FloSoftball subscriptions cost $149.99 annually.

The Hawkeyes will begin Big Ten Conference play with a matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers on March 25 at Bob Pearl Field in Iowa City.

Wisconsin is not the first league opponent Iowa will play this season. The Hawkeyes are currently slated to take on the Indiana Hoosiers in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Classic on March 19.