Fast start pushes Wisconsin past Iowa softball

The Badgers scored seven runs in the first three innings of the game and cruised to a 10-5 win over the Hawkeyes.


Grace Smith

Wisconsin infielder Peyton Bannon slides into home plate during a softball game between Iowa and Wisconsin at Bob Pearl Field in Iowa City on Friday, March 25, 2022. Bannon scored two runs. The Badgers defeated the Hawkeyes, 10-5.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

Iowa softball fell in its first Big Ten Conference game of the season on Friday. The Hawkeyes dropped the opening leg of their three-game series against the Wisconsin Badgers, 10-5.

Wisconsin built a 7-0 lead through 2.5 innings and never looked back.

The narrowest deficit the Hawkeyes faced after the third inning was 8-5. Iowa put together a four-run sixth frame thanks to some RBIs from sophomore Amber DeSena and junior Kalena Burns.

Wisconsin quickly responded to Iowa’s sixth inning rally with two runs in the top of the seventh. The Badgers’ late burst of offense put the game out of reach for the Hawkeyes.

Sophomore Denali Loecker started at pitcher for the Hawkeyes on Friday. Iowa head coach Renee Gillispie pulled Loecker from the circle during the third inning. Loecker was relieved by senior Breanna Vasquez. Loecker gave up six hits and seven runs in just 2.1 innings of action.

Vasquez allowed just three runs in the 4.2 innings she hurled. The 5-foot-8 Californian shut the Badgers out during the fourth and fifth innings.

“She did a great job coming in and shutting the stage,” Gillispie said of Vasquez. “I think she will do a great job against them tomorrow too.”

Big Picture

Iowa is now 0-1 in Big Ten play and 16-11 overall. The Hawkeyes have dropped each of their last three games.

Windy conditions hit Bob Pearl Field

Friday’s weather conditions weren’t favorable for the Badgers and Hawkeyes. Wind gusts at Bob Pearl Field reached up to 40 miles per hour. Wind speeds were consistently clocked between 15 and 20 mph Friday afternoon.

While 15 total runs were scored between Iowa and Wisconsin, the wind still impacted the game. The Hawkeyes and Badgers committed a combined five errors.

Despite the harsh elements, Iowa tried to focus on what it could control and not overthink the conditions. 

“There’s nothing we can do about it,” sophomore Brylee Klosterman said. “It is obviously not fun, but we had to mentally fight through it and know both teams are going through it as well.”

Konwent comes up clutch

Wisconsin’s Kayla Konwent, who was named Big Ten Player of the Year in 2021, flexed her muscles at Bob Pearl Field Friday. The 5-foot-10 senior went 4-of-5 from the plate, hitting two home runs and four RBIs.

Given the showing Konwnet put together in the first game of the Iowa-Wisconsin series, Gillispie will be changing her pitching strategy against No. 12 in the Cardinal and White.

“I think, for us, we are just going to have to walk her,” Gillispie said. “You just don’t go after a kid like that. She has such good at-bats every time.”

Up next

The Hawkeyes return to action tomorrow at Bob Pearl Field against the Badgers. The game will start at 2 p.m. and stream live on BTN+.