Kalena Burns’ two home runs give Iowa softball victory over Minnesota

The Hawkeyes rallied from an 8-2 deficit to defeat the Golden Gophers for their first conference victory of the season.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa pinch hitter Kalena Burns connects with the ball for a bases clearing triple during a softball game at Pearl Field on Saturday, April 3 during a softball game between Iowa and Indiana. Burns finished the game with five RBIs.The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 8-0 in five innings.

Dawson Moore, Sports Reporter

Iowa softball found its hero in first baseman Kalena Burns as the Hawkeyes defeated Minnesota, 9-8, on Friday at Bob Pearl Field to take the 1-0 series lead over the Golden Gophers.

Burns hit two home runs in the win, including a three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Hawkeyes a one-run victory and their first Big Ten win of the season.

“Honestly, I was just trying to have fun,” Burns told The Daily Iowan. “Hit the ball in the gaps, we were obviously down, so doing anything I could to just put us ahead.” 

Burns had 5 RBIs in the game to bring her total to 17 on the season. This ties freshman catcher Tristin Doster for most on the Iowa squad.

The win was an uphill battle as eight Minnesota runs in the second inning forced Iowa to come from behind the majority of the game. But Iowa mustered eight hits to claw back and pick up the victory.

“Getting the eight runs in the second inning, and holding it at that point, they had the fight in them and they just kept plucking away,” head coach Renee Gillispie said. “The top five in our order came up big for us.”

RELATED: Denali Loecker’s go-ahead home run pushes Iowa softball past Drake

Big Picture 

Iowa picked up its 18th win of the 2022 season and its first conference victory on Friday. The Hawkeyes currently sit at 18-16 overall on the season and post a Big Ten record of 1-6.

Iowa is in last place in the Big Ten standings, sharing the spot with Michigan State and Rutgers.

Freshman Standout

After sophomore pitcher Denali Loecker gave up eight runs in the second inning, freshman Devyn Greer stepped in for relief.

Greer gave up no runs and two hits on 5.1 innings pitched while striking out two batters — one counting as the last out of the game.

“What energy she brought to us,” Gillispie said. “You know, and the defense was playing hard behind her, and she did an incredible job. She just had a fantastic game, great outing, but her energy and her inner desire to go out there and battle were the difference in this game.”

What’s Next 

Iowa will play the second game of its series against Minnesota at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Bob Pearl Field. 

The third and final game of the series will be played on Sunday at noon. Both games will be streamed on BTN+.