The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa softball opens up Big Ten play with a Thursday-Saturday series with the Wisconsin Badgers

The Hawks look to improve upon a 10-13 record in conference play last year.
Isabella Tisdale
Iowa infielder Devin Bowman and outfielder Echo Mattiello high five after practice during Iowa softball media day at Bob Pearl Field on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. The Iowa softball team answered questions from media and held an open practice.

In the 2023 softball season, the Hawkeyes went 10-13 in Big Ten conference play. This year, the Hawks look to improve upon their win total and start out on the right track against the Wisconsin Badgers. 

While maintaining a respectable 10-13 record last year, the Hawkeyes must look to improve upon their hitting and fielding. They were ranked in the middle of the conference for hitting with a batting average .263. With the first four batters of the 2024 season already batting over .300, the Hawkeyes are well on their way of improving.  

Fielding is definitely another area of improvement for the team as Iowa was ranked in the bottom half of fielding in conference play last season. The team also had the third-most errors in the conference, only behind the Indiana Hoosiers and the Michigan State Spartans. 

In order to make a push for the Big Ten title, Iowa will need to improve upon its hitting and fielding. 

On a bright note, the Hawkeyes were in the top five of the conference in pitching. With a current team ERA of 2.56, the Hawks look to be toward the upper-middle half of the conference. 

The Wisconsin Badgers are currently 11-15 on the season and went 12-10 during conference play last season. 

The Badgers boasted a team ERA of 2.40 and returned graduate student Tessa Magnanimo and fourth-year Pitcher Gabi Salo. Wisconsin had the second-best team ERA last season in Big Ten play and looks to continue the pitching dominance formulated a season ago. 

Wisconsin was ranked eighth in batting last year with a collective team batting average of .259. Wisconsin was only .004 worse in batting average compared to the Hawks in Big Ten play a season ago; however, Iowa had 31 more hits than the Badgers. The Badgers look to build upon hitting during Big Ten play this season. 

Like Iowa, the Badgers will also look to build upon fielding. Last season, Wisconsin finished ninth in the Big Ten for fielding with 26 total errors — four less than Iowa softball. 

Northwestern University is the returning Big Ten Champion. While the Wildcats may have won the Big Ten title last year, this year Indiana looks to be the top team to ensure a two-peat for the Wildcats does not happen. 

Currently the Wildcats are 12-7 on the season. While still early in the season, this has been a mediocre start.

Northwestern currently only has two players batting over the .300 mark. Second-year Kansas Robinson leads the Wildcats with an eye-catching .397 batting average with an additional three home runs on the season. 

Northwestern shines in the pitching department. The Wildcats pitching staff has a respectable 2.07 ERA and averages less than three walks a game. If the Wildcats can put together an offense, they may find themselves contending for a Big Ten title once again. 

While Big Ten play has yet to start, currently Indiana has its sights to rival Northwestern as Big Ten champs. 

Indiana currently has a record of 22-6 on the season. After finishing second in the conference last season, Indiana looks to add a Big Ten title to its program. With seven starters batting over .300, the Hoosiers look to be a team no pitcher wants to face in the Big Ten. 

First pitch for Iowa softball against Wisconsin is set for Thursday, March 21, at 2:30 p.m. at Bob Pearl Field.

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About the Contributor
Isabella Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.