IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team opened the 2020 campaign with four victories at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic in South Carolina. From crushing homeruns to walk-off wins, here are the biggest takeaways from the weekend.
RUTHER IS THE REAL DEAL
The 2019 NJCAA first-team All-American finally made her Hawkeye debut over the weekend and proved to be everything the team was expecting. The Burlington, Iowa, native batted a team-high .533 (8-15) with a RBI and stolen base in five games.
No hit was bigger than her final of the weekend to defeat Virginia Tech, 4-3, in extra innings. The walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth scored freshman Taylor Ryan from second, erupting the Iowa dugout. The hit capped a 3-for-3 effort on the day.
BURNS HAS POWER
Freshman Kalena Burns could not have gotten off to a better start to her Hawkeye career. In her first plate appearance, the Corona, California, native crushed a three-run homerun against East Carolina. The blast helped Iowa to a 6-5 win over the Pirates.
Burns continued to show off at the plate on Saturday, adding a double and two RBIs against Campbell and a three-hit performance against Coastal Carolina.
Burns leads Iowa with a .625 slugging percentage through five games.
SHAW IS BACK
Junior Lauren Shaw returned to the circle after a 641-day absence. Shaw saw 15.2 innings of work over the weekend and finished with a 3-1 record along with 16 strikeouts.
Shaw threw a complete-game four-hitter against Campbell on Feb. 8, fanning nine batters as the Hawkeyes won, 5-2.
In Iowa’s closest game of the weekend, the LaGrange, Ohio, native threw 3.1 scoreless innings against Virginia Tech with two strikeouts.
10 players made their Hawkeye debuts in South Carolina, including Mia Ruther, Kit Rocco, Nia Carter, Riley Sheehy, Kalena Burns, Avery Guy, Morgan Lewis, Erin Carter, Emma Olejniczak, and Taylor Ryan.