LEESBURG, Florida – The University of Iowa softball team (2-4) split a pair of games against Michigan State (2-4) in Leesburg, Florida on Sunday. The Hawkeyes won the first game, 6-1. Michigan State won the second game, 1-0.
In the first game, senior Sarah Lehman pitched a complete game, striking out seven while allowing only four hits and one run in the the win.
“I think it helped to have different pitches to go to, the inside was really working so we kept going with that,” said Lehman. “I knew the defense had my back on that and they did really well behind me.”
Riley Sheehy went 3-3 at the plate in the game. Three Hawkeyes had two RBIs a piece; Grace Banes, Denali Loecker and Kalena Burns.
“It felt pretty good,” said Banes. “I was hitting it right at people to start the weekend, so it was nice to string some hits together. My team had my back. I came in and tried to work hard, and my teammates have pushed me and encouraged me to do my best.”
In the second game senior Allision Doocy pitched seven innings of one run ball but the Hawkeyes were never able to get the bats going.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Hawkeyes broke things open by scoring two runs in the top of the first. Nia Carter was hit by a pitch and advanced to second when Sheehy bunted for a single. They were brought home by a Loecker double. Michigan State got on the board in the fourth inning with a solo homerun. In the fifth inning, the Hawkeyes scored two runs on a Banes double and two runs on a Burns homerun.
Michigan State scored the first and ultimately decisive run in the second inning with a single, a walk, and another single. In the bottom half of the inning the Hawkeyes threatened after Burns reached base on an error and Peek hit a single. In the bottom of the sixth inning the Hawkeyes opened things up with a leadoff single from Carter, but she would later be ruled out for leaving early and nothing materialized.
- Burns had two homeruns on the weekend for the Hawkeyes
- Carter hit .500 on the weekend going 10-20 at the plate.
- Three Hawkeyes led the team this weekend with 3 RBIs; Carter, Loecker, and Burns
- The pitching staff had a combined 33 strikeouts.
HEAR FROM COACH GILLISPIE
“We had some really good hitting from the top of our lineup the first game, but we struggled with the lower half of our lineup. The three hitters Carter, Sheehy, and Banes had a good first game offensively. Kalena had a good at bat where she battled back from being down 0-2 to hit that homerun for us.”
“The pitching staff was the highlight of the weekend. They came out and did what they needed to do to get the win. Sarah had a great outing in the first one. Doocy kept them off balance they just had that little flair hit that scored the run. We should have answered that offensively and we didn’t.”
“Like we said going in it is a tough weekend. With having to play all Big Ten games and having to play six games in a weekend. But we know what we are up against, and we have to be prepared to come back down here in two weeks and have a better showing.”
The Hawkeyes return to Leesburg, Florida, on March 11-14 to take on Penn State and Maryland in three games each.