MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Iowa softball team split a doubleheader with No. 24 Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. The Hawkeyes took the first game, 3-1, marking the Hawkeyes’ first victory against Minnesota since 2015. The Gophers won the second game, 5-4.
Senior Lauren Shaw got the start in the circle in game one and pitched a complete game in the victory.
“The defense was on fire today; they were making a lot of great plays,” said Shaw. “We came out strong as an offense, and it was great that we stayed strong throughout the entire game.
Freshman Denali Loecker was 3-for-6 on the day with five RBIs.
“I was just trying to keep it simple,” said Loecker. “Just see ball, hit ball. That is how I always go in. It is like when you least expect to hit the ball far that is when you do. Just keep it simple in the box and don’t overthink it.”
Junior Riley Sheehy was 3-for-6 and freshman Brylee Klosterman was 3-for-7, both had an RBI.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Minnesota opened the scoring in the third inning getting one run. The Hawkeyes answered back in the fourth. Klosterman singled to left field and advanced to second on a passed ball. Sheehy moved her over with a sacrifice bunt. Loecker hit a double to left field to tie the game. The Hawkeyes pulled ahead in the seventh. Grace Banes singled to center field and moved to second on an Amber DeSena ground ball to the right side. Sammy Diaz drew a walk and Banes came around to score on a Klosterman single. Sheehy was hit by a pitch and Loecker drove another run home on a single to left field.
The Hawkeyes opened the scoring in the first inning. Klosterman drew a walk, Sheehy hit a single to the shortstop and Loecker homered to center field to bring them both home. Minnesota scored a run in the bottom half of the first on a single and a double. The Gophers added another two runs on two doubles and a single in the third. Minnesota took the lead in the fourth scoring two runs on a single, a walk, and an error. The Hawkeyes would rally in the seventh scoring a run. DeSena singled through the right side, Klosterman singled to left field and Sheehy singled to left field scoring the run. Loecker was intentionally walked to load the bases, but the rally would fall short ending with a ground ball to third base.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH RENEE GILLISPIE
“In the first game we did a good job getting on them and staying on them. I thought that Shaw had an incredible game, just dominating the plate. She did a good job mixing her changeup in there to keep them off balance the entire game. We had some key hits. Denali had two big RBIs for us, and Brylee had an RBI single.”
“In the second game we jumped on them quick. Keeping Minnesota down is tough. They came back and tied it up. We had the opportunities, that is what we always talk about giving ourselves the opportunities in the seventh inning. We had the bases loaded with Marissa up, we have a lot of faith in her to come up with big hits, but today we came up just short. We are looking forward to tomorrow and having the opportunity to split the weekend.”
- The all-time series between Iowa and Minnesota is now tied 60-60.
- This was the first time the Hawkeyes had beat the Gophers since 2015 (2-0, 5/8/2015); it was their first win against a ranked opponent since 2018 (#17 Michigan, 4-3, 3/23/2018).
- The Hawkeyes have now scored 25 runs in the seventh inning or later.
- Denali Loecker hit her team leading third home run of the season; she also leads the team in RBIs with 20.
The Hawkeyes wrap up the series against Minnesota on Sunday. Game time has been moved to 10 a.m. (CT) due to weather.