OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma – The University of Iowa softball team won both of its opening games at the Hall of Fame Classic. The Hawkeyes defeated Houston, 8-4, and San Diego, 6-4, at OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
Senior Breanna Vasquez got the start against Houston and went three innings. Sophomore Denali Loecker came in and pitched four shutout innings in relief to earn the win.
Junior Nia Carter tied a single-game school record with five hits, going 5-for-5 at the plate and knocking in two runs.
“I think today I was just seeing the ball really well,” Carter said. “Coming in I had no idea that would happen, I had no idea I tied the record until someone told me after the game. I am really honored to be in this position that I am, and I hope to keep it going.”
Loecker got the start in the second game throwing 6.1 innings and striking out three. She earned the win to move to 9-3 in the circle. Vasquez pitched the final two thirds of the inning and earned the save.
“It was kind of a rough start to the week,” Loecker said. “The main thing I focused on today was having fun and trusting myself and what I can do. That, and having the defense behind me. They were great.”
Junior Kalena Burns went 2-for-3 with a home run. Additionally, junior Sophia Maras and sophomore Marissa Peek each tallied two RBIs.
Iowa recorded a triple play in the top of the third inning after the batter lined out to Maras. She got the unassisted out at second, and then threw to Burns for the third out.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Iowa started the game off scoring two runs in the first inning. Sophomore Brylee Klosterman hit a leadoff single through the left side of the infield, Carter beat out a bunt, and Loecker was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After a fielder’s choice, both runs scored on a passed ball.
Houston scored a run in the first after a triple and a sacrifice fly.
The Hawkeyes added two runs in the second after Peek walked, sophomore Sammy Diaz walked, and Carter singled up the middle scoring one. Loecker hit a sacrifice fly to score the second run from third.
The Cougars answered back with a two-run second inning of their own.
Iowa added two more runs in the third. Sophomore Grace Banes walked, and Sheehy reached on a fielder’s choice and an error. Diaz and Klosterman both walked to score a run. Carter singled back to the pitcher, scoring a second run.
Houston scored a run in the third after a leadoff-bunt single. The runner ended up coming around to score after an error.
The Hawkeyes scored two in the fourth after loading the bases again. Banes was hit by a pitch, Sheehy singled to right field and DeSena walked. Peek singled and drove in a run, and Diaz hit a sacrifice fly to score the second run.
Iowa scored two runs in the first inning after Banes singled, Sheehy walked, DeSena moved them over on a sacrifice and Peek singled scoring Banes. Maras grounded out scoring another run.
Kalena Burns hit a solo home run to centerfield in the third to give the Hawkeyes another run.
The Hawkeyes scored three runs on three hits in the sixth inning. Burns singled through the right side, Banes walked and DeSena singled to center field scoring Burns. Peek grounded out to third base and plated another run, and Maras doubled to left center for another RBI.
San Diego attempted a comeback in the top of the seventh inning scoring four runs, but were shut down as the Hawkeyes held on to win.
- Iowa improves to 15-8 on the season.
- Nia Carter had five hits in the game against Houston to match the school record for hits in a single game. Carter joins Christy Herbert (1996), Brandi Macias (1996) and Liz Watkins (2012).
- This was the second matchup between Iowa and San Diego this season with the Hawkeyes taking both matchups.
The Hawkeyes face Sam Houston State and Indiana on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.