Hawkeyes Sweep Sunday at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The University of Iowa softball team swept a doubleheader Sunday afternoon to secure the Big Ten opening series win over Penn State. The Hawkeyes won game one (9-4) in a great offensive showing and came back to win game two (4-3).   

Senior Breanna Vasquez (10-2) got the ball in game one and went four innings, allowing four runs, five hits and struck out two. Junior Denali Loecker recorded her third save of season allowing no runs and struck out six in three innings of work. Five Hawkeyes had a multi-hit game, led by sophomore Tristin Doster who went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.  

Loecker got her second win of the season in game two, throwing 6 and two-thirds allowing two runs on six hits. Three different Hawkeyes recorded an RBI in the contest, led by freshman Tory Bennett, who had two. Senior Nia Carter went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.  


Game 1 

The Nittany Lions struck first in the first inning, plating one run on an error by Iowa. The Hawkeyes responded in the second inning in a big way, scoring four runs on three hits and two walks. Doster put a charge into one and sent it over the left center fence to give Iowa the lead, 3-1. The fourth Hawkeye run came across on a sac fly from Carter. 

Iowa kept things going in the third as two more runs came home to extend its lead, 6-1. Penn State got runners on second and third with one out in the home half of the third, but Vasquez stranded them as she got a strikeout and a ground out to end the frame.  

Penn State got one run back with a leadoff home run to make it, 6-2 in the fourth. The Nittany Lions tacked on two more in the fifth inning to cut the Hawkeye lead to two.   

Iowa was able to mount a response in the sixth getting two runs back on a RBIs from Bennett and junior Grace Banes to push its lead back to four, 8-4. In the seventh, the Hawkeyes added an insurance run on an RBI double from Loecker to make it 9-4. 

Iowa picked up the win scoring nine runs on 13 hits and had one error.  

Game 2

The Hawkeye bats stayed hot to start game two as the first three hitters reached base. They took the early lead on an RBI double from Bennett. Penn State responded in the bottom half, tying the game at one after a leadoff triple. Loecker entered the game in the circle with one out in the inning in relief of freshman Jalen Adams.  

Junior Sammy Diaz gave Iowa the lead on a two-out solo shot in the second inning. The Nittany Lions followed suit again, and took the lead, 3-2, on a two-RBI single. Carter tied it, 3-3, with an RBI double in the fourth.  

Both teams went quietly until the seventh inning when Carter led off the inning with a single to left field. She came around to score on an RBI single from Bennett to give Iowa the, 4-3, lead. Loecker shut down Penn State in the bottom of the seventh to secure the series win.  


“We came out aggressive and ready to play today. Offensively, we were able to get the timely hits and get the run support to keep us in the games. On defense, we made the routine plays and the great plays to have our pitchers’ backs. Its huge to get a series win in conference play, and we are going to ride this momentum into our home opener on Tuesday.”


“We did a great job of stringing hits together today which took a lot of pressure of the pitching staff. They were a good hitting team, so I was just trying to attack the zone and make them miss hit the ball if they got contact.” – Loecker

“I was trying to stay calm and collected on defense. Especially with Denali pitching, I knew we were going to get a lot more ground balls, so I just wanted to play solid defense and get outs for her.” -Bennett


  • Loecker now has 100 career strikeouts.
  • Carter now has eight three-hit games this season.
  • Iowa now leads the all-time series with Penn State, 46-21.


Iowa (20-12, 2-1) returns to action on Tuesday for its home opener at Bob Pearl Field. They will face Nebraska in a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. (CT). Both games with be broadcast on BTN, Hawkeye Sports Radio, and KXIC locally in Iowa City.