FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The University of Iowa softball team defeated UC Davis, 6-3, on Thursday at the Triple Crown Sports facility in the first game of the National Invitational Softball Championships (NISC).
Junior Denali Loecker got the start in the circle for the Hawkeyes. She went four innings allowing two runs on three hits and striking out three. Freshman Jalen Adams entered in the fifth inning in relief. Seven different Hawkeyes recorded a hit, including juniors Grace Banes and Brylee Klosterman each picking up two hits. Banes had three RBIs and Klosterman had two runs scored.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Aggies got their leadoff hitter aboard, but Loecker retired the next three in order to start the game. Freshman Tory Bennett got a two-out double in the first but was left on base. Banes got Iowa on the board with a leadoff home run in the second inning to give the Hawkeyes the early advantage. Klosterman reached on a single through the right side. Freshman Avery Jackson followed that up with a single to left field and both her and Klosterman came home as the Aggies had two errors on the play to make it 3-0.
UC Davis loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the third. They were able to cut the Hawkeye lead to one on a two-RBI single. In the home half of the fourth, Klosterman hit a one-out double but was left stranded at third base.
Adams entered in relief in the fifth and faced four batters. The Hawkeyes put a two-out rally together in the bottom of the fifth started by a single off the bat of Bennett. Loecker followed that up with a ground-rule double to right field. Both came home on an RBI single from Banes to make it 5-2.
The Aggies had a run cross the plate in the top of the sixth on an RBI single. Adams was able to prevent further damage as she stranded two runners to end the frame. In the home half of the inning, Iowa got its first two runners on via walks. Klosterman crossed home plate on the RBI single from sophomore Tristin Doster to push the lead back to three. Adams retired UC Davis in order in the seventh to close out the game.
Iowa finished with six runs on 11 hits.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH RENEE GILLISPIE
“We played a good clean game of softball today. We had solid pitching from Denali and Jalen, and we played error free defense behind them. Our offense came through with runners on today to be able to provide run support. We had a lot of great at bats including two hits from Grace that both resulted in runs for us.”
HEAR FROM THE STUDENT-ATHLETES
“It was great to be back in the circle and get the win. The defense was playing great behind me which allowed us to stay relaxed and carry the energy on offense.” – Loecker
“Getting the win today was a great way to start the tournament. I was getting into a lot of deep counts and was able to see a lot of pitches. I was seeing the ball really well today, so I wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity. We are here to win.” – Banes
- Banes matched her career high for RBIs in a game (3).
- This was Iowa’s first postseason win since 2008.
- Klosterman surpassed 100 career hits.
Iowa (32-27) will face either Tarleton State or South Dakota State in the second round of the NISC on Friday. First pitch at Red Rocks Field in Fort Collins, Colorado, is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CT). The game will be streamed on the Triple Crown Sports YouTube page.