FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The University of Iowa softball team defeated South Dakota State, 6-3, on Friday at the Triple Crown Sports facility in the second round of the National Invitational Softball Championships (NISC).
Freshman Jalen Adams got the start in the circle for the Hawkeyes. She went 6.1 innings allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out five. Junior Denali Loecker picked up her ninth save of the season and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs at the plate. Seven Hawkeyes recorded a hit for the second straight game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Hawkeye bats were hot once again to start the game. Senior Nia Carter led off with a four-pitch walk and came around to score on the RBI single off the bat of Loecker. Juniors Grace Banes and Sammy Diaz recorded back-to-back hits to give Iowa the 3-0 lead after one inning of play.
Stay hot GB! 🔥 @gracebanes5 drives in her fourth run of the tournament with an RBI double!
B2 | Iowa 2, SDSU 0#Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/2nIlvtHHI3
— Iowa Softball (@iowasoftball) May 19, 2023
The Jackrabbits threatened in the top of the second as they got runners on the corners with two outs but a diving grab by Diaz at first ended the threat. Iowa loaded the bases with no outs to start the bottom of the second. Sophomore Tatianna Roman drew a bases-loaded walk to add on another run for Iowa. Two more runs crossed home in the inning to extend the lead to six.
South Dakota State started the fourth inning with a double and had another runner reach on a walk. Adams was able to work out of the jam to send the game to the bottom of the fourth maintaining the six-run advantage. The Hawkeyes got two more runners on base to start the bottom of the frame, but both were left stranded.
The Jackrabbits got their first two hitters aboard to start the sixth inning and they were able to cut the Iowa lead in half with a three-run home run to make it 6-3. The Hawkeyes were retired in order to end the sixth inning.
Loecker entered the game in relief with one out and a runner on second in the seventh inning and shut the door on South Dakota State. Iowa finished the game with six runs on eight hits.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH RENEE GILLISPIE
“Once again, we played a good, clean game of softball. Our offense is clicking, and Jalen threw a great game. She was able to stay composed when runners got on and put us in a position to win. We were able to score early again, and when we do that, it allows them to play loose and good things happen. We are going to carry this momentum into championship Saturday.”
HEAR FROM JALEN ADAMS
“Today, I felt like my ball was moving a lot and I was throwing hard. I started out a little jittery but once I settled in I was able to throw all of my pitches confidently. I am proud of my teammates for being able to pull through and get it to the championship bracket. We have made the most of this post season experience and we are having a lot of fun.”
- The Hawkeyes are 14-1 when they score in the first inning this season.
- Loecker picked up her team-leading ninth save of the year.
- Carter has recorded a hit in eight straight games.
- Iowa is 16-0 when scoring six runs or more.
Iowa (33-27) advances to the semifinals of the NISC on Friday. They will face the either San Jose State or Maryland. First pitch at Horesetooth Field in Fort Collins, Colorado, is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CT). The game will be streamed on the Triple Crown Sports YouTube