CLEARWATER, Fla. — The University of Iowa softball team took two games on opening day of the 2024 season on Friday at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Hawkeyes won game one against NC State 2-0 before run ruling Western Kentucky, 8-0, in five innings in game two.
Sophomore Jalen Adams started game one against NC State and Junior Devyn Greer started game two against Western Kentucky. They each threw complete a game and allowed no runs on nine hits and struck out five batters, combined.
Four Hawkeyes recorded multi-hit games. Junior Rylie Moss and freshman Jenna Young against NC State and freshman Soo-Jin Berry and senior Brylee Klosterman against WKU. Freshman Devin Bowman had a pinch hit two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to give Iowa the late lead.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Adams started the game strong in the circle retiring the Wolfpack hitters in order. NC State threatened in the second getting two runners on, but Adams held strong and was able to strand both runners.
Greer and Young had back-to-back one out singles to start things for Iowa in the bottom of the second. The Hawkeyes were able to load the bases after a walk to senior Sammy Diaz but were unable to cash in as the inning came to a close.
Iowa had another clean frame in the top of third with catcher Hannah Lindsay recording the final out by throwing out a runner stealing at second. Iowa had a runner on in each of the next three innings but were unable to capitalize.
The Hawkeyes finally broke things open with two outs in the sixth. Bowman came in as a pinch hitter and lined a single to left field to score sophomore Avery Jackson and Diaz. Adams once again shut down the Wolfpack hitters in the top of the seventh to complete the game.
Iowa finished the game with two runs on eight hits with two errors. NC State was held to no runs on four hits and had two errors.
The Hawkeyes came out strong against WKU and opened the game with five straight hits. Berry cashed in with two-RBI single up the middle to score Bennett and Banes and give Iowa the early lead. Klosterman tacked on another run with an RBI double to right field, scoring Banes to put Iowa up 3-0 with no outs.
After a pitching change for the Hilltoppers, they were able to get a double play and a fly out from Iowa to end the inning.
Iowa added three more runs in the bottom of the third off an RBI single from Klosterman, a sac fly from Diaz and an RBI from Greer. Greer kept the WKU hitters in check allowing just three baserunners through her first four innings of work.
The Hawkeyes secured their win in the bottom of the fourth inning scoring two more runs on a pass ball and an RBI single off the bat of Young. Greer sat the Hilltoppers down in order in the top of the fifth to close out the run-rule victory for Iowa.
Iowa finished the game with eight runs on nine hits and held WKU to no runs on four hits.
- Iowa has started the season 2-0 for the third straight year.
- This was the fourth time in program history that Iowa has started the season with back-to-back shutouts.
- Freshmen Bowman, Young, Berry and Simon all made their collegiate debuts.
- Junior transfer Lindsay made her first appearance in an Iowa uniform.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH RENEE GILLISPIE
“Two wins on opening day is always a great thing to come away with. I think as the day went along, we got stronger, and we saw a lot of different people step up and contribute. Our pitching was strong in both games, and we had clutch hitting when it came down to it. I am excited to see how we come out and attack the day tomorrow.”
The Hawkeyes take on North Carolina Central and Notre Dame tomorrow at 3 and 6 p.m. (CT), respectively. Both games will be streamed line on GameChanger app.