LEESBURG, Fla. – The University of Iowa softball team (4-4) took both games of a doubleheader against Penn State (0-7) in Leesburg, Florida, on Thursday. The Hawkeyes won the first game, 5-1. The second game went 12 innings and the Hawkeyes won, 6-5, on a walk-off single by freshman Grace Banes.
Senior pitcher Sarah Lehman pitched a two-hit complete game gem for the Hawkeyes in Game 1, striking out five and allowing only one unearned run to get the win. Freshman Denali Loecker went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
“I hadn’t been seeing the ball as well, so I changed my stance in the batter’s box,” said Loecker. “I moved up closer to the plate so I could see the ball better. Going into today I was like ‘I need to hit the ball, see the ball, hit the ball’ and it worked out.”
In the second game the Hawkeyes saw clutch hitting in the bottom of the 12th inning from senior Aralee Bogar and Banes to win the game. Senior pitcher Allision Doocy came in and pitched eight innings in relief, striking out 11 on her way to the win.
“I just tried to go up there and hit Bogar in. Get the job done,” said Banes. “I just tried my best to get a hit. Especially try to hit it to the outfield so Bogar could tag up and go. The team did really well, Doocy pitched a great game. We fought as a team.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Hawkeyes got the scoring started in the top of the first. Nia Carter singled and Riley Sheehy and Banes reached on errors. Loecker drove home two with a single. Iowa expanded its lead in the top of the third with a Kalena Burns single and a Loecker double. Penn State scored their loan run of the game in the bottom of the third after an error that allowed the runner to reach third on a single. The Hawkeyes padded their lead in the top of the fifth with Bogar reaching on an error and Banes drawing a walk, Burns drove them both home with a single.
Penn State scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to start the scoring. The Hawkeyes were able to crack through in the bottom of the seventh. Lindy Milkowksi hit a pinch-hit single to start the rally. Sammy Diaz reached on an error and Kit Rocco hit a pinch-hit single to advance pinch runners Avery Guy and Zoe Schulte. Carter would single to bring them home, tie the game and force extra innings. Penn State would score in the ninth inning, but the Hawkeyes answered in their half on a throwing error by the catcher allowing Amber DeSeana to score. Penn State scored again in the top of the 10th, but the Hawkeyes would again answer this time on a Bogar single and RBI. Penn State would score one more time in the top of the 12th. In the bottom of the 12th, Sheehy would move Carter who was on second per the International Tie Breaker rules over to third on a sacrifice bunt. Bogar laced a triple to left field to bring her home. Banes would then hit a single to bring Bogar home and win the game for the Hawkeyes.
- This was the first extra inning game for Iowa this season.
- Doocy made her 115th career pitching appearance which ties Chelsea Lyon for 11th most in an Iowa uniform. She is 10 appearances away from Kristi Hanks for 10th all time.
- Loecker leads the Hawkeyes with six RBIs on the season.
HEAR FROM HITTING COACH TRENA PRATER
“First game just coming out loose, the girls were relaxed. They stuck to our game plan, we had a good offensive plan and everybody committed to it. As a result, we were able to produce. In game two we faced one of their best pitchers. She kept us off balance early, then we settled in. It was a good fight; it was a dog fight. Their offense threw us some punches, and we answered back with some more. It was a great effort from the team all the way through.”
“Very proud of Grace. She was hitting balls right at people all day long, and then finally there at the end the ball caught some eyes. Bogar came through with that big triple. It was fun to see people step up. We had some pinch-hitters; Lindy Milkowski came in to get us going. We were able to rally in that inning to score two and tie it up, her and Amber DeSena. It was a good team win offensively. Great production, and then obviously a great job in the circle by all our pitchers.
The Hawkeyes return to the diamond tomorrow against Penn State at 10 a.m.