Iowa softball splits two games at The Spring Games in Florida
MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. — The University of Iowa softball team had a split on Saturday at The Spring Games. They Hawkeyes took the opening game against Princeton (6-0) before falling to Lehigh (7-1).
Senior Breanna Vasquez got the start against Princeton. She threw her second complete game of the season going seven innings allowing no runs, on five hits and struck out five. Freshman Tory Bennett and junior Grace Banes both went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored three of Iowa’s six runs. Junior Denali Loecker hit her sixth home run of the year.
In game two versus Lehigh, the Hawkeyes used the arms of freshmen Jalen Adams and Loecker. Senior Nia Carter went 3-for-3 and was responsible for half of Iowa’s hits.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Vasquez worked efficiently through the first two innings, allowing just one baserunner and striking out two Tiger hitters. The Hawkeyes jumped on Princeton early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second. Two runs came across on an RBI single off the bat of freshman Avery Jackson and rookie Echo Mattiello laid down a beautiful squeeze bunt to score Jackson.
In the third, Iowa tacked on another run as freshman Tory Bennett crossed home on a ball put in play by Banes to extend its lead to 4-0. The Tigers put their best threat together in the fourth inning as they had runners on first and third with one out. Vasquez got a big strikeout for out number two and then catcher Skylinn Pogue caught the Tiger runner trying to steal second to end the inning.
In the fifth, Iowa was able to add two more runs on a big home run from Loecker to right center to make it 6-0. Vasquez closed out the game strong, facing seven Princeton hitters in the final two innings.
Iowa finished the game with six runs on nine hits and no errors.
The Mountain Hawks opened up the scoring in the bottom of the second, plating three runs on four hits and one Iowa error. The Hawkeyes had runners on base the first three innings, but were unable to get any rally started.
Lehigh extended its lead to 4-0 in the third frame. In the fourth and fifth, the Mountain Hawks added on three more runs on three Hawkeye miscues. In the top of the sixth, the Hawkeyes started the inning with a pinch-hit single from junior Brylee Klosterman and she came around to score on an RBI single from Loecker. In the inning, Iowa had half its hits for the game with three straight singles.
Lehigh closed out the game and handed Iowa its first loss of the weekend.
Carter extended her on-base streak to 15 games and has a nine-game hit streak to go along with it.
Vasquez picked up her sixth win of the season, which matches her season total from 2022.
Loecker has a team-leading 26 RBIs this year, which is one off from her total from her sophomore season.
Iowa (14-9) returns to action tomorrow for day three of The Spring Games. The Hawkeyes will face Bucknell at 10:30 a.m. (CT). The game will be streamed on FloSoftball (subscription required) and broadcast on Hawkeye Sports Radio.