Iowa softball defeats Rutgers 9-6 for 30th win of season
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa softball team defeated Rutgers, 9-6, on a blustery Sunday afternoon at Bob Pearl Field to pick up its 30th win of the season.
The Hawkeyes used four different arms in the rubber match against the Scarlet Knights. Senior Breanna Vasquez, sophomore Devyn Greer, and freshman Jalen Adams all threw two innings a piece. Junior Denali Loecker went 1-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Freshman Tory Bennett went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Scarlet Knights loaded the bases with one out to start the game, but Vasquez got a strikeout and a fly out to leave three stranded to end the inning. Iowa had its first two batters reached to start the home half of the first. The Hawkeyes loaded the bases with two outs and Bennett came through with a two RBI single to left field. A third run came across on the play as an errant throw made it to the outfield wall and Bennett ended up at third as Iowa took the 3-0 lead. Junior Grace Banes extended the lead to four on an RBI single to score Bennett. Another Hawkeye run crossed the plate on a pass ball as they put up a five spot in the first inning.
Rutgers responded in the top of the second scoring four runs on two hits and three walks to make it 5-4. The top of the third inning was a defensive clinic for sophomore Tatianna Roman as she made two diving grabs in center field.
The Scarlet Knights were running the bases aggressively as Iowa had a perfect relay from the outfield to get the tying run at home for the second out of the fourth inning. Rutgers tied the game at five on the next batter. The Scarlet Knights took a 6-5 advantage as Iowa allowed a run to come home on a throwing error from the outfield. The Hawkeyes responded in the bottom of the inning as Loecker launched her ninth home run of the season to straight away center to give Iowa the lead back, 7-6.
Adams did her job in relief going two innings allowing no runs on no hits and struck out one hitter. In the bottom of the sixth, Iowa got two runners on, and Loecker sent another one over the fence but was called out for missing first base as the Hawkeyes extended their lead, 9-6.
Loecker entered in the seventh and picked up her eighth save of the season after retiring Rutgers in order to end the contest.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH RENEE GILLISPIE
“It was great to see us respond when we went down today. It shows our growth as a team and that we can fight and comeback. We are trending up right now and that’s the spot we want to be in as we close out the season.”
HEAR FROM THE STUDENT-ATHLETES
“We never thought it was over. So many people had great at-bats today and it was an all-around team win. It was a great senior day all around. I am going to keep having fun playing the game that I love.” – Carter
“This year feels so different for me personally and as a team. It’s great to see the success that we have had thus far, but we aren’t done yet. I want my hard work to show and be remembered as a good teammate.” – Vasquez
- Loecker is tied for sixth all-time for home runs at Iowa (23).
- Locker matched her career high for RBIs (4).
- Iowa leads the all-time series against Rutgers, 14-4.
- Iowa has posted its first 30-win season since 2013.
Iowa (30-22, 9-10) returns to action on Wednesday for the 2023 home finale against Northern Iowa. First pitch at Pearl Field is scheduled for 5 p.m. (CT). The game will be streamed on B1G+ (subscription required) and broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network.