Iowa softball defeats Maryland 7-1 in Big Ten Tournament first-round game
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Iowa softball team defeated Maryland (7-1) on Wednesday afternoon at Eichelberger Field in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
Senior Nia Carter had a record-breaking performance going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Her seventh inning double made her Iowa’s single season hit leader with 94. Freshman Tory Bennett had a hot bat as well, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Freshman Jalen Adams got the start in the circle and went the distance. She threw a complete game allowing one run on three hits while striking out two.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Maryland threatened in the first inning as its first two batters reached base. With one out, Adams induced a ground ball back to her and got the out at home for the second out. The Hawkeyes got out of the inning without any runs crossing the plate. The Terrapins used a rotating tandem of two pitchers through the first three innings and was able to keep the Iowa bats quiet.
The Terrapins got runners on the corners with two outs in the third inning, but solid defense from the Hawkeyes got them out of the frame. In the top of the fourth, Carter led off with a single and got to third on a single from Bennett. The Hawkeyes got on the board on a sac fly via junior Denali Loecker.
In the home half of the fifth, Maryland loaded the bases with no outs. They were able to tie it on a throwing error by the Hawkeyes, but Adams was able to limit the damage as the fifth inning ended with the score, 1-1.
Carter got on base to start the sixth on a Maryland error. She came around to score on a sac fly from Bennett to give Iowa the lead, 2-1. The Hawkeyes extended their lead to two as sophomore Tatianna Roman scored from first on an RBI double from Loecker. In the home half of the inning, Maryland got runners on first and second with one out. Adams induced a flyout and a lineout to end the inning.
The Hawkeyes loaded the bases in the top of the seventh on two infield singles and a walk. Sophomore Tristin Doster drew a bases-loaded walk to extend Iowa’s advantage to 4-1. Carter came up with her record-breaking hit with a two-RBI double to left center to make it 6-1. Bennett came through with an RBI single up the middle to extend the lead to six. Adams was able to shut down Maryland in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win.
Iowa finished the contest with seven runs on eight hits.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH RENEE GILLISPIE
“We have talked all season long about playing the game and enjoying it and we did exactly that today. They played loose and relaxed and look what happened. Jalen was outstanding in the circle today, and our offense was able to pick up the key hits to support her. We have a tough matchup tomorrow with Northwestern, and you can expect us to show up ready to fight.”
HEAR FROM NIA CARTER
“I am so blessed to be able to be in this position. In the moment, I completely forgot that I was one away. I just wanted to be able to produce for my team to help us get the win. We came into the game and didn’t put any pressure on ourselves and played to have fun.”
- This is the first time since 2018 that the Hawkeyes have advanced past the first round of the conference tournament.
- Adams threw her ninth complete game of the season.
- Carter is second in Big Ten history for hits in a single season.
Iowa (31-26) will face top-seeded and 19th-ranked Northwestern (35-11) in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. First pitch at Eichelberger Field in Champaign, Illinois, is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network and the Hawkeye Radio Network.