One step forward and two steps back isn’t an accurate descriptor for the past week in Hawkeye softball. Two steps forward and two steps back would be more spot on.
After a disappointing home series against the Wisconsin Badgers in which the Hawkeyes struggled to score runs, Iowa headed to take on one of its in-state rivals, the Drake Bulldogs.
The Hawkeyes got rid of their frustrations at the plate in Des Moines against the Drake pitching, plating 18 runs on 17 hits and seven walks. Those season highs were also joined by season highs in RBIs (15) and home runs (three). Kayla Massey recorded the five-inning shutout and the Hawkeyes came home to prepare for the 19th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in another weekend home series.
Friday night brought the first of three against Nebraska and Massey was back in the circle. Shortstop Megan Blank had another good game at the plate, adding four more RBIs to her total, two of which came on a first-inning home run. Massey limited Nebraska to two runs in seven innings and the Hawkeyes took the first game of the series 6-2.
Saturday night brought the middle game of the series and rain wasn’t the only thing flying around Pearl Field. Softballs were flying off the bats of the Cornhuskers as Chelsea Lyon had her second consecutive rough start. Nebraska scored 11 runs on 17 hits and the Cornhusker’s Emily Lockman held the Hawkeyes to a lone run as the Cornhuskers evened up the series.
This afternoon brought the rubber game of the series and the two teams’ best pitchers were back in the circle. Massey and Nebraska’s Tatum Edwards both kept the bats silent through the first four innings. After Nebraska pushed across two runs in the fifth, Blank once again sent a ball over the fence with a runner on to tie the game heading into the seventh inning. In the seventh inning, the Cornhuskers were the beneficiaries of a walk and two Iowa errors that allowed them to score the winning run and take the series.
The Hawkeyes are now 22-15 overall and 2-7 in conference. They have a three-game series at Northwestern this weekend starting Friday at 4 pm.