Softball hands Iowa 10-1 loss in Hawkeye’s home opener


File Photo

Hailey Duwa gets instructions from her first base coach.

Taylor Jordan

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Western Illinois softball team (8-14) came out strong with a 10-1 victory on Wednesday over Iowa. The last time WIU defeated a Power Five school was on April 17, 2018. The Leathernecks last three Power Five wins have been against the Hawkeyes.

The Purple and Gold offense clutched season highs of 10 runs and 12 hits as a team to blemish Iowa’s home opener.

“We really started talking about game plans and making sure we’re on the same page after South Dakota on Sunday,” head coach Beth Golitko said. “We came into this knowing that they are Iowa from the Big Ten but we wanted to rip that off the front of their jersey and just play another team.”

Iowa City native Emily Ira started the game off in the second inning with a single up the middle for the Leathernecks first hit of the game. With the bases loaded and two outs, Payton Abbott smashed a grand slam over the wall in left centerfield for her fourth home run of the season. WIU was not finished as Hailey Duwa lined a double down the left field line to score Sydney Hollings from first after her two-out walk.

The Hawkeyes starting pitcher Erin Riding left the game after 1.2 innings. Riding was revived by the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on March 11, Allison Doocy. The nod is Doocy’s second Pitcher of the Week award of her career and third conference award. She was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on April 17, 2017.

“Our players trusted the person behind them,” Golitko said. “We focused on what pitch we wanted to hit and we passed the bat to extend the inning as long as we could.”

Down 5-0, Lea Thompson started some momentum for the Hawkeyes with a stand-up triple in the second, scoring freshman Sydney Owens, who reached on a hit by pitch.

With runners at the corners and two outs in the top of the fourth, Hallie Hollatz drove the ball over the head of Hawkeye centerfield to plate two more runs for a 7-1 advantage.

Doocy threw 3.1 innings striking out four, as sophomore Sarah Lehman entered the circle in the sixth to finish the game. With one out, Danielle Olson walked followed by back-to-back singles from Hollatz and Ira to lead the bases again. Aly Compton hit a single through the left side of the inning to extend the lead to 8-1.

Top of the seventh, Duwa hit an opposite-field home run over the left field fence with a runner on, making the score 10-1. That was Duwa’s third homer of the season.

Ira (5-5) achieved her eighth complete game of the season allowing just one run on five hits with seven strikeouts.

Western Illinois softball team will return to Summit League play at home this Saturday with a doubleheader against North Dakota State. First game will start at noon at Mary Ellen McKee stadium.