By Anna Kayser
For the first time since 2015, Iowa softball collected a Big Ten Tournament win on May 10, knocking off No. 5 seed Ohio State, 5-1.
Sophomore Allison Doocy sat down 3 in the first inning on strikeouts, but not without damage. Lilli Piper, Ohio State’s .400-plus hitter, sent a home run over the center field wall for what turned out to be the Buckeye’s lone run.
“That’s what Piper does,” Iowa head coach Marla Looper said.
To start off the third inning for the Hawkeyes, senior Daniella Ibarra — in only her 71st at-bat of the year — roped a line drive up the middle for a single and Iowa’s first hit.
A groundball fielder’s choice took Ibarra off the bases, leaving speedy left fielder Cheyenne Pratt on first. A swipe of second base and a walk to first baseman Mallory Kilian put two on, one in scoring position, with senior center fielder Allie Wood at the plate.
With a soft groundout to the pitcher, Wood moved both runners up. Pratt then scored from third on a passed ball. The Iowa threat ended on a close call at first base on a groundout by Angela Schmiederer, and the score sat tied going into the bottom of the inning.
With one out and two on, a four-pitch walk to Piper loaded the bases. Doocy held her composure in the jam, recording two-straight strikeouts to end the third.
Both teams put runners on the bases, but because of peak pitching in jams, neither side was able to bring a run in.
Fast forward to the top of the seventh, with both team still tied at 1.
Coming off the bench, sophomore Lea Thompson beat out an infield single. A bunt by Ibarra followed by a wild pitch put two Hawkeyes in scoring position. A wild pitch then scored Thompson, giving Iowa its first lead of the night at 2-1.
Two outs later and a walk to Schmiederer, the Hawkeyes threatened again. Another wild pitch and a single by sophomore Taylor Libby extended the lead, 4-1. Following another single, the Hawkeyes led, 5-1, going into the bottom of the seventh.
The first two Buckeye batters reached in the final half-inning, but with two outs and the bases loaded, Doocy recorded her 15th strikeout of the night to close out the game.
In Doocy’s postgame interview, the entire team was behind her celebrating the win.
“Ultimately, it’s a team game,” Looper said. “Yes, Doocy’s in the circle, she had 15 strikeouts, and she gets the interview, but we let the team back there because it’s a team win. You win and lose as a team, and tonight we got the W.”
Doocy’s performance was a gem for the Hawkeyes, with the lone blemish coming from the first inning homer. However, the team strategy changed to account for Piper’s power.
“She didn’t get to see many pitches after that,” Looper said, referring to Piper’s two four-pitch walks.
With the win, Iowa advanced to the second round of the Big Ten Tournament to play fourth-seeded Northwestern at 7 p.m. May 11. The Hawkeyes took a game off of the Wildcats in Evanston, 3-0, on April 28.