The 11th-seeded University of Iowa softball team fell, 3-0, to No. 6 Wisconsin on Thursday night in round one of the 2017 Big Ten Conference Tournament at the Wilpon Complex.
“It came down to the little things,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “It wasn’t a massive hit fest tonight, it was little hits and balls that went through the gaps. That was the difference. We didn’t adjust soon enough offensively to give ourselves a chance. We had runners on base early but didn’t produce any runs. Ultimately, I’m proud of this group of young ladies and what they have done all year.
“The team has talked about having courage and passion and being genuine, and that’s exactly what they did this season. I’m so proud of these young ladies who showed grit when people counted them out. It doesn’t matter what the outside world says, it matters what we do, and how we control our attitude and effort. They brought their best every day, and that’s why we made it to the tournament.”
Cheyenne Pratt went 2-for-3, while Claire Fritsch was 1-for-3. Shayla Starkenburg suffered the loss, throwing four strikeouts in 6.0 innings of play.
After two scoreless innings, Wisconsin took the lead in the bottom of the third inning when Brooke Wyderski scored as Chloe Miller was caught stealing second. The Badgers added a run in the bottom of the third on a Stephanie Lombardo RBI single through the right side. Wisconsin extended its lead in the bottom of the sixth, scoring a run on Jordan Little’s RBI bunt single.
The Hawkeyes conclude the season with a 19-32 overall record and a 9-14 record in conference action.
“It’s nice to be here because we gained valuable experience in postseason play,” said Looper. “There’s nowhere to go but up. We finished in the middle of the pack in Big Ten play, and next year we need to get to the next level. The returning group has the ability to do it and the young players have gained valuable experience. The four seniors have made a huge impact on the program and we are going to miss them, but I am excited about our future.”