After a night in which Iowa had put themselves in position to score a number of times but failed to do so, the last time it happened was perhaps the most difficult for the team to swallow.
Sammi Gyerman came up to bat with two outs and runners on first and third in the bottom of the seventh. Northwestern was clinging to a 1-0 lead and Gyerman, who earlier this season went for a cycle, looked like she would have a chance to win the game.
She struck out, however, and Northwestern would leave Pearl Field with a victory in the first contest of the three-game series.
“I think Sammi was trying just a little too hard,” head coach Marla Looper said. “She was trying to make too much happen and unfortunately it got the better of her.”
Sam Logic is throwing out the first pitch this evening. pic.twitter.com/hj0LpqLHAr
— Jordan Hansen (@JordyHansen) May 1, 2015
To be fair, consistent offense was difficult for the Hawkeyes to find all night. Iowa tallied five hits on the night, but just one with a runner on a base.
The Hawkeyes got a bit of production from second basemen Claire Fritsch, who went 1-1 with two walks and was hit by a pitch.
“I think the preparation that we did all week set us up for that,” Fritsch said. “When we got into the box it was go ahead and hit and we didn’t have to think about anything.”
Star shortstop centerfielder Megan Blank and the normally consistent Gyerman combined to go 0-6 at the plate and drew just one walk between the pair.
“Sometimes its not gonna fall and you hit it right to them,” Blank said. “I didn’t think [their pitcher] was overpowering me or anything, it just wasn’t falling tonight.”
Blank, however, more than made up for her normal offensive prowess with several impressive defensive plays.
In fact, the Iowa defense as a whole played quite well with the lone Northwestern run coming from a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning.
“Our defense has been on-point as of late,” Looper said. “They’re playing really solid and making the plays that we need and making some challenging plays too.”
Iowa is back in action tomorrow at 2 p.m. and the coaching staff is looking to make a few minor adjustments as they look to improve their seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Looper feels that her team is thinking just a little bit too much and its something that was stressed to the team after the game.
“We had the lineup that we really wanted up with runners on today,” Looper said. “There were times where we let the really good pitches go buy and we were trying too much instead of trusting our ability an trusting the preparation. We knew what they were bringing to us when they came in.”