Flashes, but no consistency in softball


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This weekend, the Iowa softball team will head to Oklahoma for seven games in five days, and it has potential to be another rough stretch.

Then again, maybe not. It depends on which Iowa team shows up — the one that nearly beat No. 2 Oregon or the one that has been run-ruled seven times this season.

The Hawkeyes will face the No. 6 Sooners, East Carolina, Oklahoma State, and a Tulsa team that has made four-straight NCAA regionals during their five-day trip to the Sooner State.

“It’s going to be competitive, by far, but it’s not going to be much different from the last few weekends,” head coach Marla Looper said. “If we can approach this one game at a time, I think the outcomes are going to come.

“We’re right the on the edge — on the verge of busting out like we do periodically, but we must do it more consistently.”

So far this season, Iowa has played four games against ranked opponents — they lost two by run-rule to No. 1 Florida, beat No. 18 Central Florida, and lost a 1-run game to No. 2 Oregon.

The Hawkeyes are also 4-5 in their last nine games, a major improvement for a team that lost eight straight earlier in this season.

“We’ve definitely gained a lot of trust in each other throughout the season,” outfielder Whitney Repole said. “We’ve had moments in which we’ve struggled, and we’ve had moments in which we’ve shown what we’re capable of.

“I think we’re ready to maintain that consistency.”

Consistency has been a key term for the Hawks this year and quite simply, they have not yet found it.

The Hawkeyes rank near the bottom of the Big Ten in team batting average (.252), but they have showed offensive prowess at certain points.

This was especially true last weekend in California, when they racked up 19 hits and 11 runs against a decent Cal State-Fullerton team but didn’t register a single hit against Fresno State the day before.

While some of this is the other team’s pitching, Iowa still got 8 hits in the game against Oregon but could only muster 1 run. While the players and coaches may be looking for that consistency, they simply haven’t found it quite yet.

“We’ve got to put it together at some point, and I would love for it to be now,” Looper said. “We’ve had moments of brilliance and then moments looking around and trying to figure out where our team went.

“I think the challenge for them is to go, and be, and do the things we do at practice.”

If they can figure things out in their trip to Oklahoma, it would be huge, especially considering that Big Ten play starts immediately after they get back from their trip.

Iowa is a young team, and a hallmark of young teams is inconsistency, so a rough start to the season should be expected.

However, if the Hawks want to do any real damage this year, this stretch is a chance to do just that.

“I think that as a team, and even personally with my pitching, is getting better,” freshman pitcher Ashley Yoways said. “I think this weekend is going to help with that a lot.”

Follow @JordyHansen for news, updates, and analysis of the Iowa softball team.

University of Oklahoma Tournament
When: March 14-16
Where: Norman, Oklahoma

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