The IU softball team dropped four of five games this weekend at the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic tournament in Henderson, Nev.
The Hoosiers started off strong, taking the first game against the Utah Valley Wolverines, 8-7.
After the Wolverines took a 7-4 lead late in the game, junior Michelle Huber got things started for the Hoosiers that resulted in a four-run sixth inning, giving Indiana a dramatic come-from-behind win against the Wolverines, 8-7.
Huber ended the game going 4-for-4 with three RBIs and a run while senior Miranda Tamayo got her first win of the season (1-3) tossing 2.1 scoreless innings.
“She seemed more relaxed this time out,” IU Head Coach Michelle Gardner said. “She just threw it where it needed to be all game.”
Later that night, Indiana took the field against the University of Texas-El Paso.
UTEP took the early 3-0 lead in the second inning off IU freshman pitcher Emily Kirk, who would then be replaced by Tamayo.
Tamayo had another strong outing, keeping Indiana in the game by throwing 4.2 innings of flawless softball, giving up only one unearned run in the sixth.
But the Hoosiers pitching would not be enough as the Indiana offense combined for only five hits, the lone run coming unearned on an error in the seventh inning. Indiana would fall to UTEP, 4-1.
After a day one split of the tournament, Gardner had some words of encouragement for her team:
“We are battling,” she said. “We are a young team, and we just have to remain focused and be prepared for what’s next.”
On Saturday, the first game of the day was against Cal State-Northridge and it was a game of the long ball.
The Matadors started off quick, scoring six runs in the first two innings, which included two home runs.
The Hoosiers finally got on the board in the fourth inning off sophomore CaraMia Tsirigos’ solo home run, and then junior Kassi Farmer followed it with a solo shot of her own.
With an RBI ground out from senior Shannon Cawley, an RBI single from Huber and freshman Taylor Uden scoring on an error, the Hoosiers managed to cut the Matador lead to 6-5.
However, that’s the closest Indiana would get. Three errors in the sixth inning led to three runs for the Matadors and, an inning later, back-to-back home runs would help secure a 12-5 victory for Cal State-Northridge.
Cawley had some thoughts on the team’s struggles so far.
“We have a young team,” she said. “We have eight freshmen and it’s hard to make that transition, but once we do, we are going to a dangerous team to play.”
The Saturday evening contest against New Mexico had Indiana jumping off an early and commanding 7-0 lead.
“We just got too comfortable,” Gardner said.
The Lobos answered the seven-run deficit by bringing eight runs across the board in the fourth inning, taking the lead 8-7.
After the Hoosiers managed to tie the game late, a seventh inning walk-off for the Lobos completed the comeback, beating the Hoosiers 9-8.
Sunday’s game against the Utah State Aggies was simply the Shannon Cawley show. She went 3-for-4, which included two home runs, a career-high four RBIs and two runs.
“Last year I got to see the game from a different perspective,” Cawley said. “I’m seeing the ball well, but I’m just glad to be back.”
However, Cawley’s big day was not enough as the Hoosiers dropped their last game of the tournament, 6-5.
The young Hoosiers team is now 2-8 after two tournaments, but Gardner said she believes there are good things just around the corner.
“I’ve been seeing great things,” she said. “They will continue to improve and keep battling. The wins will come.”
Indiana will have another chance next weekend as they prepare to travel to Cathedral City, Calif., to compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
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