The Hoosiers were outscored 11-2 in their first three games of the Samford Tournament and showed no reason that the final game would be any different.
That was until junior pitcher Tara Trainer pitched a game to remember. She threw a career high 16 strikeouts to propel IU to a 4-0 victory over Samford. Each time the Bulldogs tried to find their groove offensively, Trainer would come up big on the mound.
“Tara Trainer was outstanding,” IU Coach Shonda Stanton said. “It was nice to see a performance like that. It was exactly what our team needed. Anytime you get 16 strikeouts in a game it’s easy to play defense behind someone like that and offensively we were able to exploit their mistakes.”
Despite the career day, the Hoosiers still finished the Samford Tournament with a 1-3 record. They were swept by Lipscomb Universityand split the series with Samford.
IU had a chance to knock off Lipscomb in the first game of the series after only allowing two hits, but walks and errors proved to be detrimental. Lipscomb scored its only two runs of the 2-0 victory in the bottom of the second after multiple wild pitches and errors by the Hoosiers.
In the rematch with the Bison, junior infielder Sarah Galovich had a RBI triple to bring in sophomore infielder Katie Lacefield to give IU an early advantage in the bottom of the second. But Lipscomb was able to score the final three runs in the next two innings to pull away from the Hoosiers.
Lipscomb only scored five runs combined in the two games, but their defense never gave IU a chance for a comeback in either game.
“Run production has been a problem with us,” Stanton said. “It’s an issue that we must work harder at. Right now, I’m still seeing our team to be too soft and safe at the plate. Until we change that mentality, we aren’t going to have any extra runs that we are capable of producing.”
Samford picked up where Lipscomb left off, hitting on all cylinders in the first match-up. The Bulldogs threatened to run-rule the Hoosiers after scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth. It was a game where both teams had seven hits on the day, but IU failed to put a run on the board until the top of the seventh when it was too late to think about a comeback.
But, thankfully the career day from Trainer gave the Hoosiers a chance for revenge.
Samford had a few defensive miscues in the rematch as two failed pick-off attempts gave IU the opportunity to put some runs on the board. Galovich came up big with a pair of RBI’s on the day to keep the game out of reach.
The 4-0 shutout gave Trainer her first victory of the season after the 0-7 start to the 2018 campaign. She now sits tenth all-time in IU history for most strikeouts in a single game.
“I think the energy and the team was good,” Trainer said. “That was really helping me with the atmosphere that we were playing in.”
Despite the more so disappointing showing from IU overall, the win provided some hope that things could be picking up soon. The Hoosiers will carry that momentum into South Carolina next weekend when they participate in the Buffalo Wild Wings Classic from March 2 to 4.
“I thought all around we did some solid things in all phases of the game," Stanton said. "It’s something to build on coming back home."
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