Despite only being outhit once in five games, IU softball picked up just one victory on the weekend due to the inability to find timely hits and finish down the stretch.
The Hoosiers went 1-4 in the Wings ETC. Classic after winning their lone game against Delaware State and dropping both series to Furman and USC Upstate.
“It’s a process. It’s definitely a journey with this group,” IU Coach Shonda Stanton said. “It’s about building and cataloging successful moments. That way we can pull it together.”
The opportunity was there for IU to pick up dual victories against Furman.
In the first matchup, the lone run scored in the bottom of the first proved to be the difference maker as the Paladins held IU scoreless.
The rematch was more of an offensive battle. IU took the early 1-0 lead in the top of the third after a single from senior outfielder Rebecca Blitz brought in freshman outfielder Makayla Ferrari. Furman then answered with a home run down the right field line to take the 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Senior infielder Rachel O’Malley tied the game after Blitz brought her home with a sacrifice groundout to first. The Paladins responded again with a home run in the bottom of the sixth to take the 3-2 lead. Senior infielder Taylor Uden tied the game in the top of the seventh with a fly out to right field.
Furman then hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh to capture the 4-3 victory.
“Anytime you have a one-run loss, you can look at 50 different pitches in the game that we could’ve done something different,” Stanton said. “At the end of the day it comes down to timely and clutch hitting.”
Delaware State proved to be a different ending.
IU got on the board first after a RBI single from Blitz and freshman designated hitter Maddie Westmoreland brought in two runs for the early advantage. The Hornets responded by scoring four runs combined in the top of the second and third including a 2-run home run to center field.
The Hoosiers made sure that they weren’t finished. In the bottom of the third a triple from sophomore outfielder Gabbi Jenkins brought in freshman designated hitter Taylor Lambert to get things started. Blitz then brought in Jenkins with a groundout to tie the game 4-4.
A single up the middle by Westmoreland in the bottom of the fifth brought in Jenkins and Lambert to give IU a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Hoosiers went on to win the game 9-4 after three runs in the bottom of the sixth widened the margin.
“I think what’s going on with our team is that we just need to believe.” Jenkins said. “In that game, we saw some belief and ran with it.”
In the final series of the weekend, USC Upstate continued to prove why they are undefeated.
IU had a chance in the first matchup to pull off the upset but three runs in the bottom of the sixth from Upstate gave them the 5-1 victory. The rematch proved to be one-sided in favor of the Spartans. Despite the five hits on the day, Upstate shut out the Hoosiers 5-0 to round out the weekend.
“It goes without saying that they are 18-0, but I don’t think they look like an 18-0 team,” Jenkins said. “I think we have to come out and know that we’re Indiana and that we’re a Big Ten team and that we’re better than all these teams that we’re playing.”
There was hope that this weekend would provide different results than the last three, but IU still came up short time after time. Next weekend will be the Hoosiers' final road trip before the home opening series as they’ll travel to Norman, Oklahoma, to take on three different teams including a match-up with No. 4 Oklahoma.
“We’re seeing some individual bright spots. It’s a matter of pulling it all together,” Stanton said. “Right now, we aren’t worried about our win-loss record. We’re worried about getting better each pitch and rep so that way we’re ready for Big Ten play.”
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.
More in Sports
Junior pitcher Jonathan Stiever got more than enough run support en route to his second win of the season.
Crean spent nine seasons as IU head coach before being fired last March.
IU defeated UT-Martin in the first round of the NIT behind freshman guard Jaelynn Penn’s career-high 25 points.