Home runs were the cause of the IU softball team’s downfall in its three-game series at Illinois (14-25, 4-11) during the weekend.
The Illini drove in key home runs in each matchup to defeat the Hoosiers (19-27, 3-13) in all three games.
“I feel like we had our ups and downs,” freshman pitcher Brooke Boetjer said. “We did some good things and we did some bad things.”
Boetjer opened up the series pitching for IU, where the team dropped the first game 5-4 in its second extra-innings contest in a row. The Illini scored first, driving in two runs in both the first and third innings.
The Hoosiers remained scoreless until the fifth inning, when senior outfielder Kelsey Brannon got things started for the team by reaching first base because of a throwing error then advancing to second after senior infielder Amanda Wagner walked.
Boetjer then doubled to right field to send Brannon and Wagner home. Freshman infielder Michelle Huber sent the ball flying over the left field fence to score a home run that would bring in Boetjer and tie the game at 4-4.
Both teams remained scoreless through the sixth and seventh innings, sending the game into extra innings.
The Hoosiers failed to score in the top of the eighth.
Illinois senior infielder Jessica Davis hit a home run off of the first pitch in the bottom of the eighth to end the game and give the Illini the victory.
Game two started off with neither team scoring through the first five innings. The
Illini scored off of a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth by freshman utility player Remeny Perez to give them a 1-0 lead. The Hoosiers failed to score in the seventh, ending the second game with a 1-0 loss.
The series finale Sunday started with a two-run home run by Illinois sophomore utility player Jess Perkins in the bottom of the first to give the Illini the early 2-0 lead. Illinois tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fourth, followed by a three-run bottom of the fifth to give them a 6-0 lead. The team added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Hoosiers failed to plate a run, dropping the matchup 8-0.
Senior outfielder Samantha Heyman, freshman catcher and third baseman Kelsey Dotson and Boetjer led the Hoosier offense with a pair of hits each on the weekend.
“For me personally, it’s just being patient and really waiting for the ball, finding pitches that are good and putting the ball in play,” Heyman said of her offensive strategy during the weekend.
Junior pitcher Meaghan Murphy received the loss for game one, falling to 12-13. Sophomore pitcher Lora Olson was dealt the second and third losses of the weekend to fall to 6-11.
The series marked the third time the Hoosiers have been swept by a Big Ten opponent this season.
“I thought we played strong,” Heyman said. “We’re making improvements and we’re doing a lot of good things. We just need to put it all together.”
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