The IU softball team (19-27, 3-13 Big Ten) returns to Bloomington for a 6 p.m. game today against Ball State (29-13, 13-1 MAC). The matchup marks the first of the next four games in a row the Hoosiers will play at Andy Mohr Field.
The Cardinals are coming off of a split double header against Miami (Ohio) in which Miami took game one and Ball State claimed game two.
The Cardinal offense is led off by the .493 batting average of junior pitcher and outfielder Jennifer Gilbert, while the team is posting a .321 batting average.
Freshman Nicole Steinbach leads off the pitching squad with a 2.33 earned run average, compared with the 2.99 earned run average of the team overall. The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 290-149 on the season.
The Hoosiers are riding a seven-game losing streak heading into today’s game, most recently being swept in their three-game series at Illinois. Senior infielder Amanda Wagner leads the offense with a .458 batting average, while the team has a .244 batting average overall. The pitching squad is led by junior Meaghan Murphy’s 2.99 earned run average, while the team is posting a 3.54 earned run average.
“I think we just need to come together as a team and put everything together,” senior outfielder Samantha Heyman said about what the team needs for the win.
Despite the Hoosiers’ record in Champaign, Ill., during the weekend, the team saw several positive things in many of the players’ performances.
Freshman pitcher Brooke Boetjer saw success at the plate, driving in two runs and connecting on two doubles in the series opener. Sophomore pitcher Lora Olson held the Illini scoreless until the sixth inning in game two of the weekend, while allowing one run on five hits and striking out three.
Wagner had her 15th double of the season in game two, tying her for first in the Big Ten Conference for doubles this season. The effort also tied her for the second-most doubles in a single season by any IU player, while she is just two short of tying the single-season record of 17 doubles.
“I feel like we just need to get our mindset right and think positively and build on the good things we’re doing to keep the momentum going,” Boetjer said.
Sophomore utility player Shannon Cawley leads the Big Ten Conference in sac flies with four on the season. Wagner’s .458 batting average puts her at fourth in the conference standings, while her .601 on-base percentage places her second in the Big Ten.
Ball State leads the Mid-American Conference with its 13-1 record. The Hoosiers are currently No. 11 in the Big Ten standings.
“We need to have a lot of energy and have confidence,” Heyman said of today’s matchup. “Once we do that, we’ll be the team that we want to be.”
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