The IU softball team (19-24, 3-10) is heading to Champaign, Ill., this weekend to take on Illinois (11-25, 1-11 Big Ten) in a three-game conference series.
The first game of the series is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by a 4 p.m. matchup the same day. The Hoosiers will close out the series with a 2 p.m. game Sunday.
Illinois heads into the series with a nine-game losing streak, most recently being swept in its home series with Minnesota. Illinois’s offense is led by the .346 batting average of junior outfielder Alex Booker. The team is posting a .229 batting average, as well as a 4.22 earned run average.
In comparison, IU will head into Champaign with a four-game losing streak, most recently losing an extra-innings matchup with No. 9 Michigan. Senior infielder Amanda Wagner leads the Hoosier offense with a .471 batting average, while also coming in at second in the Big Ten Conference.
Freshman pitcher Brooke Boetjer pitched all nine innings for the Hoosiers in their game with the Wolverines, allowing 11 hits and seven runs. The Fillmore, Ind., native is posting a 4.41 earned run average, while the team holds a 3.49 earned run average.
“I think we’ve just got to hit, put the ball in play, play good defense, have good pitching and I think we should be fine,” freshman infielder Michelle Huber said of the team’s game plan for the weekend series.
Huber has been a hot bat for IU lately, posting two hits and one run in the team’s matchup with Michigan.
“I’ve just mostly been trying to hit in the runners and just go with the pitch,” Huber said. “Looking for a good pitch mostly is my main goal and not swinging at things that I don’t want to hit at.”
The Hoosiers will be on the road for the first time since March 31 after their nine-game home stand. Freshman catcher and third baseman Kelsey Dotson said being back on the road shouldn’t have an affect on the team’s performance.
“I don’t think it will affect us that much,” Dotson said. “I mean, you’re kind of getting down to the end where everyone’s tired, finals, yada yada, but I don’t think it’ll really be any different.
“I mean, it obviously stinks a little bit more that we’re not home and we don’t get to sleep in our own bed.”
IU is currently 10th in the Big Ten Conference standings, while Illinois is currently 12th.
Despite struggling in their past few games, IU Coach Michelle Gardner said the team gained a lot of confidence in its most recent game with Michigan and will take that into its upcoming games.
“You know, I think at this point in the year it’s always tough,” Gardner said. “I think that we just have to continue to work and compete. We’re doing the best we can to make things happen.”
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