Indiana Daily Student

IU takes on Louisville in its final nonconference matchup of the season

<p>Left fielder Taylor Lambert steals second and third from a wild pitch landing her in scoring position. IU faced Ohio State on March 24 and won, 4-1. The Hoosiers will play Louisville on Wednesday at home.</p>

Left fielder Taylor Lambert steals second and third from a wild pitch landing her in scoring position. IU faced Ohio State on March 24 and won, 4-1. The Hoosiers will play Louisville on Wednesday at home.

After an impressive offensive performance over the weekend with the sweep of Maryland, IU softball will welcome Louisville on Wednesday night for the final nonconference matchup of the season.

The game was originally scheduled to take place March 20 but because of inclement weather it was postponed to this week. The nonconference schedule hasn’t been kind to IU, but this game presents a chance to pick up a quality win before taking on Penn State this weekend.

“We’ll approach the game like we do any other game,” IU Coach Shonda Stanton said. “It’s a great regional matchup. I think it’s a great tuneup for us to get ready for the weekend.”

Louisville comes into the game with a 27-14 record and split a doubleheader with Syracuse over the weekend. The two teams have played a handful of the same opponents, including Kentucky, Ohio State, Northwestern and Butler. The Cardinals are 3-3 in those games and have been outscored 28-20.

IU and Louisville have met 16 of the past 17 years, playing in each season since 2001 except for 2003. The Cardinals hold a 16-3 advantage and have won 13 of the past 14 meetings.

Louisville has been successful this season because of its ability at the plate. Eight players bat over .300 and junior outfielder Megan Hensley leads Louisville with a .374 batting average, five home runs and 43 hits. The Cardinals also lead the ACC with a team batting average of .311. Louisville has scored five or more runs in 21 of its 27 wins. But, when the Cardinals score less than five runs, they’re 6-12 on the season.

“It makes everything easier being at home and since we’re winning, it gives us a big boost to be able to play in front of our home crowd,” freshman outfielder Taylor Lambert said.

Hensley also is one of two pitchers that Louisville likes to start. She has a 3.14 ERA and 108 strikeouts. Freshman Danielle Watson is the other pitcher in the starting rotation with a 2.41 ERA and has only given up 89 hits in 420 at-bats. Despite the dominant offense, pitching is where IU can take advantage of Louisville especially coming off its best performance of the season behind the plate against Maryland.

Last week, the doubleheader against Butler didn’t go as planned for the Hoosiers. But Louisville is a much better offensive team than the Bulldogs. If IU can find the same run production that made last weekend so successful, then Wednesday night looks to be a high-scoring affair.

“We’ll be challenged, and I like the matchup,” Stanton said. “I’m excited where our team is and how we’re playing. We’ve got so many players stepping up, doing big things so I’m excited going into the game.”

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