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IU looks to stay unbeaten on the road in Big Ten play



Sarah Galovich

Junior utility player Sarah Galovich waits for the pitch during IU's home game against the University of Illinois at Chicago on Sunday, March 18. The Hoosiers will travel to Rutgers for a three-game series this weekend. Matt Begala Buy Photos

Heading into the final stretch of three Big Ten series, IU softball understands the importance of every game from here on out. The Hoosiers remain in second place, just one game behind No. 15 Michigan for the top seed in the conference.

Having to play two of the final three conference series on the road can be difficult, but for IU, there couldn’t have been a better scenario. The Hoosiers are undefeated on the road in Big Ten play and will look to continue that streak Wednesday night when they travel to in-state rival Purdue for a doubleheader.

“Purdue is going to be ready," IU Coach Shonda Stanton said. "They’ve had an up-and-down season, but we know they’re capable. They hit the ball well. We have to go out there and score runs.”

Purdue comes into the series with a 13-34 overall and 4-10 conference record, but it has lost six of the last eight games. The Boilermakers lead the all-time series 39-32 and the two teams have split the series every year since 2014.

The Hoosiers are coming in playing their best softball of the season. Freshman catcher Maddie Westmoreland and junior pitcher Tara Trainer picked up Big Ten Weekly Honors for the second time this season after their performance over the weekend. IU swept Penn State to capture its fourth conference sweep of the season.

In the two Big Ten road series the Hoosiers have played so far, the team is 6-0 and combined to outscore Michigan State and Maryland 39-10.

“I think we just need to stay relaxed, stay focused, take care of what we can and take it one pitch at a time,” Trainer said.

The Purdue lineup is consistent through the order, but junior infielder Stephanie Ramsey and junior infielder Jenny Behan lead the way for the Boilermakers. Ramsey has a .328 batting average and leads the team with 45 hits. Behan has a .313 batting average, but is the power hitter in the lineup. She leads the team with seven home runs.

“I think the great thing is that we know we haven’t done anything yet,” Stanton said. “We’re still in the hunt for a regular season title and a top-four seed. There are so many things we’re fighting for, so I think we understand the importance of every single pitch." 

Phillip Steinmetz

 

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