Indiana Daily Student

IU splits doubleheader with Butler

<p>Senior infielder Rachel O'Malley eyes up second base late in Hoosiers’ game against UIC Sunday, March 18. The IU softball team split a doubleheader Tuesday with Butler.</p>

Senior infielder Rachel O'Malley eyes up second base late in Hoosiers’ game against UIC Sunday, March 18. The IU softball team split a doubleheader Tuesday with Butler.

It was a tale of two games as IU softball split its doubleheader with Butler on Tuesday night.

The Hoosiers looked locked in and focused in the first game, scoring seven runs and only giving up two hits. But the Bulldogs answered with a win of their own in the rematch after an impressive defensive performance and took advantage of scoring situations early.

“I am pleased with the fight, but we gave up three unearned runs,” IU Coach Shonda Stanton said. “We have to clean up our defense, and we know that. We have to be offensive, have to be attack oriented. Just like we were in game one.”

The first game was close to begin with until the Hoosiers pulled away after a strong team performance at the plate.

A single by sophomore outfielder Gabbi Jenkins got things started for IU in the bottom of the first. Butler responded in the top of the second with a home run to make things uncomfortable for the Hoosiers. But senior infielder Rachel O’Malley answered with a home run of her own to take the lead in the bottom of the second. Freshman outfielder Taylor Lambert followed that up with a two-out RBI single to make it a 3-1 advantage through two innings.

The Hoosiers weren’t done. The third inning is where they did most of their damage.

Freshman catcher Maddie Westmoreland led the way with a perfectly laid RBI bunt, then O’Malley laid one down of her own to make it a 5-1 advantage. After solid base running, the Hoosiers were able to add another run when a wild pitch got away from the catcher. O’Malley then made it a 7-1 lead for the Hoosiers after stealing home.

Butler would go on to score another run in the top of the seventh, but IU executed perfectly on the base paths and strung together enough hits to take the first game, 7-2.

“Our small ball and base running was outstanding,” Stanton said. “We were so aggressive, and we put pressure on them. It really came down to jumping on that next 60 feet. We just had a great all-around offensive performance.”

The rematch was a completely different story for the Hoosiers.

Butler dominated on both ends of the ball and made play after play to limit the Hoosiers. The Bulldogs scored each of their four runs in the first three innings. IU couldn’t find an answer on defense either as Butler had at least one baserunner in every inning and connected on nine hits.

The Hoosiers showed some signs of life in the bottom of the seventh as junior infielder Sarah Galovich crushed a solo shot home run over center field. Senior designated hitter Aimilia McDonough followed it up with a single of her own and senior infielder Taylor Uden was walked to put two on for IU with no outs.

Lambert struck out in the following at-bat, then Butler responded with a fantastic snag off senior outfielder Rebecca Blitz caught the base runner off the bag on second to end the game with a double play to take the victory, 4-1.

“We made some errors on defense and we gave them some unearned runs,” Galovich said. “However, they took advantage when we left pitches over the plate. We just have to be better defensive wise and clean up some things.”

After an impressive performance in game one against Butler, the Hoosiers looked like their earlier season selves in the rematch. IU can’t afford to dwell on the series split, as another Big Ten series road trip is coming up with Maryland this weekend.

“You have to stay the course, and your last at-bat is history, the last pitch is history,” Stanton said. “That’s the biggest challenge we have with our group right now. You fix that and it’s going to be a mighty good ball club in the next month.”

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