The nonconference struggles continued for IU softball with Louisville in town Wednesday night.
After the Cardinals took a 4-0 lead through four innings, IU came back to make it a 4-3 game. But Louisville flexed its muscles in the top of the seventh to take a 11-3 advantage. Despite the fight from IU at the end to come back into the game, the lead was too much to overcome, and Louisville won 11-7.
“What I was disappointed with was that we got outplayed in all facets of the game today, from being outhit, on the mound and had five errors,” IU Coach Shonda Stanton said. “I felt like we didn’t compete and have the right mindset tonight. We had the opportunity to make some plays and didn’t make them.”
Neither team could find an offensive groove in the first two innings as Louisville kept IU in check. But the Cardinals scored the first run of the game in the top of the third after knocking a long bases-loaded RBI to left field.
In the bottom of the third, IU had a great chance to get back into the game after Louisville walked two of the first three batters. But a groundout from senior outfielder Rebecca Blitz and strikeout from sophomore outfielder Gabbi Jenkins ended the scoring opportunity.
The following inning saw both teams do the same thing, but Louisville made sure to capitalize in scoring position. The Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs before a wild pitch and single to right field plated three more runs to make it a 4-0 advantage. IU had a chance to get back into the game with two on in the bottom of the fourth, but back-to-back pop-ups left the Hoosiers scoreless.
“I was pleased going down 4-0 because we know as of late we’ve been good defensively and put up a lot of runs in the fifth through seventh inning,” Stanton said.
After a walk from senior infielder Taylor Uden, Blitz singled to left field in the bottom of the fifth to give the Hoosiers their first hit of the day. The single also was Blitz’s 223rd hit in her career, which moved her to third all-time in IU history.
A passed ball then moved both IU runners into scoring position. The Hoosiers almost had their first run of the day after a Jenkins single, but the runner was tagged out at home despite it looking like the Louisville catcher was blocking the base path, which is illegal.
Freshman catcher Maddie Westmoreland got the Hoosiers on the board with a single up the middle to plate two runs. Louisville threatened with another bases-loaded situation in the top of the sixth, but IU got out of the jam unscathed.
The Hoosiers had a chance to take their first lead of the day in the bottom of the sixth but came up short. After Louisville walked back-to-back batters, junior infielder Sarah Galovich laid down a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position. Sophomore designated hitter Bella Norton followed that up with a perfect bunt of her own to bring a run in for the Hoosiers. However, a pop up and strikeout halted the IU momentum as Louisville maintained the 4-3 lead.
Everything that could’ve gone wrong did for IU in the top of the seventh. Louisville got hit after hit and took advantage of multiple IU errors. IU made things interesting after stringing together multiple runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the Cardinals held on to take the win, 11-7.
“I think, obviously, it was a disappointment for us because you never want to come out on your field and lose like that,” Westmoreland said.
IU was close to a come-back attempt, but the seventh inning proved to be too much. Next up, the Hoosiers will welcome in last place Penn State with hopes to sweep another Big Ten opponent.
“Our goals are still in front of us," Stanton said. "It’s about having the right mindset and learning from this."