WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — Two days before her final home series in an IU uniform, senior infielder Taylor Uden made her presence felt when the Hoosiers remained undefeated on the road in conference play after traveling to Boilermaker Softball Stadium on Wednesday night.
Uden had a home run in each game, and her solo shot in the first one proved to be the difference maker. The Hoosiers outscored Purdue 12-4 after relying on defense in game one and offense in the series clincher. IU moved to 8-0 on the road and 15-2 overall in Big Ten play.
In the series opener, junior Tara Trainer stifled Purdue with 10 strikeouts as she picked up her fifth shutout of the season.
The Boilermakers weren’t able to get anything going on offense as Trainer held them to just three hits. IU only had four hits, but the home run from Uden in the top of the third proved to be all that was needed.
“It’s nice to see us win a 1-0 ball game, especially after seeing us win a bunch of different ways,” Stanton said. “Tara Trainer gave us what we needed in the circle, and Uden put a charge in one that was left up.”
Behind four home runs, IU dominated at the plate to clinch the series sweep.
Taylor Lambert got things started in the top of the second as she sent a three-run home run over right center. That home run was just the beginning of what IU would do to the Purdue defense. Then, sophomore outfielder Gabbi Jenkins hit a triple just barely over the stretching glove of the Purdue center fielder to bring in two more runs. Freshman catcher Maddie Westmoreland widened the lead with a perfectly laid down bunt to give IU the 6-0 lead.
Purdue finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth after stringing a few hits together but Uden then went yard for her second time of the series to give IU the 7-2 advantage. The Boilermakers continued to battle back and took advantage of a few IU errors to keep the game respectable.
Westmoreland hit the third IU home run of the day to give her 10 on the year with a two-run shot in the top of the sixth. Purdue then scored two runs after a pair of IU errors. But sophomore catcher Bella Norton followed it up with a solo shot to give IU a comfortable 10-2 lead in the top of the seventh.
Jenkins would go on to single to left, giving IU the 11-4 advantage and that would prove to be enough to take the final game of the series.
“It’s nice to hit the ball hard, and seeing it go over the fence is always a big confidence booster,” Uden said. “It’s big heading into this weekend especially after beating Purdue on their home turf. The four big bombs from four different people were nice to see.”
The Big Ten has been nothing short of impressive by the Hoosiers, but the most important series of the season is coming up this weekend. IU will welcome No. 15 Michigan this weekend with hopes to steal the top spot in the conference.
“We are just playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Stanton said. “What’s great is that it’s a whole team effort. Everyone is chipping in, taking their turns. I’m just really proud of this group. I really encourage our fans to come out this weekend, you’re going to see a great matchup and a great weekend of softball."