Indiana Daily Student

Five players to watch for IU softball

<p>Junior pitcher Tara Trainer pitches against Michigan Friday evening at Andy Mohr Field. Trainer gave up four earned runs and walked five batters in IU's 5-1 loss to Michigan.</p>

Junior pitcher Tara Trainer pitches against Michigan Friday evening at Andy Mohr Field. Trainer gave up four earned runs and walked five batters in IU's 5-1 loss to Michigan.

IU softball is off to a hot start in the 2019 season highlighted by a win against then-No. 6 University of Georgia. As the season continues to progress, here are five players to watch as the Hoosiers look to finish toward the top of the Big Ten again.

Natalie Foor — Freshman, Pitcher

Coming into the season, junior Emily Goodin and senior Tara Trainer were expected to carry a majority of the load in the circle. In the opening weekend, Foor proved that she’s capable of being a solid starter in the circle for IU this season. In two starts against Bethune-Cookman University and Florida Atlantic University, Foor pitched in 11 innings while only allowing eight hits to go with a 0.62 earned run average.

Grayson Radcliffe — Sophomore, Shortstop

Radcliffe is in her first season as a Hoosier after transferring from the last school that IU softball coach Shonda Stanton was at, Marshall University. She started in 53 games at shortstop in 2018 for Marshall and had 30 hits with 16 runs scored. Radcliffe started in all five games at shortstop for IU in the opening weekend and had a .400 batting average with six hits and three runs scored. She also had a huge two-run home run in the seventh inning to help IU defeat Georgia.

Bella Norton — Junior, Catcher

Norton solidified herself as the usual starting catcher her freshman season with a .991 fielding percentage behind the plate. She only has a .211 career batting average but has come up big in key spots for the Hoosiers multiple times. Against Georgia, Norton hit a double to left center that gave sophomore Maddie Westmoreland the opportunity to bring in a run with an RBI bunt the next play.

Gabbi Jenkins — Junior, Outfielder

As a second team All-Big Ten Team honoree last season, Jenkins led the Hoosiers with a .369 batting average, 66 hits and 39 runs. She’ll be the leadoff batter for the majority of the 2019 season and primarily is a slap hitter or bunts to use her speed to get on base. She went 6-for-15 in the first five games of the season which included three stolen bases. Her .334 career batting average ranks sixth all-time in program history.

Tara Trainer — Senior, Pitcher

As the clear ace for the Hoosiers this season, there’s a lot riding on the shoulders of Trainer for her senior season. Last season, Trainer earned All-Big Ten First Team honors with a 2.64 earned run average, 216 strikeouts and 17 wins. She registered five shutouts and had nine or more strikeouts in seven games. Trainer picked up where she left off in the opening weekend this season with a 2.19 ERA and 16 strikeouts. She only allowed 13 hits in four appearances. If she has similar numbers to the ones she had last season, Trainer could finish second in program history for career strikeouts.

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