As junior infielder Katie Lacefield watched her third home run of the day fly over the fence, she shouted, "This is fun" towards the IU dugout.
IU picked up another weekend sweep at the Orange and Black Classic. The Hoosiers improved to 14-0 on the season, setting a new record for the best start to a season in team history. The previous mark of 11-0 was set during the 1990 season.
A pair of wins over Akron University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University came with relative ease, but it was the dramatic victories over Mercer University and Loyola University Chicago that put IU to the test.
Redshirt junior pitcher Josie Wood and senior pitcher Tara Trainer set the tone early for weekend as they combined for a no-hitter in the opening game Friday en route to an 8-1 victory over Akron. IU’s bats also remained scorching hot as the offense collected 13 hits and seven stolen bases against the Zips.
“These athletes are stepping up and making the most of their opportunities,” Coach Shonda Stanton said.
The second game of the doubleheader Friday pitted undefeated teams against each other as IU faced Loyola-Chicago.
A pitching duel through the first three innings saw neither team score a run. It was a lone solo home run from Lacefield in the fourth inning -- her third of the day -- that would ultimately decide the game.
Trainer kept the Ramblers guessing at the plate all day as she notched her second complete-game shutout of the season and handed Loyola its first loss.
IU returned to Sikes Field on Saturday for another day-night double-header as they were set to take on NC A&T and Mercer. The pitching duo of freshman Natalie Foor and junior Emily Goodin, who had a career high 11 strikeouts, held NC A&T to just one run while the Hoosier offense put up seven runs in the win.
The nightcap against Mercer, however, proved to be the Hoosiers' toughest game all weekend.
A pair of errors by IU and timely hits from Mercer put it up 5-0 heading into the fourth inning. Then chaos ensued.
“We just kept telling each other we weren’t out of the game yet,” sophomore infielder Grayson Radcliffe said.
Sophomore outfielder Taylor Lambert put IU on the board in the fourth inning with an RBI double down the right field line. Home runs by sophomore infielder Cam Woodall, Radcliffe and Lacefield eventually gave the Hoosiers a 7-5 lead.
Mercer would later tie the game at 7-7 on a misplayed ball in center field that plated two runners, but an error by Mercer in the 11th was enough to put the game away for IU.
With Saturday night’s game ending just before 1 a.m., IU only had 10 hours before its final game Sunday against Loyola, in which IU would win 3-1, finishing with a perfect 5-0 record on the weekend.
“Winning is fun and being successful is fun,” Stanton said. “I want us to approach every day we wake up wearing the script Indiana knowing how fun it is.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Tara Trainer as an All-American. The IDS regrets this error.