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IU softball looks to bounce back after a rough start to conference play



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Senior pitcher Tara Trainer throws the opening pitch March 16. IU will play the University of Louisville on March 26. Sarah Zygmuntowski Buy Photos

After being swept by Ohio State over the weekend, IU will quickly get a chance to bounce back in a nonconference matchup Tuesday night in Louisville, Kentucky, against the University of Louisville.

Visiting teams are just 1-8 this season when facing Louisville on its home turf at Ulmer Stadium. On the season, Louisville holds a 20-10 overall record and is ranked No. 51 in the NCAA RPI rankings.

An IU offense that’s struggled in recent games to drive runs in and produce clutch at-bats will be tested against a stout Louisville pitching staff that doesn’t give up many runs, accumulating a 2.21 earned run average.

Whether Louisville Head Coach Holly Aprile calls upon senior Megan Hensley, who is 8-1, or sophomore Danielle Watson, whose 82 strikeouts pace the staff, both are sure to be tough to generate offense against.

On the other side of the ball, IU Head Coach Shonda Stanton may tinker with the lineup, like she’s done for much of the season, in attempt to spark some much needed run production.

The trio of juniors -- Gabbi Jenkins, Katie Lacefield and Bella Norton -- have been stellar, driving in 47 of the team’s 123 runs batted in. Sophomore Annika Baez will also look to build on a positive weekend in which she torched Ohio State pitching with a home run and two doubles in game one.

IU senior pitcher Tara Trainer had a rough weekend in Columbus, Ohio, but junior Emily Goodin and freshman Emily Foor did well in relief appearances. Stanton has a lot of pitching at her disposal with any of three having a possible chance to start against Louisville.

Tuesday night won’t be easy, but it’s an opportunity for IU to get back in the win column and also gain a resume-building victory against a quality opponent.

“I really think the best is yet to come for this team,” Stanton said. “We’ll get back at it and look forward to us bouncing back and getting back to true form.”

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