IU softball has heavily relied on stellar pitching and opportunistic base hits throughout its perfect start, but it was only a matter of time before their deficiencies started catching up to them.
This weekend’s trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is where the Hoosiers earned their first loss, but the they still managed to leave with three more resume-building wins.
IU had little time to find a rhythm with its first two matchups coming against Stephen F. Austin University and No.10-ranked Louisiana State University.
Game one had an uneventful start as IU senior Tara Trainer and Stephen F. Austin freshman Kassidy Wilbur were locked in a tense pitching duel.
Miscommunication in the infield allowed a routine pop fly to fall in the fourth inning, giving the Ladyjacks the lone of run of the game to hand the Hoosiers their first loss of the season and a 1-0 defeat.
“Offensively, we didn’t make the adjustments we needed to make,” IU Head Coach Shonda Stanton said. “That loss is gonna sting a little bit.”
The second game Friday didn’t get any easier for IU as they got ready to take on No. 10 LSU.
IU wouldn’t relinquish its lead after jumping out to a 4-2 lead by the third inning, topping LSU 7-2 and picking up its second win over a top-ten opponent this season.
Sophomore outfielder Taylor Lambert played a big role in the win, going 2-for-4 at the plate and adding a highlight-reel catch, leaping above the center field wall to rob LSU of a game-tying home run.
“We did a good job bouncing back and playing scrappy,” Lambert said.
Saturday’s doubleheader was another opportunity for IU to add two more quality wins facing University of South Carolina Upstate and Illinois State University.
Another masterful outing by Tara Trainer was all IU needed to claim a 2-0 victory over USC Upstate. Trainer racked up seven strikeouts en route to a complete game shutout.
Less than an hour later the Hoosiers were back on the field to take on the Redbirds, this time getting shut out themselves and losing 3-0.
Redshirt junior Josie Wood had a shaky start, giving up three runs to Illinois State in the first inning before being pulled. Junior Emily Goodin was able to stop the bleeding as she pitched 5.1 innings and gave up zero runs, but it wasn’t enough to offset IU’s stagnant offense.
IU finished out the weekend Sunday morning, getting its revenge on Illinois State with a 2-0 win. Tara Trainer racked up nine more strikeouts, moving herself into second place among IU softball’s career strikeout leaders.
Indiana improved to 17-2 on the season but also lost its unbeaten streak in the process.
“I think we can finally take a deep breath now that we lost a game,” Stanton said. “This group does a good job of not worrying about streaks.”