The roller coaster ride of a season continues on for IU softball after splitting a doubleheader Wednesday night against Purdue.
Following a 34-run outburst two weekends ago against Michigan State, it looked like IU had rejuvenated its offense. In the ensuing five games, IU has only managed to plate 15 runs,and its pitching staff has given up a total of 20 runs.
Wednesday’s matchup with Purdue didn’t stray far from this ongoing theme.
Backed by a season-high attendance of 703 fans packed into Andy Mohr Field, the Hoosiers looked to put on a show and walk away with a series sweep.
Both teams sent out its aces to start game one as Purdue’s Kaitlynn Moody and IU’s Tara Trainer opposed one another in the circle.
IU got out to an early lead in the first inning after sophomore Maddie Westmoreland doubled to left center, which plated sophomore Taylor Lambert. One batter later, junior third baseman Katie Lacefield knocked in a run with a line-drive single that put IU up 2-0.
It looked as though it would be a game led by offense the rest of the way, but the two runs were all IU would score for the entire game, and Trainer wouldn’t relinquish the lead.
After a few rough outings in the previous few series, Trainer was both stellar and gutsy Wednesday night. The right-hander tossed nine strikeouts while walking just two batters and giving up a single run in seven innings of work. This marks Trainer’s 11th complete game of the season.
“It was great to see us jump out to an early 2-0 lead and hold on in a tight game and go on to win,” IU Head Coach Shonda Stanton said.
Purdue’s Moody did her part in the pitching duel, striking out five, walking two and tossing a six-inning complete game. But her efforts weren’t enough since IU would eventually shut the door on a 2-1 victory.
Game two got underway with IU junior Emily Goodin receiving the pitching start opposite of Purdue’s Sydney Bates.
The first three innings began as a chess match between the two pitchers. Both came out dominant and didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. Goodin conceded the first base knock on back-to-back singles, but was able to work out of the jam.
An inning later, IU tagged Bates for four runs as a Purdue throwing error allowed freshman Juvia Davis to score and effectively breaking down the floodgates. Sophomore Grayson Radcliffe responded with a sacrifice fly, followed by a run-scoring squeeze bunt from junior Gabbi Jenkins and a Lambert double.
The Hoosiers saw their lead dwindle in the top of sixth as the Boilermakers chased Goodin out of the game after giving up three runs and loading the bases. Trainer, having just thrown 119 pitches in game, was sent back out to try and preserve the lead, which she would do in short order.
Up 4-3 and needing just one more out for a sweep, Trainer served up a game-tying solo home run to Purdue’s Jenny Behan, her second of the day, before ending the inning tied.
IU squandered a walk-off opportunity in the bottom of the frame, unable to drive in a runner from third with no outs. Purdue would take advantage, scoring a run in the top of ninth and defeating IU 5-4.
“You’ve got to give credit to Purdue,” Stanton said. “We didn’t execute in those big moments, and they did. That’s part of the game, and we’ll learn from it.”
With the series split, IU moves to 29-14 on the season and 4-7 in conference play, seeing no movement in the Big Ten standings.
Up next is a three-game set with Maryland when it pays a visit to Bloomington this weekend.
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