It’s been a season full of extreme highs and lows for IU softball. From earning a top-25 ranking in multiple weeks to going on a four-game losing skid, IU has experienced it all.
A trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a three-game set against No. 23 Michigan had all the makings to be either disastrous or the biggest series win of the season.
IU Head Coach Shonda Stanton shook up the lineup and pitching assignments throughout the weekend, beginning with game one when junior Emily Goodin was given the starting nod for the first time all season.
In the first inning, Goodin worked around a bases loaded jam. Michigan, having won its previous 12 games entering this weekend, conceded the first run of the series to IU sophomore Grayson Radcliffe, but it was the only run IU would score that game.
Just an inning later, Michigan’s Lexie Blair hit a two-run home run off Goodin to take the lead. Things would unravel further in the fourth inning as an IU fielding error and a pair of hits plated two more Michigan runners and signaled the end of Goodin’s day.
The Wolverines went on to take game one 4-1 over the Hoosiers.
IU sent out senior Tara Trainer for game two looking to even up the series. Though Trainer pitched a solid six innings, giving up just three runs, IU’s offense did little to help Trainer out. Sophomore Maddie Westmoreland accounted for all of IU’s hits and runs, smacking her fourth and fifth home runs of the season, both solo shots.
“Once I string some hits together, it allows me to have a better approach at the plate and be more aggressive, and that’s what I’ve done these past few weeks,” Westmoreland said.
Michigan’s combination of Alex Storako and Meghan Beaubien stifled the rest of IU’s batting order, striking out 13 batters and closing out a 3-2 victory over IU.
The Hoosiers entered Sunday looking to salvage game three and avoid being swept for the second time in conference play.
Led by Grayson Radcliffe’s three hits and three runs batted in, IU’s offense swung the bats better than it had all weekend. Even after trailing at two different points throughout the game, IU’s 10 hits were enough to mount comebacks both times, eventually taking a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Needing just two outs to walk away with a win, Goodin promptly served up a walk-off two-run double to Michigan’s Mackenzie Nemitz, putting the final touches on a disappointing weekend sweep for IU.
“There’s nothing more fun than a walk-off winner, but there’s also nothing that hurts more than being on the other end of it,” Stanton said. “We could’ve very easily hung our heads and not competed today, yet our kids competed hard and I’m extremely proud of them for that.”
IU drops to 28-13 on the season and 3-6 in conference play.
Next up is a Wednesday doubleheader at home against Purdue.
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.
More in Sports
Nationwide restrictions makes the draft process even more difficult for NFL hopefuls.
We're all missing March Madness, so let's relive some great moments from the past.
Wise was IU's only senior and the Big Tenu's lone senior to win the award.