It was the Kayla Konwent show all weekend long at the Goodman Softball Complex as IU traveled north for a crucial three-game set against Wisconsin.
IU had to do two things in order to grab a series victory: neutralize Wisconsin junior Kayla Konwent and take advantage of run-scoring opportunities. The Hoosiers failed to do either of those with consistency.
Friday evening's game began horribly for IU, with a leadoff home run from Konwent that put Wisconsin on the board immediately. The Badgers tacked on three more runs in the middle innings, courtesy of run-scoring doubles from Jordan Little and Stephanie Lombardo.
A stolen base by sophomore Taylor Lambert in the third inning gave IU a program-record 121 stolen bases, topping its previous mark of 120 steals in 1987.
The Hoosiers’ offense put runners in scoring position in every inning except the first and seventh, but they were unable to take advantage at any point and stranded seven runners on the whole.
After another Badger scored late in the sixth inning, junior Kaitlyn Menz put the final touches on her complete game shutout and a 5-0 victory over IU.
Tough shadows and a blinding sun set the stage for a sloppy game two that included five fielding errors and multiple base running blunders from both teams.
Wisconsin got the scoring started in the third inning with a two-run homer by Lombardo. IU responded with sophomore Maddie Westmoreland’s sixth home run of the season – a solo shot in the fourth inning – and a botched routine flyball from Wisconsin that allowed two more runs to score in the sixth inning.
The Hoosiers were six outs away from a win, but senior Tara Trainer walked in the tying run with the bases loaded, sending the game into an extra innings marathon.
Neither team scored again until the bottom of the 13th inning when sophomore Lauren Foster hit a walkoff single that gave Wisconsin a 4-3 win and secured a series victory.
Three different Hoosiers were used in the pitching circle with none of them being able to find a consistent rhythm, resulting in ten walks and an 8-0 run-rule victory for Wisconsin.
“We didn’t play well this weekend, and Wisconsin did,” IU Head Coach Shonda Stanton said. “We just didn’t have the lion mentality that we had at the beginning of the season, and we need to find that again.”
Following the series sweep, IU remains winless in conference road games and has now been swept in three-straight conference road series.
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