IU softball wrapped up its stay at the Sleepy Hollow Sports Complex in Leesburg, Florida, with a series of three games each against Northwestern and Rutgers.
IU got swept by the Wildcats on Thursday and Friday. Northwestern was able to mercy IU during the first game thanks to back-to-back doubles which tallied four runs from senior infielder/outfielder Rachel Lewis and junior infielder Maeve Nelson.
Despite efforts from junior infielder Hannah Davis and sophomore catcher Desiree Dufek, Northwestern junior pitcher Danielle Williams was able to contain the Hoosiers in 5.0 innings. Northwestern routed IU 8-0. The second game produced a similar 8-1 Northwestern victory, with the one run for the Hoosiers coming from freshman infielder Brooke Benson.
The third game was a major improvement for the Hoosiers defensively. Despite Northwestern winning the game 1-0, IU’s defense, especially that of senior pitcher Emily Goodin, was able to contain Northwestern’s offense from doing similar damage from the prior games. The only score for the Wildcats came from a Nelson RBI which sent junior outfielder Skyler Shellmyer home.
Meanwhile, IU saw a complete turnaround for its second series against Rutgers. The Hoosiers maintained a 4-1 lead very early, until junior utility player Brittany Ford hit a grand slam. An RBI from senior outfielder Gabbi Jenkins boosted the Hoosiers’ lead to 9-1.
Despite offensive efforts from the Knights, IU was able to secure the first victory 11-3. The second game was another 8-1 IU victory, in which RBIs from senior outfielder Taylor Lambert, senior infielder Katie Lacefield and Hannah Davis carried IU to a comfortable lead. Rutgers’ only score came off of an RBI from sophomore infielder Payton Lincavage.
The final game would go into extra innings. IU took an early 2-0 lead with Hannah Davis and senior catcher Bella Norton hit RBIs in the first inning. However, Rutgers came back with firepower from freshman outfielder Leilani Chavez, infielder/catcher Kiersten Withstandley and Payton Lincavage hitting RBIs to take a 3-2 lead. Norton then hit yet another RBI, and Hannah Davis stole home during the fifth inning to make it 4-3 for the Hoosiers.
At the top of the seventh, Rutgers graduate transfer utility player Gabrielle Callaway hit an RBI to send Lincavage home and tie the game at four. During the 10th inning, Lincavage singled to center field, sending Chavez home for a 5-4 lead. However, IU responded as Jenkins stole home to tie it at five. Finally, during the 11th, Benson hit a walk-off double to win it 6-5 for the Hoosiers.
IU’s next game will be March 26 against Michigan at Andy Mohr Field in Bloomington.