Indiana softball split four games to open up its 2022 season at the FAU First Pitch Classic over the weekend. Indiana beat Florida Atlantic, 11-1, and Bethune-Cookman, 3-1. It lost to Louisville, 9-5, and Northern Illinois, 11-1.
The opener against the University of Louisville presented many opportunities for Indiana, but the team fell 9-5.
The Cardinals opened the game with three runs in the top of the first, and the Hoosiers responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Then the Hoosiers tied the game with an RBI from sophomore infielder Brooke Benson in the bottom of the second.
Louisville broke the game open with a run in the top of the third and later a grand slam in the top of the fifth. Indiana grasped a grand slam opportunity of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning but left three runners stranded.
“We had our chances to take the lead but missed several opportunities,” Indiana head coach Shonda Stanton said. “We fought hard and I was proud of the performance.”
Indiana came back stronger against Florida Atlantic in its second game Friday, winning 11-1.
Indiana junior utility player Cora Bassett, who transferred from Purdue in June 2021, crushed a home run to right field in the top of the first, starting a barrage of eight runs in the first two innings. Senior utility player Brittany Ford’s grand slam in the top of the second capped it off, marking her second home run of the day. Sophomore pitcher Macy Montgomery held the Owls to just two hits and one run to earn the win. The win marked Stanton’s 100th win as Indiana’s head coach.
“It was a great offensive performance and a great response from the team,” Stanton said.
Indiana played Bethune-Cookman University in its first game Saturday, coming out with a gritty 3-1 victory. Freshman pitcher Brianna Copeland earned the victory in her first career start, pitching five innings and allowing no runs and only one hit. Bench production included an RBI from junior utility player Abby Meeks.
“I thought we did a good job defensively and got good bench production,” Stanton said.
Indiana lost its final game against Northern Illinois 14-3, as Indiana’s pitching was not able to control the Northern Illinois offense. Ford drove in another two runs and an RBI single came from freshman outfielder Kinsey Mitchell, but it wasn’t enough to make a dent in Northern Illinois’ scoring.
“It was a disappointing performance, but it’s only day two of the season,” Stanton said. “NIU did everything right, and we couldn’t, and we just didn’t show enough fight.”
The Hoosiers were scheduled to play the Huskies again on Sunday morning, but the game was canceled due to heavy rain.
Stanton said the team has a lot of adjustments to make before they take the field again.
“We have to learn to keep every play in the moment,” she said. “Our next opponents both have rich histories and know how to win, so we’ll need to figure out our lineups and our best chance of winning.”
Indiana will have a weekend off before traveling to Tallahassee, Florida, where the team will play in the Unconquered Invitational on Feb. 25-27. Indiana will have three matchups with Hofstra and two with No. 6 Florida State.