Indiana Daily Student

Brianna Copeland, Aaliyah Andrews provide late-game heroics against Kent State

<p>Freshman pitcher Brianna Copeland throws a pitch against Western Illinois University March 5, 2022. Indiana beat Kent State University 14-11 Wednesday, largely due to Copeland’s three home runs and five RBIs on the afternoon.</p>

Freshman pitcher Brianna Copeland throws a pitch against Western Illinois University March 5, 2022. Indiana beat Kent State University 14-11 Wednesday, largely due to Copeland’s three home runs and five RBIs on the afternoon.

After blowing a five-run lead in the 7th inning and trailing three runs in its final out in the bottom of the 9th inning, Indiana softball’s hopes were dimmed. Its strong start against Kent State University extended into extra innings, but Indiana faltered in a crucial moment. However, Indiana regained its momentum when sophomore outfielder Aaliyah Andrews stepped to the plate and blasted a game-tying three-run home run to center field.

Three batters later, freshman pitcher and infielder Brianna Copeland walked it off with a three-run shot of her own. Copeland’s home run marked her third of the day, and she totalled five RBIs in the 14-11 win on Wednesday.

Copeland has emerged as an all-around star for Indiana, and her performance against Kent State may be the one to put her in the national spotlight. 

Recently awarded Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second time this season, Copeland’s performance Wednesday was her best of the season thus far. She also earned the win, as she was in the circle for the final two outs of the 9th inning.

However the closeout to Copeland’s performance would not be possible without Andrews’ clutch home run to tie the game. Freshman infielder Sarah Stone singled and sophomore infielder Brooke Benson walked before Andrews entered the box, but the Hoosiers were down to their final out — and last hope — as Andrews stepped to the plate. 

Andrews had not homered all season and had only recorded one in her collegiate career, but her bat showed up when Indiana needed it most. After Andrews cleared the bases, freshman outfielder Kinsey Mitchell doubled and junior utility player Cora Bassett was hit by a pitch to set up Copeland’s walk-off.

Copeland now boasts impressive statistics all across the board. In just 47 plate appearances this season, Copeland has 19 hits, a staggering seven of those home runs. 

Her batting average rose to .404, her on-base plus slugging average is at 1.355 and her slugging percentage is at .915. Each of these marks are second on the team behind Bassett. Copeland’s 18 RBIs are the fourth most for Indiana.

On the mound, Copeland now holds a 6-4 record. Her earned runs average dropped to 4.50 in 37.1 innings pitched after Wednesday’s game. 

Copeland primarily plays first base when she isn’t pitching, and she has had 52 putouts and 11 assists in 64 chances. She has just one fielding error for a .984 fielding percentage.

Copeland’s next chance to shine will come during Indiana’s three-game series against Wisconsin April 1-3 at the Goodman Softball Complex in Madison, Wisconsin.

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