Indiana softball went 1-2 in its Big Ten series opener against No. 23-ranked Ohio State this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. In their lone win, the Hoosiers put up a season-high 17 runs against the Buckeyes. The last time Indiana scored 17 or more runs was in a 17-0 win over Penn State on May 8, 2021.
Indiana’s first two contests were part of a doubleheader on Friday, and they could not have turned out any different. The series opener resulted in a 6-2 Ohio State win. Errors plagued the Hoosiers, as three led to five unearned runs for the Buckeyes.
Sophomore infielder Brooke Benson and senior utility player Brittany Ford hit back-to-back home runs for the Hoosiers in the top of the sixth inning, but it was all they could muster. Freshman pitcher Heather Johnson started and pitched three innings in the opener, giving up six hits and striking out two Buckeye batters. Freshman pitcher and infielder Brianna Copeland pitched the remaining three innings without allowing a baserunner and struck out four Buckeye batters.
The second game of Friday’s doubleheader saw an offensive explosion from Indiana. The Hoosiers had 16 hits, eight extra base hits and five total home runs in their 17-5 victory to tie the series up at 1-1. After delivering on the mound to end the first game, Copeland was unstoppable at the plate in the second. She had two of the Hoosiers’ home runs, totaling 6 RBIs. The game ended in five innings due to mercy rule.
Hoosier sophomore pitcher Macy Montgomery earned the win in the second game, pitching all five innings of play and giving up five hits, five runs and striking out three Buckeye batters.
Saturday’s series finale was a close affair in which Indiana made several late pushes but couldn’t come back in a 6-4 loss. Junior utility player Cora Bassett hit a leadoff home run — her second of the weekend — to give the Hoosiers an early lead. Sophomore outfielder Aaliyah Andrews earned her first RBI of the season to push the Hoosiers’ lead to 2-0 in the second inning, but the Buckeyes broke the game open with a four-run second inning to take the lead.
Indiana had several chances to cut the deficit, but it continued to come up short at the plate. With two runners in scoring position, and the Hoosiers down 5-3 in the sixth inning, a hit to center field could have tied the game, but a diving catch by Ohio State senior outfielder Meggie Otte revoked any chance. The Buckeyes added one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning, and Indiana only scored one more run before falling 6-4.
Indiana’s record this season now stands at 17-8 and 1-2 in Big Ten play. Next up for Indiana is a standalone game Wednesday against Kent State University back at Andy Mohr Field in Bloomington.