Indiana softball looks to break out of its slump in a challenging weekend series against No. 10 Northwestern at Andy Mohr Field. The Hoosiers enter the series with an even .500 record in Big Ten play.
“We’ve gotta put these (losses) behind us and it’s a new day,” Indiana head coach Shonda Stanton said. “(Northwestern) is a team that’s top-10 and has a chance at a Big Ten Title.”
Indiana is in the middle of its toughest stretch of the season. Now, in the midst of their three-game losing streak, the Hoosiers must face one of the top programs in the country in Northwestern.
The Wildcats, who have dominated the series over the past decade, have won 11 straight against the Hoosiers and lead the series 72-38 overall. Indiana’s last win over Northwestern came 10 years ago to the day of the series opener Friday.
Northwestern comes into the contest with a 31-7 overall record and 12-2 in Big Ten play. Senior pitching ace Danielle Williams leads the team with a 19-2 record on the season, holds an ERA of 1.33 and has thrown 15 complete games with 147 total innings pitched. Williams was also recently named a finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
At the plate, the Wildcats have a well-balanced lineup and are lethal when they are able to put the bat on the ball. A senior quartet of catcher Jordyn Rudd, infielder Rachel Lewis, infielder Nikki Cuchran and outfielder Skyler Shellmyer all hit above a .355 batting average and .850 on-base plus slugging.
“They’re a veteran group, which is the direct opposite of us,” Stanton said. “We have to be able to get to their ace (Williams), match them punch for punch and take care of the ball.”
The series opener will begin at 6 p.m. Friday. The second game of the series will start at 6 p.m. Saturday and the series finale will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Friday and Sunday’s matchups will be available to watch on Big Ten Network+. Saturday’s game will be featured on Big Ten Network.