Indiana softball lost its first round matchup of the Big Ten Tournament 2-1 to Penn State in extra innings. The Hoosiers’ loss drops their record to 27-22 and the team now awaits a slim chance at a NCAA Regionals bid.
The game saw limited action in what turned out to be a pitchers’ duel. Indiana freshman Heather Johnson and Penn State senior Bailey Parshall both pitched the entirety of the game.
The Hoosiers missed the first opportunity to score, stranding runners on second and third base in the top of the second inning. Penn State was first on the board as senior catcher Ally Kurland knocked in an RBI double to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning.
Indiana responded immediately, as freshman infielder Brianna Copeland singled to bring home a run and tie the game 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning. However, the Hoosiers missed an opportunity to take the lead again, stranding runners at second and third bases for the second time of the afternoon.
After the fourth inning, Johnson and Parshall took turns retiring batters. Both teams struggled to get batters on base, and a strikeout by Johnson in the seventh inning sent the game to extra innings.
Indiana was unable to produce in extras, but Johnson got two Nittany Lions batters out with no one on base. The Hoosiers were one out away from a ninth inning and another shot at a lead.
Instead, Johnson walked the next two batters, and Penn State junior infielder Lexie Black seized her opportunity. Black singled through left field to send home the winning run, securing a trip into the next round of the tournament for the Nittany Lions.
Johnson went toe-to-toe with one of the Big Ten’s best pitchers in Parshall but was unable to get one more out when she needed it. She finished the game with 7.2 innings pitched, allowing seven hits and two runs while striking out three batters.
Junior utility player Cora Bassett, who was named to the First Team All-Big Ten on May 11, finished 1-3 at the plate. Along with setting the program record for 19 doubles this season, the junior tied another program record, finishing with 57 runs scored.
Penn State will move on to play Nebraska on Thursday at 11 a.m. Indiana will come back to Bloomington and await its postseason fate, hoping for a bid into the NCAA regionals.