Indiana softball will face off against No. 7-seeded Penn State in the opening round on Wednesday. The Hoosiers earned the No. 10 seed in the Big Ten Tournament after notching a 10-13 record in Big Ten play.
The Nittany Lions are a familiar foe for the Hoosiers. Penn State won two of three games during a series played in mid-April and leads the all-time series 46-29.
Indiana’s biggest challenge will be breaking through Penn State senior pitcher Bailey Parshall. The Nittany Lions’ ace has a 21-8 record with 1.65 ERA in 199.2 innings pitched and was on the mound for both wins over Indiana.
The Hoosiers have struggled to advance in the Big Ten Tournament in recent years. Indiana has not won more than one game since the tournament was reinstated in 2013.
Indiana’s last win in the tournament was in 2019 against Penn State in the first round, a 4-2 victory in which Parshall, then a freshman, pitched. The Hoosiers proceeded to lose to Northwestern 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
Freshman pitcher Heather Johnson is likely to start for Indiana. The freshman has emerged as the Hoosiers’ go-to pitcher, with a 9-6 record and team-bests 3.96 ERA in 139.2 innings pitched.
Johnson appeared in all three games against Penn State in the regular season series. She pitched a complete game in the Hoosiers’ lone win of the series.
Indiana will need more offense than its first matchup with Penn State for any hope of advancing to the second round. Parshall shut out the Hoosiers 6-0 in the first game of the series, but the Hoosiers were able to score six runs off her in the series finale.
Junior utility player Cora Bassett leads the Indiana offense at the plate. Bassett has become a breakout star, climbing to the top of many conference statistics and setting the Indiana single-season record for doubles with 19 total.
Indiana’s matchup is the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament, scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 11. All tournament games will be available to watch on Big Ten Network.
Nebraska awaits the winner of the Indiana-Penn State matchup. The Hoosiers ended the regular season with a closely-contested 2-1 series loss against the Cornhuskers.
Indiana would need to win four games in four days to win the Big Ten Tournament championship. The farthest a No. 10-seed has ever gotten is the semifinals, which Iowa accomplished in 2015. Should they pull it off, they would earn their first ever conference tournament championship.