Thursday, Feb. 16
Team 50 returned to action on Thursday, starting the weekend with a matchup against No. 22 University of Louisiana at Lafayette (5-0). Sophomore pitcher Heather Johnson started in the circle for the Hoosiers, looking for her second win of the season. The Ragin Cajuns were able to get their offense going immediately with a double from sophomore centerfielder Maddie Hayden, who then scored after sophomore shortstop Alexa Langeliers singled up the middle, giving the Ragin’ Cajuns a 1-0 lead. Fortunately, the Hoosiers were able to get out of the inning after Johnson doubled off Langeliers following a lineout.
In the bottom of the first inning, senior utility player Cora Bassett was hit by a pitch, giving the Hoosiers their first baserunner of the contest. Bassett being on base didn’t last long, as she was called out after leaving first base early.
Johnson allowed a solo home run to senior designated player Karly Heath in the top of the second inning, giving Louisiana a 2-0 lead.
Indiana allowed one run in the fourth and sixth innings, stretching the deficit to 4-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Hoosiers were looking to rally but could only score one run after freshman catcher and utility player Avery Parker singled and was driven in by freshman infielder Taryn Kern. The Hoosiers fell to Louisiana 4-1.
Friday, Feb. 17
Indiana took on Mississippi State University (4-2) on Friday, looking for its first victory in Clearwater. Junior pitcher Macy Montgomery started in the circle for Indiana, seeking her second win of the season. The Hoosiers once again gave up a run in the first inning, just as they did against Louisiana. Freshman infielder Macy Graf doubled to right field and was driven in by senior pitcher Matalasi Faapito who singled to Montgomery, giving Mississippi State a 1-0 lead.
Coach Shonda Stanton was quick to go to the bullpen with Johnson entering the circle after Montgomery was able to record only two outs.
Mississippi State added to its lead, as senior infielder Aquana Brownlee hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Indiana junior outfielder Aaliyah Andrews doubled in the top of the third inning and was driven in after Bassett singled, cutting the deficit to just one run. The one-run deficit didn’t last, as Mississippi State poured it on in the bottom of the third inning, scoring nine runs.
Bassett hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning, her first of the season, bringing the score to 12-2. The game ended following the top of the fifth due to the run rule.
Saturday, Feb. 18
Following an 0-2 start to the weekend, Indiana was looking to get in the win column, but two elite teams were on the slate for Saturday.
Indiana took on No. 4 University of Arkansas (6-2) in its first game of the day. Johnson was in the circle for the Hoosiers, looking to rebound after giving up seven runs against Mississippi State.
Arkansas got off to a quick start, as freshman outfielder Reagan Johnson singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second and third via an error from sophomore first basemen Sarah Stone and a walk. Johnson was driven in via a sacrifice fly from junior utility player Hannah Gammill, giving the Razorbacks a 1-0 lead.
Following two scoreless innings, Arkansas was able to add three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, giving it a 7-0 lead going into the sixth inning.
Andrews walked in the top of the sixth, but the Hoosiers were unable to move her, as back-to-back popups and a strikeout followed.
The Hoosiers were able to get runners on the basepaths, as Andrews doubled and sophomore outfielder Kinsey Mitchell singled. Freshman outfielder Elle Smith pinch ran for Andrews and was thrown out at home plate trying to score Indiana’s first run of the game. Two strikeouts followed and Indiana fell to Arkansas 7-0.
Indiana took on No. 12 University of Alabama (5-2) in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader. Johnson was in the circle for her third start of the weekend for the Hoosiers.
Just as they did in their three prior games, the Hoosiers gave up yet another run in the first inning, as freshman infielder Kenleigh Cahalan walked. Cahalan advanced to second after a groundout and then was driven in by a single from senior outfielder Jenna Johnson.
The Hoosiers put the ball in play twice in the bottom of the first inning but were unable to get a runner on base. Alabama scored two runs in the top of the second following a pair of singles and Cahalan doubling to drive those two runners in to give the Crimson Tide a 3-0 lead.
Alabama went on to score three runs in the third inning and four runs in the fifth inning while Indiana was never able to get anything going offensively. Indiana fell to Alabama 10-0 as the game ended in the fifth inning due to the run rule.
Sunday, Feb. 19
In the weekend's final game, Indiana faced off against No. 15 University of Arizona (7-3). Johnson started in the circle as she looked to guide the Hoosiers to a victory in their last opportunity in Clearwater.
Following a scoreless first inning, Arizona scored two runs in the top of the second inning, as sophomore outfielder Paige Dimler singled and was driven in by freshman infielder Tayler Biehl, who also singled. Biehl advanced to third following a double and eventually scored after junior infielder Blaise Biringer grounded out, giving Arizona a 2-0 lead.
After a home run, three singles and a hit by pitch, Arizona scored seven runs in the top of the third inning, putting Indiana in a hole that was insurmountable. Arizona tacked on another run in the top of the fourth, giving the Wildcats a 10-0 lead.
Indiana was able to prevent Arizona from shutting them out, as Bassett doubled and drove in Mitchell, who had reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning. Indiana lost to Arizona 10-1 as the game ended in the fifth due to the run rule.
The Hoosiers had a challenging winless weekend in Clearwater, going 0-5 while playing against four ranked opponents. On Friday, Indiana will be in Greensboro, North Carolina, returning to action in the UNCG Tournament.