Indiana softball returns to the diamond at Andy Mohr Field this weekend with an opportunity to make history during a three-game set against Ohio State (21-8). After sweeping the doubleheader against the rival Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday, the Hoosiers extended their win streak to 18 games.
The Hoosiers’ 18 consecutive victories are tied for the longest in program history with the 1983 team, the only Indiana team to ever reach the Women’s College World Series. This year’s iteration of Indiana softball has an opportunity to break that record 40 years later.
Team 50 is led at the plate by reigning three-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week second baseman Taryn Kern. The San Jose, California native leads the Big Ten in home runs with 14, on-base plus slugging, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage, walks and on-base percentage.
[Related: Indiana softball infielders Sarah Stone and Taryn Kern earn Big Ten awards]
Sophomore Brianna Copeland continues to lead Indiana’s pitching staff with her 12-0 record. In 76 2/3 innings, Copeland has struck out 79 batters and has held opposing batters to a batting average of .232. In the doubleheader against Purdue, sophomore Heather Johnson had a couple solid outings, allowing six hits and three runs in eight innings.
Extending the winning streak will be no easy task as Ohio State enters this weekend having won 15 of its last 16 games, standing at 2-1 in conference play. At the plate, the Buckeyes are led by sophomore outfielder Melina Wilkison. The Greensburg, Indiana native leads the team with 23 runs, 37 hits, 25 RBIs and 58 total bases.
In the circle, the Buckeyes are led by sophomore Allison Smith, who comes into the weekend with an 11-4 record. She leads her team and is second in the Big Ten in strikeouts with 130. An ERA of 2.16 also leads the Buckeyes along with 100 2/3 innings pitched so far this season.
Although the Hoosiers are 5-0 in conference play, head coach Shonda Stanton said she doesn’t expect the Big Ten to be as easy as Indiana has made it look so far this season.
“I’m pretty excited to see the Big Ten, it’s going to be a challenge, it’s going to be a dogfight,” Stanton said after defeating Butler University on March 28. “The way we made it look against Maryland is not indicative of what Big Ten play looks like.”
Team 50 is slated to face off against the Buckeyes at 4 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. All three games will be televised on B1G+.