For the third consecutive weekend, Indiana softball went 3-0, this time against Michigan State.
The series sweep marked the end of the regular season as the Hoosiers celebrated their four seniors this past weekend. Outfielder Tatum Hayes, pitcher Kate Rehburg, outfielder Desiree Dufek and outfielder Abby Meeks were among those honored during Saturday’s senior day.
As Team 50 ended the season with three consecutive series sweeps, the Hoosiers will head into the postseason on a nine-game win streak.
Friday, May 5
Michigan State struck first in the series opener with a sacrifice fly in the first inning from sophomore catcher Macy Lee, yet Indiana took the lead in the bottom of the frame with sophomore first baseman Sarah Stone’s sacrifice fly and sophomore pitcher Brianna Copeland’s two-run home run.
The Hoosiers added to their lead in the second inning with four runs via a two-RBI double from freshman second baseman Taryn Kern, an RBI triple from sophomore outfielder Taylor Minnick and Stone’s sacrifice fly.
A pair of walked-in runs in the fifth inning secured Indiana’s 9-1 run-rule victory in the opening game of the series. Copeland notched her 19th victory in the circle, giving up just one run on four hits in five innings pitched.
Saturday, May 6
On senior day, the Hoosiers got out to a fast start behind Kern’s RBI single and Minnick’s two-run home run. Still, the Spartans leveled the score in the second inning with senior catcher Kennedy Wylie’s three-run blast.
Michigan State tacked on a pair of runs across the third and fourth frames to take a 5-3 lead, but Indiana responded in the fourth with four runs behind a two-RBI double from senior utility player Cora Bassett and an RBI double from Kern — who then scored on a wild pitch.
The scoreless fifth inning was followed by a solo home run from Kern and an RBI single from Copeland, giving the Hoosiers a 9-5 victory. Although sophomore pitcher Heather Johnson started in the circle, she lasted just two innings and was relieved by Copeland. The junior allowed only three hits in five relief innings, notching her 20th victory of the season.
Sunday, May 7
After scoring nine runs in each of the series' first two games, the scoreline of Indiana's final regular season game was much closer. Johnson started in the circle for the Hoosiers looking for her 14th win of the season. It wasn’t until the third inning that Indiana took the lead.
A sacrifice fly from Stone scored Indiana’s first run of the game to go up 1-0. The Hoosiers tacked on one run in each of the following innings, which extended the lead to 3-0. A pair of wild pitches allowed freshman outfielder Cassidy Kettleman and Kern to cross the plate.
An RBI triple from Michigan State senior catcher Kendall Kates cut Indiana’s lead to just two runs in the sixth inning. As Kates stood on third base with two outs, Copeland relieved Johnson mid-inning and got the last out — ultimately completing her third save of the season — holding the Spartans scoreless in the final 1 ⅓ innings. Indiana went on to win 3-1.
Following the sweep of the Spartans, the Hoosiers now stand at 40-15 and 18-5 in conference play, locking up the second seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Team 50 will face off against the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 10 Michigan and No. 7 Penn State at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Indiana swept Michigan in a three-game series one week ago. The Hoosiers have not played Penn State this season.
The entirety of the Big Ten Tournament will be televised on the Big Ten Network and will take place on the campus of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois.