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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports softball

Indiana softball tumbles, struggles mightily in not-so-Happy Valley

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After tumbling in two straight games against No. 10 University of Florida during the Florida Tournament on March 16-17, the Hoosiers were looking for a fresh start over the weekend. Team 51 opened Big Ten in a matchup against Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania. But the Hoosiers got the opposite of a fresh start, ending the weekend now on a five-game losing streak.  

The series started March 22 in a tight battle. Indiana's defense started out dominant, retiring the first six batters of the game. But the Nittany Lions broke that scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with a home run, then again with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it a 2-0 game.  

Indiana tried to take the lead in the top of the sixth frame with an RBI single from junior outfielder Taylor Minnick to score redshirt senior utility player Cora Bassett to tighten the score to 2-1.  

Minnick’s RBI proved to be the only hit the Hoosiers recorded all game.  

However, junior pitcher/utility player Brianna Copeland pitched a complete game, only allowing four hits while striking out five in the circle, bumping her season ERA to 1.87.   

Ultimately, Penn State took game one, 2-1 of the three-game series.  

The second game of the series got off to a fast start for Team 51. Sophomore catcher/utility player Avery Parker put them on top 2-0 in the first inning when she hit a two-run home run to left field.  

Penn State responded quickly in the bottom of the first to take the lead 3-2. It continued to dominate for the rest of the game, scoring five more runs in the fifth and sixth innings.  

Indiana only had one response in the top of the seventh, courtesy of freshman utility player Aly VanBrandt hitting an RBI single. Once again, Copeland was in the circle for the Hoosiers and threw another five strikeouts for the second day in a row.  

This time, the Hoosiers were not stumbling while swinging the stick but rather on the defensive end. They couldn’t stop the Nittany Lions’ strong batting and base running performance, falling 8-3. 

For the final game of the three-game series, Bassett grabbed the lead for Indiana in the top of the third inning with a solo home run. However, Penn State had a response in the bottom of the third with two runs to capture the lead back.  

Just as the past two games went for the Nittany Lions, they continued to excel at the plate, adding three runs combined in the bottom of the fourth and sixth innings.  But once again, the Hoosiers couldn’t find themselves having an answer on offense to get themselves back into the game.  

Team 51 fell in its last game against Penn State 5-2, giving them an overall season record of 22-9. The team also brought its Big Ten record to 0-3 to start conference play.  

Indiana looks to get back into the win column this week for a midweek matchup against the University of Louisville at 6 p.m., Tuesday in Louisville, Kentucky. The game will stream on ESPN+. 

Follow reporters Dalton James (@DaltonMJames) and Sam Elster (@samelster1) for updates throughout the Indiana softball season.

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