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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports softball

Indiana softball finds its much-needed rhythm after sweeping the Spartans in East Lansing

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Indiana softball got back into the win column against Michigan State on April 5–7 , going a perfect 3-0 and finally claiming its first Big Ten wins of the season.  

The Hoosiers' first win was not easy. After seven innings Friday, neither team could break the 1-1 tie. The first run for the Hoosiers came from junior infielder Sarah Stone with a solo home run in the top of the second inning.  

Stone came up to bat in the eighth inning and hit a three-run home run to put the Hoosiers in front for the first time in the game. Freshman utility player Alex Cooper laced an RBI single, and sophomore outfielder Cassidy Kettleman stole home to secure more insurance runs.  

In the circle, junior pitcher/utility player Brianna Copeland controlled the Spartan hitters for eight innings, recording four strikeouts and allowing just six hits. Although who’s in the circle has rotated in recent games, Copeland has remained steady.  

The Hoosiers won their first Big Ten game of the season, 6-2. Stone's big game was notable, as her four hits were a single-game career high. It was also the third time in her career that she had two home runs in a game.  

Indiana picked up where it left off April 6, swinging the sticks early in the game.  

Freshman infielder Aly VanBrandt started the scoring in the first inning for the Hoosiers after hitting a sacrifice fly to score Copeland. Right after, sophomore catcher Avery Parker singled through the left side to add another run. A bases-loaded walk then brought in another run, making it a 3-0 game headed into the bottom of the first inning.  

Stone continued her superb hitting and ripped another RBI single to extend the lead to 4-0 in the top of the second.  

The bottom of the third represented the Hoosiers’ team chemistry as their defense caught Spartan Hannah Hawley in a pickle between first and second base and successfully got her out.  

In the following inning, the Hoosiers also showed why they lead the Big Ten in steals this season as senior infielder Brooke Benson stole third and then advanced to home. Copeland kept the scoring going as she hit a sac fly RBI to extend the lead to 6-0 in the top of the fourth.  

The Spartans added one in the bottom of the fourth, but Parker responded with a two-run home run over the left field wall to keep the Hoosiers rolling.  

Except in the bottom of the fifth, Indiana caught itself in a hole, allowing three runs for the Spartans. Senior pitcher Macy Montgomery notched a strikeout to save the Hoosiers from allowing more runs after their lead was cut to 8-4.  

Indiana added insurance runs in the seventh inning, including Benson's RBI and steal of home, and a broken-bat double by Copeland. The score was 12-4, and the Spartans did not respond.  

Parker went three-for-four, including her home run. The Hoosiers turned the page at the plate, outhitting Michigan State 12-6.  

In the final game of the series Sunday, Copeland threw the complete game and had a career-high 12 strikeouts.  

Copeland displayed her talents both in the circle and batter’s box as she hit a lead-off home run in her first at-bat of the game, crushing the ball over the left field wall. Minnick nearly went back-to-back but hit a double off the right-center wall instead.  

Only a few at-bats later, redshirt senior outfielder Cora Bassett brought in two runs on a line drive to right center to bring in two runs. Senior Aaliyah Andrews was back in the batting lineup again and had an RBI single up the middle to make it a 4-0 game in the top of the first inning.  

The first inning consisted of a Spartan home run to get on the board, but shortly followed by Indiana's outfielders making impressive plays. Andrews slid in shallow right to make a catch, followed by Minnick making a catch for the final out while running toward the left field fence.  

Copeland thrived in the bottom of the second and third innings, getting out of both innings in six batters faced while striking out four of those six.  

Minnick added another run in the top of the fourth off an RBI double to make it 5-1. The Spartans drew it closer, bringing the score to 5-2 via an RBI double.  

In the top of the seventh, Indiana had a bases-loaded situation. Stone scored on an error by the catcher, and following right behind her was Parker, who slid into home to score, making it a 7-2 game.  

Copeland shut the door fast on the Spartans, striking out three batters for the final outs of the game.  

Seven different Hoosiers recorded a hit, and four posted an RBI: Copeland, Minnick, Bassett and Andrews. Indiana turned in another impressive hitting performance, outhitting the Spartans eight to four.  

The Hoosiers now have an overall record of 26-12 and 3-6 in the Big Ten.  

After its doubleheader matchup against Purdue on April 3 was postponed due to inclement weather, the two teams rescheduled the twin bill for Wednesday at Andy Mohr Field. The first game will start at 5 p.m., with the second game starting at approximately 7:30 p.m. 

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

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