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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

sports softball

Indiana softball sweeps Minnesota, extends win streak to 6

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Before the start of Indiana softball’s series against Minnesota, head coach Shonda Stanton gave out boxes of Hot Tamales in the clubhouse. Minnesota entered with a six-game win streak and the second-best batting average in the Big Ten.  

This was not just a snack, but a symbol of her message to the team — they needed to play “red hot.”  

“She gave us hot tamales before the game just to remind us to play red hot,” sophomore catcher Avery Parker said postgame April 12. “When we're playing red hot, we play our best softball.” 

In the first matchup of the weekend April 12, it was a back-and-forth game. Minnesota got the bats swinging first, taking an early lead in the top of the first inning. The lead didn’t last long, though, as Indiana took the lead back in the bottom of the first inning off junior infielder Sarah Stone's RBI double. Parker hit a sacrifice fly in the next at-bat to get another runner home to give the Hoosiers a 2-1 lead.  

Senior outfielder Aaliyah Andrews was back in the outfield and dived into a catch with two outs to prevent the Golden Gophers from scoring with the bases loaded in the top of the second inning. However, at the top of the third inning, Minnesota got another run to even the game.  

Parker hit a statement three-run home run over the center field wall in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Hoosiers a 5-2 lead. Minnesota only had one response in the top of the seventh with a home run to make it a 5-3 game. The Indiana defense stopped the Golden Gophers from letting the lead crumble any further.  

Junior pitcher and utility player Brianna Copeland tossed a complete game, throwing five strikeouts while allowing just six hits.  

In the second game of the series April 13, Indiana kept the same energy going. It all started in the bottom of the first when three Hoosiers recorded RBIs and a bases-loaded walk to rack up five runs.  

The Hoosiers didn’t stop there, though.  

In the bottom of the second, Indiana scored seven runs on seven hits. It included five more Indiana players recording RBIs in the game to extend the score to 12-0. The Hoosiers put three more runs on the board through three players' RBIs.  

Sophomore pitcher Sophie Kleiman carried a no-hitter until the top of the fifth inning when Minnesota got its first base hit. Miscommunications at first base turned a scoreless win for the Hoosiers off the table as Minnesota scored two runs until the game was mercy-ruled at 15-2.  

“She was able to lock it down,” Stanton said on Kleiman. “They threatened, and to limit that offense to what she limited them is super impressive. I’m just super proud of her. She competed her tail off.”  

The 15-run game was Indiana's most runs scored in a game this season. Redshirt senior utility player Cora Bassett scored two runs, making her the all-time leader in runs scored as a Hoosier with 158 career runs. Nine different Hoosiers scored a run without any coming off a home run.       

The last game of the series Sunday was the team's “Lil sis” day as they welcomed young softball players part the team's program. The team has aimed to empower young girls by the girls receiving letters from the players alongside pregame and postgame locker room activities.  

The game, though, was a back-and-forth battle that went down to the final inning.  

Junior outfielder Taylor Minnick was the first to get the Hoosiers on the board with a solo home run to give Indiana a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.  

Minnesota responded in the top of the third inning with a two-run home run followed by a solo home run to make it a 3-1 game, giving Minnesota its first lead against Indiana since the April 12 matchup. Parker responded in the bottom of the third with a two-run home run to left field to tie the game.  

Copeland started in the circle but struggled in the top of the fourth inning, allowing Minnesota to score another run. Kleiman stepped into the circle and executed a strikeout to get the Hoosiers out of the inning.  

Indiana’s defense was authoritative as Andrews, Minnick, senior infielder Brooke Benson and freshman pitcher and utility player Alex Cooper made highlight plays with their gloves.  

Bassett hit a sacrifice fly at the bottom of the fifth inning to score a runner and tie the game. Kleiman and the Indiana defense took control of the Minnesota offense in the next two innings as the game was tied heading into the bottom of the seventh.  

Minnick led off for the Hoosiers as she dug in the left-handed batter’s box. She had struggled at the plate until Sunday after her solo home run to start the game, but this time, the Bloomington native was different.  

“I looked at coach Kendra, and I was like, ‘I'm going to walk it off right here,’ I said in the inning prior,” Minnick said. “I was like, ‘Bring it on there.’ I was like, ‘that was my time to walk it off.’ So, I was feeling it the whole game. The weekend, I didn’t really have my best weekend, and so today, during warmups, it felt great, so I knew it was going to be a good day.”  

The crowd at Andy Mohr Field was electric as the ball flew over the left-center wall to give the Hoosiers the series sweep with a 5-4 win. Indiana now sits at 29-12 on the season and 6-6 in Big Ten play.  

Indiana's upcoming schedule is busy, as they have six games in six days. But the next matchup is a non-conference matchup against the University of Notre Dame at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Andy Mohr Field.  

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

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