IU Softball Opens Season with Thrilling 6-4 Win Against UIC In Season Opener
Feb. 11, 2012
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The Indiana Hoosiers (1-0) opened the 2012 season with a 6-4 victory over the UIC Flames at the Hotel Encanto Invitational on the campus of New Mexico State University. Sophomore outfielder Jenna Abraham pace the IU attack with three hits - including a two-run home run - and scored two runs.
It's the first regular season opener that the Hoosiers have won since defeating Centenary to start the 2007 season. The victory is also the first win in a season opener for IU head coach Michelle Gardner, dating back to the 2003 season when she was the first head coach at Nevada.
"It's always great to get the season started off with a win," Indiana head coach Michelle Gardner said. "We were able to score some runs early and put the pressure on UIC and then when they made their rally, Jenna Abraham came up huge for us in left field."
The play Gardner is referencing came in the top of the seventh inning with the Hoosiers (the home team) leading 6-4. The Flames had a runner on second base and the tying run at the plate after scoring three runs already in the inning. IU freshman pitcher Lora Olson was in the circle and had the Flames down to their final out as she was looking for a complete game in her first collegiate game. Pinch-hitter Kelsey Sturgeon drilled a ball deep to left field that seemed destined to tie the game but Abraham had a beat on it the whole way. Just when it looked like the ball was about to disappear over the fence for a game-tying home run, Abraham jumped up and caught the ball, bring it back from over the fence for the final out of the game and preserving the win.
"I don't know if I have ever been a part of a game ending like that," Gardner said. "That was a play that I know we will all be talking about for a long time."
Olson (1-0) picked up the win for the Hoosiers in the circle, going the distance in her first collegiate appearance. She allowed 10 hits over seven innings and four earned runs to just one walk and two strikeouts.
Devin Miller (0-1) also gave up 10 hits for UIC in taking the loss for the Flames. She gave up six runs - five earned - to go with two strikeouts and one walk.
IU opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when freshman outfielder Brianna Meyer lifted a sac fly down the left field line to allow Abraham just enough time to scoot home and avoid the tag.
Then in the second inning, Cassie Gogreve laced a RBI double to right field that allowed freshman Shannon Cawley to score after she reach on the first of her three hits in the game. Abraham followed two batters later with a line drive home run to center field to give IU a 4-0 lead. The fourth run of the inning came off the bat of Meyer on a single back up the middle.
Then in the fifth inning, Meyer reached on a error and advanced to second when the throw to first base got away. After moving to third on a sac bunt, she scampered home on one of four UIC wild pitches to make it 6-0 in favor of IU through five innings.
But the Flames scored one run on a solo home run in the sixth inning and then tacked on three more in the seventh inning before Abraham's heroics closed the door.
There were a number of new faces in the lineup to start the season for IU, with players making their first career starts. Fresmen Olson, Cawley and Meyer were joined in the starting lineup by junior Kelsey Brannon at second base and sophomore Jena Malmen as the designated player.
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