Indiana Upended in Ninth Inning by No. 14 Cal
Feb. 25, 2011
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Just as they have all season, the Indiana softball team (5-7) put forth an outstanding effort against a ranked opponent, but this time the 14th ranked California Golden Bears (6-1) scored twice in the eighth and once in the ninth to hand the Hoosiers a 4-3 loss in nine innings. Morgan Melloh went the distance in the circle and struck out nine while allowing six hits.
The Hoosiers had just two hits in the game but used four California errors, two of which came in the eighth inning, to generate their offense. Freshman Meaghan Murphy had a single in the second inning and Sara Olson dropped single into left in the sixth.
Melloh (5-7) was saddled with the tough-luck loss while Jolene Henderson (6-1) picked up the win for Cal by pitching 7.2 innings of near flawless relief. She gave up just one hit and two unearned runs while striking out 11.
In the second inning, Olson drew a leadoff walk and Samantha Berenter was hit by a pitch with one out to put two runners on for Murphy. The Golden, Colo., native delivered with a single through the right side of the infield to load the bases. Senior Kelsey Stander was issued a walk with the bases loaded to force home the first run and give Indiana a 1-0 lead.
Cal answered back in the bottom of the second inning on a Jolene Henderson RBI single.
Neither team was able to push across another run until the extra frames, thanks in part to the International Tiebreaker rule being used in the tournament where a runner is placed at second base to start the inning.
In the top of the eighth inning, Samantha Heyman was placed on second base and moved to third base on a fielding error by Cal shortstop Britt Vonk to allow Breanna Saucedo to reach first. Pinch hitter Ashley Warrum reached first when the first baseman dropped a throw from shortstop from Vonk and Heyman scooted home to give Indiana a 2-1 lead. Saucedo moved all the way to third on the play, which would prove to be monumental. Olson stepped in next and hit a popup to shallow right field that was caught by second baseman Victoria Jones and Saucedo took a chance and tried to score from third. The throw arrived just ahead of Saucedo but she was able to slide around the tag somehow and give Indiana 3-1 lead going to the bottom of the frame.
The bottom of the eighth saw Cal put runners at the corners following a leadoff single to second base. On the next pitch, the runner at first base took off attempting to steal and Indiana catcher Cassie Gogreve threw down to second base and the runner at third took off for the plate. Saucedo took the throw and fired to home plate but it was not in time and the runner that stole second base ended up at third base. A slow roller the hit off home plate and headed towards Olson at first base brought the tying run home and sent the game into the ninth inning tied, 3-3.
Indiana went down in order in the top of the ninth inning and California put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to third base. Then with two outs in the inning and a runner still at third base, a pitch in the dirt from Melloh got away from Gogreve just far enough and the runner from third was able to slide into home uncontested with the game-winning run.
Indiana will play two games on Sunday to wrap up their play at the Cathedral City Classic. The Hoosiers will take on Cal State Fullerton at 8:30 p.m. ET and then Loyola Marymount at 11:00 p.m. ET.
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