April 16, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
The Indiana Hoosiers (26-15, 7-2 Big Ten) extended to a six game winning streak with a 4-3 win in eight innings over the Wisconsin Badgers (22-16, 2-5 Big Ten) at the IU Softball Field. The Hoosiers scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning on a single by Sara Olson and an error in left field by the Badgers.
The 7-2 start to Big Ten play is the best since a 9-0 start in the 1994 season while the 26-15 overall mark is the best since the same mark to start the 1996 season. The Hoosiers have also won six consecutive conference games, the longest streak since 1996.
Morgan Melloh (21-14) did more than enough to earn the victory in the circle, pitching all eight innings and giving up three runs on just five hits. She also struck out 21 in the game, a career high, and walked just two - both coming in the tumultuous eighth inning. Melloh struck out the side in six of the eight innings. She was just two shy of matching the Indiana single-game record for strikeouts of 23 set by Mariangee Bogado in 2006.
She now has 349 strikeouts on the season and 107 in Big Ten play to lead the conference in both categories. She is just 21 strikeouts away from tying the Indiana single-season record for strikeouts and matching Amy Unterbrink's 370 during the 1986 season.
Wisconsin got on the board in the first inning with a leadoff home run by Shannel Blackshear, just the fourth leadoff home run in the history of UW softball.
Indiana then loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first inning but UW pitcher Cassandra Darrah was able wriggle free and not allow a run. That would be a story in the game for Indiana as they stranded 14 runners on the bases in the game.
In the bottom of the third inning, IU put together another rally and it started with a Sara Olson single and was followed by an Amanda Wagner single. Cassie Gogreve was hit by a pitch from Darrah to load the bases for Heather Nelson. The junior worked a walk from Darrah to tie the game at 1-1. Jenna Abraham grounded into a fielder's choice where the second out was recorded at the plate. The ninth batter in the IU lineup, Samantha Heyman, worked a 10-pitch walk to give IU a 2-1 lead. Breanna Saucedo picked up an RBI with a single up the middle for the first of her four hits on the day to set a career high.
Melloh continued to have it on cruise control through the fourth and fifth innings. The Hoosiers were 18-0 when leading going to the sixth inning but UW's shortstop Stephanie Peace tried to end that streak with a two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game, 3-3.
The Hoosiers had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when Saucedo singled to left and then advanced all the way to third base on a fielding error in the outfield. However, Darrah once again buckled down and escaped without a run crossing the plate.
Neither team posed much of a threat in their half of the seventh inning so the game went to extra innings. And that's where the fun started.
The first two batters in the UW lineup - Blackshear and Jennifer Krueger - coaxed walks out of Melloh to put the IU defense on its heels. But it was Melloh that rose to the occasion and struck out the next three batters to regain the momentum for Indiana.
The Hoosiers carried that over to the bottom of the eighth inning where Saucedo ledoff with a single through the left side. Ashley Warrum followed with a bunt single to put the winning run in scoring position. Olson stepped in next and delivered a soft single to left field that was again bobbled by the left fielder to allow Saucedo to score easily from second base and give the Hoosier the 4-3 win.
Indiana and Wisconsin will be back at it on Sunday with a 12:00 p.m. start and the game will be carried live on the Big Ten Network.
Indiana is now 4-2 on the year in extra inning games while Wisconsin falls to 0-2 ... the four hits by Saucedo is the most since Rachel Terry had four against Northwestern on April 8, 2007 ... Jenna Abraham had her first career three-hit game and is 5-for-9 in the last three games ... this marks the second six-game win streak of the season for the Hoosiers ... Olson has been hit by a pitch in five straight games ... she also has a .692 batting average over the last six Big Ten games - all Indiana wins ... the 12 hits in the game is the most since a 12-hit attack against Wright State on March 20