Entering the first day of action at the Indiana Classic softball tournament at the IU Softball Field, Indiana had never surrendered a run in six previous games against IUPUI (20-0 in three previous games) and the University of Detroit (7-0 in three prior contests). The streak continues.
While most observers would have expected Indiana's scoreless string to be in jeopardy during today's action at the Indiana Classic but the Hoosiers notched back-to-back shutouts, defeating IUPUI, 4-0, in the opener and Detroit, 5-0, in the nightcap, in what amounted to the finest single-day pitching performance by an IU softball team in more than half a decade. The last time Indiana recorded two shutouts on the same day was April 6, 1996, when the Hoosiers achieved the milestone against Penn State.
With today's two victories, Indiana improves its record to 10-10, which marks the first time since 1997 that the Hoosiers have recorded a record of .500-or-better at least 20 games into a season. Detroit fell to 10-7 on the year, while IUPUI, who also lost to Detroit earlier in the day, dropped its record to 12-17.
"I am most pleased with our team's approach," said first-year head coach Sara Hayes. "Our staff was very hard on this team this past week because we did not play well last weekend. If this team continues to do a good job communicating, hustling, and playing hard, we as a staff are going to be very pleased and this team will be successful."
Leading the Hoosiers in the pitcher's circle today was junior Heather Stillians (6-5). In eight total innings pitched, the righthander allowed only two hits, while waking none and striking five. The Atascadero, Calif., product allowed only two hits in five innings pitched to earn the victory in game one vs. IUPUI and threw three innings of perfect relief in the second game win over Detroit. Sophomore Katie Witham (3-5) earned the win in game two, allowing only four hits, while striking out one and not allowing a walk, in three innings pitched. Freshman Meghan Roark pitched the seventh inning of the nightcap against the Titans and allowed one hit in one inning pitched. In all, Indiana pitchers threw 14 innings yet allowed only eight hits, while walking none and striking out six.
"I felt really confident today," said Stillians. "My rise was working, I was able to spot the curve at times, and I felt like I had good velocity on my fastball. I was able to hit a lot of corners yet not allow any walks. (Assistant) Coach (Mickey) Dean has really been helpful."
While Indiana's pitchers were highly successful, the Hoosiers also did not lack offensive production. Senior catcher Stormy Hanson was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI, including a home run, her third of the year, in the 5-0 victory over Detroit and junior Valerie White notched the first home run of her career in the bottom of the third inning of the nightcap. In the 4-0 win against IUPUI, senior Heather Suca recorded a two-run double and senior Katie Joy was 2-for-3 with an RBI. In the nightcap, she threw out a runner at the plate who was attempting to score and also cut down a Jaguar runner attempting to stretch a single into a double in the first game.
In game one against IUPUI, Indiana, who was the visiting team in the contest, took a 1-0 lead into the top of the sixth inning and put the game away with three runs in that stanza. The big blow was the two-run double by Suca. Against Detroit, Indiana took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on White's sole home run and scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a commanding lead. Hanson's solo home run to straight away centerfield closed out the scoring.
In the top of the first inning of game one vs. IUPUI, sophomore Amy Odinsoff retired the Hoosiers in order yet Stillians returned the favor in the bottom of the first. Odinsoff disposed of the first two hitters she faced in the second inning before sophomore Ashley Griffiths responded with a two-out single to left field. The next batter, Katie Joy doubled to right field to score Griffiths from first with the first run of the game, giving the Hoosiers a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, designated player Barbara Ware singled to left centerfield but was thrown out by Joy attempting to stretch the hit into a double.
Stillians retired the minimum number of batters through the first three innings before leftfielder Jennifer Owens singled with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Third baseman Megan Crist reached on a fielder's choice that retired Owens. Now with two outs, Owens stole second base and advanced to third as Stormy Hanson's throw sailed over the bag at second and was mishandled by Joy in centerfield but Stillians retired Ware on a ground out to end the threat.
Indiana put the game out of reach with three runs in the top of the sixth as Suca's double scored Roark, who was pinch running for Dawn Ramynke, and White, who like Ramynke had singled.
Witham replaced Stillians in the circle in the bottom of the sixth of the first game and worked two innings, allowing only one hit. Odinsoff surrendered six IU hits and four earned runs, while walking two and striking out five, in six innings pitch. Junior Stacey Lear pitched the seventh inning and allowed only one hit, while striking out one. No IUPUI hitter recorded more than one hit.
In the second game, Witham opened in the circle for the Hoosiers and retired the side in order in the top of the first. Detroit countered with senior Adrienne Baran. Detroit threatened in the top of the second as freshman catcher Katrina Klemp singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Kristin Martin. Witham worked out of trouble, retiring the next two hitters on groundouts to third base.
Detroit came within feet of taking the lead in the top of the third inning. With two outs and second baseman Cori Castel at second base after singling and advancing on a sacrifice bunt by Anna Ollgaard, she was cut down at home on a throw by Joy following a single by designated hitter Lindsay Roy.
White led off the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run to right field that gave the Hoosiers a 1-0 lead. The blast was the first of her career. With one out in the bottom of the same inning, sophomore Lisa Ferguson was brought in to relieve Baran, who had allowed a single to Hanson and a walk to freshman Lauren Hines. With two outs, Ferguson walked Joy to load the bases but retired Griffiths on a fly out to center to end the threat.
Indiana added three additional runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 4-0 lead. Junior Kristine Dugan led off the inning with a double to centerfield. With one out, White reached on a throwing error by third baseman Jessie Kish. After White advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Suca, Hanson hit a two-run single that scored both Dugan and White. Hanson advanced to second on her single and an error by leftfielder Andrea Sikora and scored on a single by freshman Lauren Hines, who advanced to third when centerfielder Amanda Bley failed to corral the hit by the Hoosier freshman.
In the tournament's other contest, Detroit defeated IUPUI, 4-0. The tournament concludes Sunday. Indiana plays Detroit at 12:30 p.m. and IUPUI at 3:00. The Jaguars and Titans are slated to meet at 10:00 a.m.