Indiana Looks to Stay Hot at Ball State

    Go Hoosiers! Christy Wahl went 2-0 with a 0.81 ERA at the IU Classic.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Christy Wahl went 2-0 with a 0.81 ERA at the IU Classic.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 27, 2007

    Ball State Notes in PDF Format (03-27-07)
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    Opponent: Ball State
    Location: Muncie, Ind.
    Date: March 28, 2007
    Facility: BSU Softball Complex

    The Hoosiers have won 14-of-17 games entering Wednesday's game at Ball State, while the Cardinals are 2-8 over their last 10. The two squads met earlier in the season, with Indiana emerging with a 6-2 win on Stephanie Pellerito's grand slam. Ball State held a 2-1 lead entering the sixth inning, but IU plated five in the frame and held on for the win.

    Indiana will take on Ball State on Wednesday, March 28, in Muncie, Ind., in its final contest before entering Big Ten play. The game will mark Ball State's home opener. The Hoosiers and Cardinals have met once this season already, with IU taking a 6-2 win over BSU at the Kay Brechtelsbauer Southern Classic on March 4.

    Indiana is 38-26 all-time against Ball State in a series that dates back to the 1974 season, IU's first as a varsity sport. The Hoosiers have won the last three match-ups between the squads.

    Indiana went 4-1 at its own IU Classic last weekend, topping Eastern Michigan, Illinois-Chicago and Buffalo, twice. The Hoosiers went 3-0 in pool play to earn the top seed for bracket play, but faltered against Eastern Michigan in the first bracket game to fall to the consolation game of the tournament. There, the Hoosiers topped Buffalo for the second time in as many days.

    Indiana opened the tournament with 2-1 win over UIC on March 23. Redshirt junior Tory Yamaguchi provided all the offense IU starter Monica Wright would need, hitting a two-run home run off the foul pole in left in the bottom of the first for the Hoosiers' only runs of the game. The home run was the 29th of Yamaguchi's career, moving her into sole possession of second place on the IU all-time list.

    Against Eastern Michigan later in the day, home runs again proved the difference. Senior Kim Richards drilled a two-run shot over the scoreboard in left center in the bottom of the second inning, and junior Jennilee Huddleston added a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth as Jennifer Moore and Wright combined to shut down the Eagles. Wright picked up the win with 3 1/3 innings of relief.

    Indiana's next win came with a pleasant surprise, as senior Christy Wahl turned in a complete-game shutout in just her second start of the season, earning a 4-0 win over Buffalo on March 24. After a shaky first inning in which she walked three batters and allowed the first five to reach base, Wahl settled down, striking out a career-high eight in earning her first win of the season. Wahl retired the side in order in the second, fourth and sixth innings, striking out the side in the fourth. She allowed just five hits for the game, and walked just one batter after the first.

    Yamaguchi again provided the offense, hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to break open a scoreless game. Richards tacked on an RBI single later in the frame.

    The Hoosiers finally ran out of steam in their second game of the day, falling to Eastern Michigan in the first bracket game, 3-2. Senior Heather Hohs stole home to tie the game in the bottom of the second inning, and an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of Janetta Deaven put the Hoosiers on top 2-1 in the bottom of the second. The Eagles would rally, however, scoring a pair of runs in the top half of the fifth and holding on for the win.

    Indiana took out the frustration of the loss on Buffalo the next day, pounding out 14 hits in rolling to a 10-2 win. The Hoosiers jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the first three innings, then added another run in the fifth on a Yamaguchi solo blast before exploding for five runs in the sixth. Indiana recorded five hits and two walks in the inning before sophomore Julie DiNallo's RBI single to left center scored classmate Emily Bergeson with the run that put the mercy rule into effect.

    Kari Bettenbrock, making just her third start of the season, responded with a 2-for-3 effort at the dish, pounding out an RBI double and a run-scoring single.

    Junior Jennilee Huddleston leads Indiana with a .404 batting average, a .465 on-base percentage, nine doubles and 24 RBIs. Junior Tory Yamaguchi is hitting .337 and paces the squad with a .742 slugging percentage and 10 home runs. Junior Julia Hamilton has scored a team-best 20 runs on the season and leads IU with 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts. In the circle, sophomore Monica Wright is 11-7 with a 2.46 ERA. She has pitched a team-high 136 2/3 innings and has 84 strikeouts to her credit.

    At 8-17, Ball State has struggled in the early going, and enters the contest against Indiana with a 2-8 record in its last 10 games. The Cardinals have faced some tough competition during that span, however, taking on Big Ten schools Wisconsin and Iowa and facing South Florida, which was ranked at the start of the season. Ball State topped the Badgers 3-0 at the Speedline Invitational.

    The Cardinals have already broken their school record for home runs in a season, bashing 22 in 25 games to surpass the old mark of 18. Six BSU players have hit at least two longballs, with Taylor Yancey and Kelli Jeziorski pacing the squad with five each. Junior Abby Gross leads the team in batting average with a .395 mark, while she also paces the Cardinals with 18 RBIs and a .605 slugging percentage. The Cardinals are dangerous on the basepaths, as they have already swiped 75 bases on the season. Allie Pennock has stolen 18 bases in 23 attempts so far on the season to lead the team.

    In the circle, freshman Elizabeth Milian has posted a 5-6 record and a team-leading 2.61 ERA in 82 2/3 innings of work. She has tossed the Cardinals' only two shutouts of the season, blanking Wisconsin and South Dakota State.

    Sophomore Stephanie Pellerito's grand slam capped a five-run sixth inning as Indiana rallied for a 6-2 win over Ball State on Sunday, March 4, at the Kay Brechtelsbauer Southern Classic on the campus of Southern Illinois University.

    Down 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, the Hoosiers got a leadoff triple from Julia Hamilton to get things started. Two outs later, junior Tory Yamaguchi stepped up to the plate, but Ball State elected to intentionally walk Yamaguchi, who had homered in the previous inning to break up Cardinal starter Amanda Pick's no-hitter. The strategy backfired for BSU, as Indiana's next batter, Sarah Padove, dropped a single into shallow right to score Hamilton and tie the game.

    IU head coach Stacey Phillips brought in freshman Kelli Ritchison to pinch-run for Yamaguchi, and the move immediately paid off, as Ritchison beat the throw to third on a fielder's choice on the next play, loading the bases for the Hoosiers and keeping the inning alive.

    Pellerito then stepped in and drilled the first pitch she saw over the fence in left to cap the huge comeback. The home run was her first of the season.

    Indiana picked up its first run in the bottom of the fifth, when Yamaguchi led off the inning with her third home run of the season, a long blast to left. The Hoosiers had a chance for more, but stranded Pellerito at third and Stephanie Turner at second after a two-out double from Turner. Ball State got its only two runs in the top of the first inning, as Allie Pennock reached on a walk, then stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch. After a Kelli Jeziorski strikeout and a Taylor Yancey walk, Monica Wright came on to pitch for the Hoosiers. Wright struck out Abby Gross, but Elizabeth Milian then singled to right to score Yancey.

    Wright picked up the win after allowing just five hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings of relief, striking out seven. Indiana starter Jennifer Moore was credited with two runs on two walks and a strikeout in 1/3 of an inning.

    Pick allowed six earned runs on six hits in 6 innings pitched.

    Indiana had six hits on the day, with Hamilton, Yamaguchi, Padove, Pellerito, Turner and Janetta Deaven collecting one each.

    Milian went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Cardinals.

    The Hoosiers are enjoying tremendous success lately, having won 14 of their last 17 contests after starting the season 3-9. The streak began during Indiana's spring break trip. After a dismal 0-5 start in Florida, The Hoosiers strung together nine straight wins, winning the Bronze Bracket at the USF adidas Invitational and then taking the USF Spring Break Tournament title. IU kept the roll going in the first two games of the Speedline Invitational, but lost two of its next three games at the tourney, falling in the championship game of its bracket. Indiana got back in the win column at its own IU Classic, going 4-1. The Hoosiers' 14-3 jag is their second in as many seasons, as Indiana won 14-of-17 from March 10-April 2 of last season.

    Indiana won nine straight games from March 10-17, its longest streak since winning 16 in a row in 1994. The school record for consecutive wins is 18, which the Hoosiers set from March 23-April 12, 1983.

    Junior Jennilee Huddleston has hit safely in 11 straight games and has reached base in the last 19. Illinois-Chicago was the last team to keep the Peachtree City, Ga., native off the basepaths, doing so on March 9 at the USF adidas Invitational.

    New kid on the block Monica Wright has been on fire lately, as the sophomore transfer is 9-1 with a 1.29 ERA her last 14 appearances. Over that span, Wright has tossed a pair of 1-0 shutouts and lost two more shutouts in the final innings of those games.

    Redshirt junior Tory Yamaguchi hit three home runs at the IU Classic, moving her into sole possession of seconf place on the Hoosiers' all-time list with 31. Only Monica Armendarez, who hit 38 longballs from 1995-98, has hit more homers in an IU uniform than Yamaguchi.

    Seniors Kim Richards (8th, 16 HR), Rachel Terry (t-10th, 9 HR) and Jennilee Huddleston (t-10th, 9 HR) also appear in the career top 10 in home runs for Indiana. Huddleston moved in with a home run against Eastern Michigan on March 23.

    Richards has moved into the top 10 in career doubles this season, as she now has 35 to her credit to stand tied for eighth with Margaret Haenisch (1991-94). Aimee Lonigro (1994-97) is seventh with 37 doubles during her career.

    Juniors Jennilee Huddleston and Tory Yamaguchi have hit back-to-back home runs twice this season. The duo first turned the trick in the top of the fourth against Southern Illinois on Feb. 16, then went yard consecutively again against Chattanooga in the top of the seventh on March 18.

    Sophomore Stephanie Pellerito hit a grand slam to propel Indiana to a 6-2 win over Ball State on March 4. Pellerito was playing just her second game of the season, getting the starting nod after an injury to Emily Bergeson the day before. In her very next at-bat, against Massachusetts on March 8, Pellerito went deep again, this time with a solo shot to lead off the third. With two home runs already this season, Pellerito has matched her output from all of last year.

    Freshman Stephanie Turner has also taken advantage of her limited playing time this season. Turner went 1-for-3 with a double in her first collegiate action, against Ball State on March 4, and hit a walk-off home run in just her fifth career at bat, against Buffalo on March 16. Her two-run blast came in the bottom of the fifth inning, and put IU up 10-1 to put the mercy rule into effect.

    The Hoosiers have eight teams on the 2007 schedule that have appeared in both major polls this season. 2007 IU opponents Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, Massachusetts, South Florida, Southern Illinois, Northwestern and Michigan have all been ranked in both the USA Today/NFCA and Softball top 25 polls at some point in the season.

    Junior Jennilee Huddleston heated up under the Florida sun during the Hoosiers' spring break trip, hitting .429 over the 17 games with 10 runs scored and 17 RBIs. Huddleston hit safely in 13 of the 17 contests, and reached base in all but one. Tory Yamaguchi (.357), Emily Bergeson (.357), Julia Hamilton (.323) and Kim Richards (.306) also found success at the dish. As a team, Indiana hit .295 for the trip, raising its batting average 69 points in little more than a week.

    Indiana opens Big Ten play this weekend, when it hosts a pair of league opponents. IU will face Iowa in the first game of a two-game, two-day set on Friday, March 30, with that game set for a 3 p.m. start. Saturday's contest against the Hawkeyes is slated to begin at 1 p.m., while Sunday's doubleheader against Illinois starts at noon.




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