Bloomington, Ind. The Indiana softball team will look to snap a five-game losing streak as it heads out this week on a five-game road trip that will start Tuesday when the Hoosiers take on in-state rival Evansville in a single game starting at 6:00 p.m. at Cooper Stadium. IU then travels to Madison, Wis. to take on the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday, April 16 at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 17 at 12:00 p.m. On Sunday, April 18, the Hoosiers will close out the road trip in Minneapolis, Minn., where they will take on the Golden Gophers in a twin bill starting at noon.
Evansville is coming off a three-game series with Wichita State where they won game one, 1-0, but fell in games two and three, 1-0 and 3-2. The Purple Aces, a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, are 30-13 overall and 5-8 in conference play. As a team, Evansville is batting .265 and boasts a 1.75 team ERA. Senior Jamie Davison leads the Purple Aces at the plate with a .387 batting average. Indiana holds a 21-5 all-time series lead over Evansville. The last time the two teams met was in 2003 with Evansville shutting out Indiana, 8-0.
Scouting Wisconsin Wisconsin is coming off a weekend split of both Big Ten Conference opponents. On Friday, the Badgers defeated Northwestern, 4-2, but the Wildcats rebounded and shutout Wisconsin, 4-0, on Saturday. The Badgers doubleheader with Michigan State turned into a slugfest with Wisconsin falling in game one, 7-5. The Badgers came back from a 6-0 deficit to win game two, 11-8. Wisconsin has a 23-19 overall record and is 3-5 in Big Ten action. As a team, the Badgers are hitting .253 and have a team ERA of 2.33. At the plate, Wisconsin is led by juniors Kris Zacher and Boo Gillette who boasts a .368 and .354 batting average respectively. The Badgers hold an 11-8 all-time series advantage over the Hoosiers with Wisconsin taking both games, 6-1 and 4-3, the last time the two teams met in 2003.
Scouting Minnesota Minnesota is currently in fourth place in the Big Ten Conference standings after splitting its conference games this past weekend. Against Michigan State, the Golden Gophers won game one, 2-1 but fell in game two, 5-2. Against Northwestern, Minnesota took game one, 2-1, and were shutout in game two, 4-0. The Gophers have a combined 1.59 ERA and are hitting .240 at the plate. Minnesota is led by Megan Higginbotham, who is second in the Big Ten with a .375 batting average. Senior Piper Marten is their leader on the mound and boasts a .064 ERA, good for third in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers hold a 38-36 all-time series lead, however, the Gophers took both games, 3-1 and 2-1, when they two teams met in 2003.
Tough Week for Indiana The Hoosiers had a tough week last week as they dropped five straight games starting with a 2-1 loss to Ball State on Tuesday, April 6. In conference action, Indiana was shutout by Iowa, 6-0 in game one on Friday afternoon and 1-0 in game two on Saturday afternoon. In a doubleheader against Illinois on Sunday, the Hoosiers dropped game one, 2-1 and game two, 4-1.
Venturella Returns Home Michelle Venturella, one of Indiana softballs most distinguished alumni, returned to Bloomington this past weekend when the Hoosiers played Iowa on Friday and Saturday. Venturella currently serves as assistant coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes but her name can be found all over the Indiana softball record books. Currently, the Schererville, Ind., native holds the single season record for runs scored (57), doubles (17), walks (56), slugging percentage (.819), homeruns (16) and RBIs (65).
Nottger Gets 100th Career Win IUs 4-2 win over Bowling Green on Sunday, April 4 marked head coach Sara Hayes Nottgers 100th career victory. Prior to taking the helm at Indiana, Nottger led the Northern Iowa Panthers to a 58-59 record in two years. Currently, Nottger has a 42-50 overall record at Indiana.
In one of the toughest schedules in IU softball history, the Hoosiers faced their fifth USAToday/NFCA Top 25 team when they took on No. 9 Michigan on April 2-3. Here is a look at other ranked opponents the Hoosiers have faced: February 20 No. 15 Florida February 22 No. 18 Nebraska
March 6 No. 1 Arizona
March 7 No. 24 Georgia Tech
Another Indiana opponent also recieving votes in the poll is Notre Dame.
Wins Plateau On March 31 against Illinois-Chicago, the Hoosiers notched their 20th and 21st wins of the season. With a little less than half the season to play, the Hoosiers have now won more games than any Indiana softball team since 1997.