Indiana Softball Set to Host Spartans, Wolverines for Weekend Big Ten Action

    Go Hoosiers! Junior Jennilee Huddleston paces Indiana with a .353 batting average.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Junior Jennilee Huddleston paces Indiana with a .353 batting average.
    Go Hoosiers!

    April 19, 2007

    Michigan State, Michigan Notes in PDF Format (04-19-07)
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    Opponent: Michigan State
    Date: April 20-21, 2007
    Series Record: IU, 50-42
    Opponent: Michigan
    Date: April 22, 2007
    Series Record: U-M, 59-26
    Location: Bloomington, Ind.
    Facility: IU Softball Field

    After a quick break from conference play, Indiana returns to Big Ten action this weekend when it hosts Michigan State and Michigan. The Hoosiers will battle the Spartans on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, and will take on the No. 9/8 Wolverines in a doubleheader on Sunday, April 22.

    Indiana snapped a four-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over Evansville on Wednesday, April 18. Sophomore pitcher Monica Wright sparkled, allowing just six hits in picking up her third complete-game shutout of the season, while junior Tory Yamaguchi smashed her career-best 12th home run of the season to provide the only offense IU would need.

    With two down in the third inning and junior Jennilee Huddleston on first, Yamaguchi sent the second pitch she saw way out over the fence in right for just her third opposite-field longball of the season, giving the Hoosiers a 2-0 cushion.

    Wright did the rest, mixing speeds and keeping the Purple Aces off balance all night. Evansville threatened to score just three times in the contest, getting a pair of runners on base in the first, sixth and seventh innings, but Wright was equal to the task each time, getting the crucial outs when IU needed them.

    Indiana has struggled thus far in Big Ten play, with its lone win coming against Illinois on April 1. The Hoosiers were swept by both Minnesota and Wisconsin in doubleheaders last weekend, falling to the Golden Gophers 5-4 (8) and 3-1 on Sunday, April 15, and dropping 5-3 and 7-1 decisions to the Badgers on Monday, April 16.

    Huddleston leads Indiana with a .353 batting average, a .411 on-base percentage, 13 doubles and 25 runs scored. Yamaguchi paces the squad with 12 home runs, 28 RBIs and a .636 slugging percentage. Junior Julia Hamilton leads IU with 16 stolen bases in 17 attempts. In the circle, Wright is 13-14 with a 3.07 ERA. She has pitched a team-high 193 2/3 innings and has struck out 122.

    The Spartans (22-21, 0-6 Big Ten) enter the weekend series with the Hoosiers fresh off a doubleheader sweep of IPFW on Wednesday, April 18. MSU picked up a 12-0 win in five innings in game one and an 8-0 win in six innings in game two.

    In game one, junior Lesley Noel tossed her first career no-hitter, allowing just a pair of walks on the day as the Spartans cruised to the easy win. Sophomore Gina Mondo paced Michigan State at the dish, going 2-for-2 with a double and a home run for five RBIs in the game.

    Game two was more of the same, as freshman Kelly Confer allowed just two hits to help the Spartans complete the sweep. Mondo was again the offensive hero, as she went 1-for-3 with a grand slam. Meghan Darhower was 2-for-2 with a home run of her own.

    In Big Ten play, the Spartans have been swept in doubleheaders by No. 8 Northwestern, Illinois and Iowa. MSU's series against league leaders Ohio State and Penn State were both cancelled due to weather.

    Sophomore Kara Weigle paces the squad with a .369 batting average and 41 RBIs on the season, while the Spartans have three pitchers that have seen at least 65 innings of work. Megan Hair (7-7, 3.30 ERA) leads the staff in wins, while Rachel Turney is 6-9 with a 3.85 ERA in 94 2/3 innings of work. Noel is the staff ERA leader with a 3.16 mark.

    Indiana holds a 50-42 edge in the all-time series with Michigan State, but the Spartans have won four of the last five contests between the two squads. The Hoosiers did win the last matchup, taking a 5-4 win in eight innings at the adidas Invitational in Clearwater, Fla., on March 11, for Indiana head coach Stacey Phillips' first win over her alma mater as a head coach.

    Indiana junior Jennilee Huddleston stroked a game-tying triple and senior Rachel Terry notched the game-winning single as the Hoosiers rallied past Michigan State, 5-4 in eight innings, at the USF adidas Invitational on March 11, 2007. After MSU went ahead 4-3 in the top of the eighth on Nikki Nicosia's RBI single, IU answered in the bottom half when Huddleston drove in classmate Julia Hamilton, who was placed on second via the international tiebreaker rule, and came home on Terry's single up the middle.

    The Wolverines enter the weekend with a 33-8 overall record and a 4-2 mark in the Big Ten. Michigan, who will face Purdue on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, before coming to Bloomington, has been ranked in the top 15 in both major polls all season, and has spent the last seven weeks in the top 10 in both.

    The Wolverines come into the weekend off a split at Central Michigan on Tuesday, April 17. The Chippewas earned a 6-3 upset in game one before U-M salvaged the split with an 8-1 victory in game two.

    CMU victimized freshman Nikki Nemitz for five runs on four hits in the third inning of game one, and added another run in the fifth to hand the Wolverines just their eighth loss of the season. Michigan pounded out 10 hits to CMU's six, but could manage just single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings.

    Michigan turned the tables in the nightcap, exploding for four runs in the fourth inning to blow open a 2-1 game. Senior pitcher Lorilyn Wilson was the star of game two, as she allowed just an unearned run on two hits and two walks in 7 innings. Sisters Samantha and Amanda Findlay provided the offensive fireworks, as Samantha was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs and Amanda was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.

    In league play, Michigan has swept Iowa and split with Northwestern and Illinois.

    Junior Alessandra Giampaolo leads Michigan at the plate with a .412 average on the season, while nine players have knocked in at least 10 runs for a squad that hits .300 as a team. Wilson is the staff ace, as she is 18-4 on the season with a 1.50 ERA in 153 2/3 innings pitched. Nemitz is 15-4 with a 1.69 ERA.

    Michigan holds a 59-26 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to 1980. The Wolverines have had the run of the series for the last decade, winning 25 straight games since 1997. IU's last win in the series came in 1996, when the Hoosiers won 3-1.

    Michigan earned a 4-2 win on April 7 of last season, then completed the season sweep with a 4-0 win the next day. In game one, Michigan jumped out to a 4-0 lead through three innings, getting a solo home run from Grace Leutele and a pair of unearned tallies off Hoosier errors in the second inning before adding another run in the third. IU picked up a pair of runs in the top of the fifth on a two-run home run from Sarah Padove, but could not complete the comeback despite loading the bases in the sixth. The next game was all Michigan, as the Wolverines scored in the second, fifth and sixth innings to blank IU. Becky Marx had the big hit with a two-run single in the fifth.

    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 IU set from March 23-April 12, 1983.

    A model of consistency, junior Jennilee Huddleston has reached base in 30 of Indiana's last 32 games. She had an 11-game hitting streak during the span, and reached base in 21 consecutive contests before Iowa kept her off the basepaths on March 31. Before Iowa turned the trick, the last team to keep Huddleston at bay was Illinois-Chicago on March 9.

    Junior Jennilee Huddleston has been in the starting lineup for every Indiana game this season, making her the only Hoosier player to start all 43 games. Huddleston has manned the hot corner for 42 of those contests, while earning one start at short. Huddleston started all 56 games at third last season, and started at short in 27 of the 28 games in which she appeared as a freshman in 2005. A starter from the beginning of her rookie season, Huddleston's 2005 campaign was cut short by injury. Overall, she has started 99 straight games, and 126 of her 127 career games.

    Junior Julia Hamilton matched the school record for stolen bases in a single game with three swipes against Quinnipiac at the USF Spring Break Tournament on March 13. Hamilton reached base five times in the contest, going 3-for-4 with a walk and reaching on an error. The Lincolnshire, Ill., native stole second in the first, fourth and sixth innings to equal a record she also matched as a freshman in 2005. Hamilton has stolen 16 bases this season in 17 opportunities.

    Indiana batters have been impressive in the clutch, going 14-for-47 with the bases loaded, good for a .298 batting average. Sophomore Stephanie Pellerito owns the Hoosiers' only grand slam on the season, while classmate Emily Bergeson is hitting at an impressive .667 clip with four hits in six at-bats with the bases juiced. Junior Julia Hamilton has recorded hits in two of her three (.667) bases-loaded opportunities, while junior Tory Yamaguchi is 3-for-6 (.500) with the bags full. Senior Kim Richards has had the most opportunities with the bases loaded, as she has come to the plate in that situation nine times, recording two hits.

    Redshirt junior Tory Yamaguchi hit her career-high 12th home run of the season on April 18, giving her 33 for her career, good for second on IU's all-time list. Only Monica Armendarez, who hit 38 longballs from 1995-98, has hit more homers for IU than Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi is also moving up the single-season home run list, as her latest dinger moved her into a tie for third.

    Senior Kim Richards sits eighth with 20 career home runs, just one back of Stormy Hanson (2000-03), while classmate Rachel Terry is ninth with 13 for her career. Junior Jennilee Huddleston is 11th with 10 career jacks.

    Richards has also 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.

    With her swipe of second against Louisville on Wednesday, April 4, junior Julia Hamilton moved into sole possession of eighth place on IU's career steals list with 40. She now has 42 to her credit, and needs two more to match Kelli Brandt (1994-97) for seventh.

    The Hoosiers are 12-2 this season when scoring six or more runs, including a perfect 6-0 when scoring exactly six. Indiana's lone setbacks when scoring at least six runs came on March 8, when IU lost to No. 19 Georgia Tech, 16-8, and on April 8, when the Hoosiers dropped a 14-7 contest to No. 8 Northwestern. IU has scored 10 runs four times this season, winning each time by at least eight.

    While Indiana has had success when the bats are hot, the same cannot be said when the offense isn't clicking. The Hoosiers are just 4-17 this season when scoring two or fewer runs, and have been shut out seven times on the year. IU has picked up a pair of 1-0 wins on the season, a 2-1 victory over Illinois-Chicago on March 23 and a 2-0 win over Evansville on April 18 for its only four wins when tallying two or fewer runs.

    Indiana has hit 35 home runs in just 43 games this season, already good for second on the Hoosiers' all-time single-season list. Five IU players have at least two home runs on the year, with junior Tory Yamaguchi leading the way with 12. Indiana is 15-9 this season when going deep, including an 8-1 mark when there are two IU home runs in the same contest.

    Junior Jennilee Huddleston and senior Rachel Terry have etched their names into the IU record book this season, becoming the fifth and sixth players, respectively, to hit at least two home runs in the same game for Indiana. Huddleston hit a pair of home runs against Chattanooga on March 18, while Terry joined the elite club with two against Illinois on April 1. Only Monica Armendarez, Brooke Monroe, Michelle Venturella and Kim Richards had hit at least two home runs in the same game in an IU uniform prior to this season.

    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.

    The Hoosiers have dominated left-handed pitching this season, going 2-1 against lefty starters and hitting .409 (36-for-88) against southpaws as a team. Every IU player with at least four at-bats against a lefty has at least one hit on the season, and only three Indiana players total are without a hit against a left-hander. Junior Jennilee Huddleston has done the most damage, as she is 6-for-9 (.667) against lefties on the year. Sophomore Emily Bergeson is also hitting .667 (4-for-6) against lefties, while Kari Bettenbrock is 3-for-4 (.750) against left-handed pitching. Senior Kim Richards is 4-for-8 (.500) against lefties, while junior Janetta Deaven is 3-for-5 (.600).

    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, pinch-hit 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. Turner got the call to pinch-hit again on April 1 in game one of a doubleheader with Illinois, and responded with an RBI double to spoil the Illini's shutout. Her clutch performance earned her the starting nod in game two, and Turner responded with a sacrifice fly and a walk.

    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. As a team, Indiana hit .295 for the trip, raising its batting average 69 points in little more than a week.

    Indiana will play its final non-conference games of the season on Wednesday, April 25, when it faces Kentucky in Lexington for a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m.




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