Hoosiers Suffer Heartbreaking Loss|
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Despite tying the game with four runs in the seventh, the Indiana softball team lost a heartbreaking 5-4 decision on a Minnesota walk-off home run on Saturday afternoon at the IU Softball Field.
"It was a great comeback," said head coach Stacey Phillips. "I am proud that this team never gave up. We had a lot of chances to score in the game and we didn't get the job done, but we never got down on ourselves."
Trailing 4-0 heading into the top of the seventh, the Hoosiers (12-33, 2-10 Big Ten) started their rally with a pair of one-out singles by senior Ashley Griffiths and sophomore Kim Richards. Redshirt sophomore Tory Yamaguchi then blasted an RBI double to left, cutting the Minnesota (24-20, 5-7) advantage to three, 4-1, while bringing the tying run to the plate.
"At that point you just want to get a hit," said Yamaguchi. "See the ball, hit the ball, that was the only thing I was thinking about."
With runners on second and third, junior Lauren Hines lifted a sacrifice fly to left, cutting the deficit to two, 4-2, as Richards scored on the play while Yamaguchi hustled into third. The game then appeared to be over as sophomore Rachel Terry hit a routine grounder to shortstop, but Minnesota's Kristin Keeney's throw was wild, allowing Terry to reach safely and Yamaguchi to cross the plate for IU's third run.
Freshman Anna Olson continued the offensive onslaught with a single to right, moving Terry, the tying run, to third. Freshman Janetta Deaven then worked out a walk on four pitches, as it appeared the Gophers were willing to load the bases for sophomore Christy Wahl.
Wahl, who was 0-for-3 in the game and already struck out twice with the bases jammed, got behind in the count, 1 and 2. But the Tucker, Ga., native hung in there and eventually worked out a game-tying walk, knotting the score at 4-4.
"I had a few early opportunities to get some runs home and I didn't," said Wahl. "I just got up there and concentrated on that at-bat, not thinking about the others. I just wanted to get that tying run across for my teammates."
The Hoosiers' momentum, though, did not carry into the bottom of the frame. Megan Higginbotham, the reining Big Ten Player of the Week, knocked a one-out solo home run to win the game for the Gophers.
"It was a tough loss," said Phillips. "We just have to shake it off and get ready for tomorrow's doubleheader."
Junior Megan Roark took the loss in relief. Roark worked 3 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits. She also struck out three and walked two. Mariangee Bogado started the contest for IU. The junior went the first three innings, yielding three runs on two hits.
Lyn Peyer went the distance for Minnesota to earn the win. Peyer gave up four runs, two earned, on four hits. The right-hander also walked four and struck out four.
The Gophers took an early lead with a run in the first on an RBI single by Higginbotham. Minnesota added three more in the fourth on Rene Konderik's solo home run and a two-run pinch-hit single by Katie Meyer.
The day started with IU and Minnesota finishing Friday's game, which was suspended due to lightning. The game was picked up in the bottom of the seventh with the Hoosiers up at-bat. IU went three up and three down in the inning to take a 3-2 defeat.
The Cream and Crimson will entertain Wisconsin in a home doubleheader tomorrow. Game time is set for noon.