Bloomington, Ind. - The Indiana softball team will host two Big Ten Conference opponents when Penn State and Ohio State visit Bloomington this weekend. The Hoosiers and the Nittany Lions face off in single games this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. and Saturday at 12:00 p.m. Indiana and Ohio State will meet in a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon starting at 12:00 p.m.
This weekend is an important homestand for the Hoosiers, as it will help determine whether Indiana earns a trip to the Big Ten Softball Tournament for the first time since 1996. The tournament will take place May 13-15 at the site of the conference regular season champion. Starting this year, the Big Ten has expanded the tournament to include eight teams. In its final three Big Ten series, IU will face Penn State, Ohio State and Purdue, playing each team twice. If the Hoosiers win four of those six games, they could clinch a spot in the conference tournament.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will close out the 2003-04 school year with a cookout during the Indiana softball and baseball games on April 30. The cookout will benefit nearly 80 kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington, Girls, Inc., and the Cresmont Boys and Girls Club. The festivities begin at 4:00 p.m., and will be held in the parking lot between Sembower Field and the IU Softball Field.
A Look at Penn State Penn State is coming off an 0-4 Big Ten weekend. The Nittany Lions dropped games against Iowa, 3-2 and 8-0 on Friday and Saturday and were swept by Illinois, 2-0 and 2-0, in a doubleheader on Sunday. PSU will take on Syracuse in a single game on Wednesday afternoon before traveling to Bloomington. Overall, Penn State is 20-29 overall and 5-9 in Big Ten action. They are batting .219 as a team and are led at the plate by freshman Jenn Williams, who is batting .327 and sophomore Leigh Murray who leads the team with five homeruns. The Nittany Lion pitching staff has an ERA of 2.11 and is led by sophomore Missy Beseres with a 1.92 earned run average and senior Marisa Hanson with a 2.23 ERA. Indiana holds a 25-10 all-time series lead over Penn State. The last time the two teams met was on April 26, 2002 with Indiana losing, 4-1.
Whats Up With Ohio State Ohio State is coming off a 2-2 Big Ten weekend, as it split the series with both Illinois and Iowa. The Buckeyes defeated Illinois, 1-0 in game one on Friday and then fell to Illinois, 1-0 in game two on Saturday. In a doubleheader on Sunday against Iowa, Ohio State was shut out, 4-0 in game one but came back to win game two, 5-3, in nine innings. The Buckeyes have a 29-20 overall record and are 5-9 in the Big Ten. As a team, Ohio State is batting .272 and is led by junior Ashley Cutcliff with a .397 batting average and a team-leading four homeruns. Their pitching staff boasts a combined ERA of 1.61 and are led by freshman Jamee Juarez and senior Kristi DeVries who have 1.77 and 1.54 ERAs respectively. The Buckeyes hold a 50-21 all-time series advantage over the Hoosiers. The last time the two teams met was on March 28-29, 2003 with Ohio State defeating Indiana, 8-1 and 9-0.
Hoosiers Notch Two More Big Ten Victories This past weekend, the Hoosiers picked up two more Big Ten Conference wins against Northwestern and Michigan State. After falling to the Wildcats 11-1 in game one, IU came back to win game two, 5-4. Indiana was trailing, 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh. With two outs and Hoosiers on first and third, catcher Tory Yamaguchi slammed a two-run double over the head of the Northwestern center fielder to notch the victory. Against Michigan State in game one, IU took the Spartans into extra-innings, eventually falling, 6-4 in the 10th. Yet again, Indiana fought back to take game two, 8-3, from the Spartans.
Yamaguchi on Fire
Catcher Tory Yamaguchi has been on fire offensively this past week. The Woodland Hills, Calif., native hit .588 with two doubles, two runs scored, three RBI and a walk. She also posted a .706 slugging percentage, a .611 on-base percentage and 1.000 fielding percentage. Yamaguchi leads the Hoosiers with a .337 batting average, 55 hits and seven home runs. She has hit safely in seven of her last 10 games and has gotten a hit in 10 of Indianas 14 Big Ten games.
The 2004 Indiana softball team has 28 wins so far this season, more than any other IU softball team since 1996. Here is a look at how many victories the IU softball has had between 1996 and 2004:
McCormack Knocks in Four Against Michigan State on April 24, first baseman Karly McCormack was 2-for-3 with a season-high four RBIs. Overall, McCormack is batting .311 with four home runs and 47 hits.
Terry/Stillians Hit First Homers
Freshman third baseman Rachel Terry scored the only Hoosier run in the 11-1 loss to Northwestern on Friday, April 24 when she hit her first collegiate homerun. Senior Heather Stillians also hit her first homerun this past weekend, a solo shot to center field in game one against Michigan State. It was the seventh dinger of her career.
Stark Still Hot In Conference Play
Senior outfielder Abby Stark has has been seen and offensive start spark since the beginning of Big Ten play on April 2. This past weekend, Stark collected four hits in ten at-bats with a double, a run scored and two doubles. In just conference games , Stark is hitting .300 and leads the team in RBIs with four. Overall this season, the Vancouver, Wash., native is batting .287 with 11 doubles, 15 RBI and 39 hits.
Thats Gonna Leave a Mark Five different Hoosiers were hit by pitches during the past week. Val White, Karly McCormack, Mariangee Bogado, Lauren Hines and Meghan Connors were all plunked during the last five games. Overall this season, the Hoosiers have been hit 27 times! Sophomore Lauren Hines leads the pack with eight plunks,n followed by Mariangee Bogado and Karly McCormack who have both been hit seven times.