HOOSIERS FAIL TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EARLY-INNING HITS IN 6-0 LOSS AT PURDUE
West Lafayette, Ind. - For two consecutive innings at Purdue on Saturday, the momentum was there for the Indiana's taking. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, it may still be sunning itself at second base at Purdue's Varsity Softball Complex, basking in the glare of a 6-0 Boilermaker victory over the Hoosiers.
In both the top of the first and second stanzas, Indiana had a runner at second base with nobody out. On both occasions, the 60 feet of dirt between second and third might as well have been protected by moat. Against Purdue senior hurler Leighann Burke (20-14), junior first baseman Valerie White opened the game with a single to right field that Angela Knight failed to handle cleanly, allowing White to advance to second on the play. Burke retired the next three hitters she faced on a pop out and two strikeouts. In the top of the second, junior Heather Stillians doubled to lead off the inning but was picked off at second with no one out to quash the potential threat.
The Boilermakers (34-26 overall, 5-12 Big Ten) stemmed the potential ripple effect from the first two innings and never looked back, scoring three runs in the third and two runs in the fourth. They closed out the scoring with a two-sport in the bottom of the fifth. Burke allowed only four hits and no runs, while walking only one and striking out five in 7.0 innings pitched. White recorded two of the hits for the Hoosiers, while Stillians notched a double and Stark tallied a single in the sixth, a stanza in which the Hoosiers failed to score despite having the bases loaded with only one out.
Stillians (9-17) sustained the loss for the Hoosiers (18-31 overall, 1-16 Big Ten), allowing three hits and three earned runs. She struck out three Purdue batters, while also allowing a walk and hitting a batter. Freshman Megan Roark pitched the final three innings for the Boilermakers and was roughed up by the Boilermakers to the tune of two walks and two strikeouts.
Purdue was paced by centerfielder Andrea Roush, who was 2-for-3 with a run scored and three RBI. Tricia Lilley and Shelli Messer also recorded two hits each.
Stillians ran into trouble in the bottom of the third as Purdue secured a 3-0 lead. Tricia Lilley singled to leftcenter to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Angi Roembke. With one out, Heidi Foster was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Stillians then walked Jones to load the bases and paid dearly for her lack of control as Roush tripled to dead centerfield as Katie Joy was shaded well into leftcenter defensively. She dove to keep the ball in front of her but it rolled all the way to the fence and all three runners scored.
Purdue broke open the contest in the bottom of the fourth with another run after Hayes removed Stillians in favor of freshman Megan Roark, who opened the game in right field. She was greeted with three infield singles to load the bases. Messer singled deep in the hole at short to reach safely to lead off the inning. Angela Knight reached safely on a bunt attempt and Lilley, the leadoff hitter in the Purdue lineup, reached safely on a ground ball to second base. With the bases loaded, Roembke grounded out to Griffiths at second to score Messer from third. After Roark struck out Hillsey and Foster to work out of the inning.
The Boilermakers added two runs in the bottom of the fifth run-scoring single by Messer and a steal of home.
These two teams return to action tomorrow at the IU Softball Field. The first pitch is scheduled for noon.