BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – No. 19 Indiana Softball (22-4) opens up play at Andy Mohr Field this weekend by hosting the annual Hoosier Classic. Indiana will play a pair of games against Ohio, as well as single meetings with Toledo, Northwestern and Saint Francis. Four of this weekend’s games come against opponents who made the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
Admission to all regular season home games is free of charge. All Indiana games will be broadcast on BTN Plus.
IU IN THE RANKINGS
- For the fifth-straight week, the Hoosiers, who continue to be on the best start in Indiana program history, find themselves ranked in the weekly polls.
- The Hoosiers dropped two spots in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll to No. 19.
- Indiana received a No. 15 ranking in the ESPN/USA Softball poll, up one spot from last week, and were ranked No. 12 by Fastpitch News, No. 19 by Softball America and No. 21 by College Sports Madness.
HOME SWEET HOME
- The Hoosiers are 61-50 all-time at Andy Mohr Field, which had its inaugural season in 2013.
- Last season, Indiana went 12-8 at home.
- Indiana is 26-5 all-time in the annual Hoosier Classic, which began in 2011.
- Last season, IU went 3-2 in the Hoosier Classic as it marked the beginning of a dramatic turnaround in the 2018 campaign. IU began the year 4-19 and then, starting with the Hoosier Classic, finished the season on a 22-11 stretch. Dating back to last year’s Hoosier Classic, Indiana has posted a record of 44-15.
CHECKING OUT THE COMPETITION
Toledo: The Rockets, who are 7-12 on the year, also spent last weekend in Clearwater in the USF Tournament. There, Toledo went 1-4 including games against two common opponents with IU in Saint John’s (won, 9-8), Saint Joseph’s (lost, 8-5) and Penn State (lost, 8-2). Toledo is batting .236 as a team, led by Kylie Norwood (.387, 24 hits, 14 RBI). The team ERA stands at 5.88 with Erin Hunt (3.91 ERA, 4-4, 50.2 IP) taking most of the innings. Indiana holds a 5-0 series advantage with the last meeting coming in 2014 with a 5-2 Indiana win. Indiana’s 9-1 defeat of Toledo in 2013 was the first-ever game played at Andy Mohr Field.
Ohio: The Bobcats are off to a 15-8 start and coming off a 2018 campaign that saw them go 40-17 on the way to a MAC Title and spot in NCAA Regionals. Ohio faced mutual IU opponent Duke on March 3, falling 2-1. Ohio is hitting at a .296 team clip, with four everyday players batting above .300. Katie Yun currently leads the bats with a .386 average, 32 hits, 14 runs and 11 RBI). Ohio’s team ERA stands at 3.01 led by Madi McCrady (2.91 ERA, 8-5, 79.1 IP) and Mackensie Kohl (2.32 ERA, 7-2, 66.1 IP). The series between the two teams is split, 3-3, with Ohio earning a 6-0 win in 2016.
Northwestern: The Hoosiers will host fellow Big Ten member Northwestern on Saturday, although the game will not count as a conference contest. The Wildcats, who are 17-6, received 20 votes in the Coaches Poll, putting them just outside the top 25. Last season, Northwestern went 38-19 and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Northwestern is batting .267 as a unit, led by Nikki Cuchran (.353, 24 hits) and Jordyn Rudd (.333, 23 hits, 25 RBI). The battery’s 1.83 ERA is good for 25th in the nation as Danielle Williams (1.34 ERA, 12-3, 83.1 IP) leads the way. Northwestern leads the all-time series, 66-38. The two teams met twice last season, including a 9-2 Wildcat win in the Hoosier Classic.
Saint Francis: The final IU opponent also advanced to NCAA Regionals last season as the Red Flash won the NEC and went 39-19. This season, Saint Francis is 8-15 and on an eight-game skid after starting the year 8-7. The Red Flash is batting .276 as a team with Hayley Norton (.446, 33 hits, 18 runs and 24 RBI) leading the way. In the circle, Saint Francis has a 4.94 ERA with Christina Clark (4.47 ERA, 3-6, 56.1 IP) and Mikayla Bower (5.72 ERA, 3-6, 52.2) splitting the most innings. IU leads the all-time series, 2-1, with the last meeting coming in 1983.
LAST TIME OUT
Indiana went 5-2 during its seven-game swing in Florida. The Hoosiers earned wins against Seton Hall, Saint Joseph’s, USC Upstate and South Florida while falling to Furman in the USF-Clearwater Parks and Recreation Tournament. Indiana then split a Tuesday doubleheader with Florida Gulf Coast.
TRAINER NAMED CANDIDATE FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD
- On Thursday, senior Tara Trainer was named one of 30 candidates nationwide for the Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
- Trainer is a two-time All-Big Ten pick and has twice been named NFCA All-Region. The Lebanon, Ohio native is second all-time in program history in career strikeouts with 695. This season, Trainer leads the nation in victories (16) and strikeouts (123) while her 0.83 ERA is good for 15th in the country.
- Off the field, Trainer has twice named been Academic All-Big Ten and will graduate in May with a degree in Interior Design. She’s been involved in numerous organizations in the community, including the Little Sis Program, Hoosier Heroes and a clinician for youth camps.
- The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
NEWS AND NOTES
- Indiana remains off to its best start in program history at 22-4. In addition, IU’s win against Saint Joseph on Saturday marked the quickest path to 20 wins for a team in Indiana Softball history.
- IU’s 14-game winning streak earlier this season was the longest for the program since the 2011 squad put together a 15-game streak from April 9 to May 7 and stands as the fifth-longest winning streak in school history.
- Junior Katie Lacefield is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak, the longest for a Hoosier since Rebecca Blitz strung together a 23-game streak in 2018.
- Indiana has relied heavily on timely two-out hitting this season as the Hoosiers are batting .275 with 28 RBI when there are two outs. Lacefield leads the way as she is batting .433 with eight RBI when in that position. Additionally, she’s batting an impressive .414 with runners in scoring position.
- Junior Bella Norton has been on a hot streak lately, hitting .375 in the last 11 games dating back to LSU. In that time, she has 12 hits, including four doubles and a home run.
- IU has 70 stolen bases on the season, compared to just 28 from opponents. Indiana’s 2.69 stolen bases per game average is the 7th-best in the nation. Sophomore Taylor Lambert leads the way as she has 27 stolen bags on the year.
- The Indiana pitching staff has been impressive as a group this season as the team’s 1.36 ERA is seventh-best in the nation and first in the Big Ten. In addition, the team’s 4.68 strikeout-to-walk ratio is good for 6th best in the country.
- Junior Emily Goodin has also shined in the circle this season, as her 0.99 ERA is 22nd in the country. Goodin earned a complete game shutout victory in Indiana’s 2-0 defeat of FGCU, her first shutout since 2017.
- For the first time in Indiana history, the Hoosiers have defeated two top-10 teams this season. IU bested then-No. 6 Georgia, 6-4, on Feb. 10 before defeating then-No. 10 LSU on March 1, 7-3.