BLOOMINGTON — After falling behind early, host Indiana found life on the basepaths in its opening Big Ten Tournament softball game Thursday night against Penn State.
Indiana scored runs on a squeeze bunt, a double steal and an error on a rushed throw on a bunt in a 4-2 comeback win over the Nittany Lions on Thursday at Andy Mohr Field.
With the win, the Hoosiers (36-20) move on to face Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday.
Down 2-1 in the third inning, Indiana scored three runs in an inning that highlighted its team speed. Tete Hart led off the inning with a bunt single, stole second and moved to third on another bunt single from leadoff hitter Taylor Lambert. Then, Lambert executed a double steal, with Hart diving home in time to beat the throw for the run to tie the score at 2.
Lambert scored the go-ahead run for Indiana on Penn State pitcher Bailey Parshall’s throwing error. Parshall threw the ball past first base into right field while trying to throw out IU right fielder Gabbi Jenkins’ attempt for a bunt single.
Maddie Westmoreland then drove home Jenkins with a single, putting IU ahead to stay 4-2.
“You talk about that third inning, it was bunt city, steal city,” IU coach Shonda Stanton said. “Just taking some chances and our kids executed.”
Penn State jumped ahead 2-0 in the top of the first on a two-run homer from third baseman Detiny Webber. But Indiana got a run back in the bottom of the second. IU shortstop Grayson Radcliffe led off the inning with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a squeeze bunt by Bella Norton to cut Penn State’s lead to 2-1.
Indiana finished the game with four stolen bases and four sacrifices.
“When everyone executes and everyone gets their job done, what more can you celebrate?” Radcliffe said. “We’ve got a team full of athletes that just want it right now.”
IU starter Tara Trainer (26-10) settled down from a shaky first inning to earn the win. Trainer allowed two runs on two hits over four innings, with five walks. Emily Goodin pitched three scoreless innings to earn the save, retiring nine straight batters to close out the game.
“Goodin was phenomenal, and our defense was good behind her,” Stanton said. “We got just enough today. We were plus two. I was proud of our group.”