Indiana softball’s Team 50 made its season debut this past weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida.
The Hoosiers had an impressive start to the season with an explosive offense and a no-hitter from Brianna Copeland, going home 3-1. Their only loss was to No. 21 Auburn.
Looking to get the season off to a hot start, the Hoosiers faced Pitt in the first matchup of the weekend. Indiana hit the ground running. Literally. Cora Bassett had made it on base off of a lead off hit and then used her speed to steal second and third. Following an error from Pitt’s third baseman, Bassett made her way home to put up Indiana’s first run of the season.
Shortly after, Sarah Stone brought in two runners off of a double giving Indiana a comfortable lead of 3-0 going into the second inning. Pitt was quick to answer, cutting the lead to one for Indiana.
The Hoosiers did not score again in the second, while Pitt scored another, tying the game.
It seemed like that was how the rest of the game would go until Indiana went on an impressive tear, putting up 14 in the bottom of the third.
While Pitt scored two runs after that, the game would end early due to the mercy rule, with a 17-5 Indiana win.
Indiana brought that momentum into the second game of the day against Prairie View A&M.
The versatile Brianna Copeland was the star of this game, shining through her pitching. The sophomore earned her first no-hitter of her career, as well as setting a career-high record of 10 strikeouts, shutting Prairie View A&M down.
On offense, this team appears to thrive in the bottom of the third. They scored all of their five runs at this time, going up on Prairie View A&M 5-0.
Prairie View scored one in the sixth inning but Indiana ultimately went home with that one, 6-1.
The next day was more trying for the Hoosiers, facing No. 21 Auburn. Auburn got an early lead in the first inning, giving itself a 1-0 advantage. The Hoosiers struggled to find their way home while Auburn continued to bully them all the way to the end finishing them off 9-0.
The second game of the day against Howard was canceled due to inclement weather.
The Auburn loss did not seem to faze Indiana going into Sunday in the last game of the tournament against South Alabama.
The game was solely defensive all the way up to the bottom of the fifth inning. Finally, South Alabama scored off of a double, bringing in one of their runners.
That was all Indiana needed.
IU came out swinging in the top of the sixth. Brooke Benson was the first to put up numbers for Indiana, with a home run, sending in Bassett. Two more runners scored in the top of the sixth giving Indiana a 3-1 lead.
Benson brought one more runner in during the seventh, sealing the Hoosiers’ final score to 4-1.
Indiana heads home with a record of 3-1, but only for a few days. The Hoosiers head back to Clearwater next weekend for the ESPN Clearwater Invitational starting on Thursday.