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Freshman Taryn Kern puts a ball in play during Indiana softball’s loss to Wisconsin on March 5. (HN photo/Jaren Himelick)
Freshman Taryn Kern puts a ball in play during Indiana softball’s loss to Wisconsin on March 5. (HN photo/Jaren Himelick)

Indiana softball returns to Andy Mohr Field to kick off Big Ten season against No. 22 Maryland

Reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Taryn Kern looks to keep up her hot streak

Last weekend, the Hoosiers proved themselves to be strong contenders leading into the Big Ten season, sweeping a four-game weekend. Currently with an overall record of 19-9 Indiana has some impressive statistics to bring to the table. Taryn Kern, a huge success factor for the Hoosiers, has propelled herself into the spotlight, twice earning Big Ten Co-Player and Freshman of the Week.

Kern currently has a batting average of .667 and slugging percentage of 1.917. This past weekend in Memphis, the freshman tallied seven hits, nine runs scored, 10 RBIs and two home runs.

This came alongside shining moments from teammate Brianna Copeland, who has improved her record to 9-0 in the circle. Copeland dominated overall at last weekend’s series. She picked up three wins out of four games. Copeland is top 10 in wins in the Big Ten and also top 10 in strikeouts. She is clearly a huge weapon for Indiana.

“Whether you're coming off a roll like we are, 12-0, or whether you’re struggling, it’s Big Ten play and it's completely new,” Indiana head coach Shona Stanton said. “The stats, nothing matters. It’s all about the next pitch. Really, it's the first pitch now."

The Hoosiers look to minimize any damage defensively and play up their offensive strengths against Maryland. Indiana’s team batting average of .327 leads the Big Ten. The team overall ranks in the top three in the conference in hits, home runs, RBIs and more. 

Stanton mentioned she is looking for “game changers” as well in the upcoming games. One of those key players could be Abby Meeks. Meeks currently is batting .371, one of the highest marks on the team, and had multiple hits in two of the four games last weekend.

“If you look at her numbers they’re great,” Stanton said. “She can get extra bases, she's got a great eye. She can draw the walk, so whether it's getting a key walk or shooting a gap and definitely getting some RBIs for us.”

Brianna Copeland delivers a pitch during Indiana’s win over Wisconsin-Green Bay in the Hoosier Classic. (HN photo/Nicholas McCarry)

Alongside Meeks, Kinsey Mitchell, Avery Parker and others have great potential to help the Hoosiers win against Maryland. 

No. 22 Maryland as well has had its share of success. The Terrapins (22-5) had an 11-game win streak, just shy of 12, when falling to Texas Tech. Although they failed to continue the run, they have knocked multiple top 25 teams off, and closely trailed behind others.

The Terps have dominated in the circle. Standing fourth overall in the Big Ten in ERA. Key players to watch are:  Courtney Weische, who is a power pitcher. Weische throws one of the hardest pitches in the league that tops at a speed of 70. She embodies a true athlete.Trinity Schlotterbeck who has started 12 games, pitched 64 innings and has had a 10-2 record. Alongside the freshman Keria Bucher is 1-0 and has had nine saves on the mound bringing competition to the upcoming matchup. 

With impressive statistics on both sides, Indiana hopes to bring the energy and divvy up some more wins.

The double header will begin this weekend at Andy Mohr Field at noon on BTN. The teams are scheduled to round out the series Sunday at noon.

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