IU softball wins home opener in walk-off

Gabbi Jenkins is celebrated after she scores

IU cheers after senior Gabbi Jenkins scores and ends the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. IU defeated Miami University 1-0 in its home opener March 10 at Andy Mohr Field. (ANNA TIPLICK)

The victory came down to hustle for IU softball in its home opener against Miami University on Tuesday.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning when senior Gabbi Jenkins hit a ground ball to third base and beat the throw to first, allowing freshman Chloe Steinhaus to come around from second and score.

IU head coach Shonda Stanton said everyone did their job in the seventh to contribute to IU’s 1-0 walk-off.

“It was a total hustle play when you look at Gabbi hustling out the single and Chloe scoring the game-winning run,” Stanton said.

Senior Katie Lacefield started the seventh for IU by walking before she was pinch ran by Steinhaus. Steinhaus was bunted over to second by freshman Tatum Hayes.

Since it was a midweek game, both teams threw their number one pitchers. For most of the game, senior Emily Goodin and Miami’s starting pitcher, junior Courtney Vierstra, battled and struck out hitters and left the few who reached base stranded.

“When it’s a pitchers’ duel, I want to be the pitcher that wins,” Goodin said.

IU left eight runners on base, and Miami left three.

Vierstra came into the game sixth in the country in strikeouts with 129 in 17 appearances. She struck out 11 Hoosiers. She also walked five, including the eventual game-winning run.

“She had 11 Ks, so you have to tip your cap to her,” Stanton said. “We have to be better than that, but I’m glad we came out on the right side of it.”

Goodin struck out 14 batters to set a new career high and threw her 12th straight complete game. She said her pitches were working well for her, and being able to mix different pitches in helped her performance.

Miami only managed two hits off Goodin, with one coming in the first inning and one coming in the seventh. Neither batter advanced past first.

Goodin’s only walk, which came with two outs in the sixth, broke a streak of 15 consecutive batters retired.

Goodin said she threw in the bullpen between innings to make sure her pitches were still working but never worried about the game being scoreless.

“My only thought process that whole time was that I knew we were going to score,” Goodin said.

The Hoosiers had several opportunities to score runs early in the game. In the second inning, senior Bella Norton singled. Sophomore Tete Hart pinch ran for Norton and stole second.

Vierstra walked two to load the bases, but Miami’s left fielder, senior Hannah Obrey, made a diving catch to end the threat.

Obrey made another sliding catch to rob junior Grayson Radcliffe of a hit in the sixth.

Radcliffe was left in scoring position in the first inning after she hit a single to the left side and stole second.

IU came out running, stealing two bases in the early innings, but Stanton said she wanted to go with a different game plan in the seventh after Lambert walked.

“We’re going to run any time we get on and have a chance to do that,” Stanton said. “It was uncharacteristic what we did there in the bottom of the inning.”

IU came into the game fifth in the nation in steals per game at 2.44.

The Hoosiers will look to carry the momentum into their final tournament of the regular season in Madeira Beach, Florida, where they will play six games over three days.