The Boilermakers (1-8) traveled to Durham, North Carolina, this past weekend to take part in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, but fell short in their two matchups against the Duke Blue Devils (6-3) and their two against Virginia Tech Hokies (6-2).
Purdue pitching opened the weekend hot against the Hokies, with freshman right-hander Sydney Bates throwing for 10 strikeouts in the game. Because of such a strong performance, Purdue was able to hold Virginia Tech to just two total runs all game.
Despite a strong outing from the mound, the Boilers came up just short, losing 2-0. Junior second baseman Stephanie Ramsey and sophomore outfielder Emily Kenny had two hits a piece, with freshman outfielder Ryleigh Scott adding another.
Bates, a transfer from Florida State, worked in practice on struggles that her coaches identified, and it made all the difference.
“After the first weekend, we found some things I needed to work on and that’s what we did throughout this past weekend,” Bates said. “Preparing before the weekend helped a lot.”
The strong pitching continued through the weekend. Junior pitcher Kaitlynn Moody saw a start and pitched a complete game against the Blue Devils. She threw four strikeouts and only allowed four runs in the game.
In the end, the Blue Devils came out on top, 4-0. Sophomore catcher Alexa Binckes registered the only hit of the game for the Boilers.
The next matchup against Duke ended the same, with the Blue Devils coming out on top, 8-1. Moody and Bates split time in the game and only gave up seven hits on the evening. The Boilermakers were able to match the opponents hits and knocked seven balls into play.
Freshman pitcher Giana Lopez pulled her first collegiate start against Virginia Tech at the end of the weekend and held them to just one run in two innings pitched. After her strong performance, head coach Boo De Oliveira had good things to say about the freshman.
“That was Giana’s first collegiate start and she gave up one run,” De Oliveira said. “She executed her spots. Now Giana has shown us that she can start some games too and not just be in relief.”
This upcoming weekend will be her chance to get another start and a chance for the team to put together their strong offense and defense. The Boilermakers will take on five different opponents, including No. 23 Kentucky, at the Citrus Classic in Orlando, Florida.
The unbalanced play of late hasn’t quite been what the team has wanted, but junior infielder Mallory Baker thinks it’s just part of the process.
“A process has a lot of ups and downs, a lot of failures, a lot of highs,” Baker said. “We just have to recognize that this is one of the failures that we’re going to go through. We just have to keep focusing on doing the right things.”
With their focus honing in on tougher teammates and a conference play that is quickly approaching, the Boilers hope to combine their quick field play and their powerful bats. If they can bring them together, the potential is sky high.
“We’ll win every game,” Baker said.