Offense ruled the day as the Purdue softball team swept Indiana State in a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon.
The Boilermakers (24-10, 2-1 Big Ten) defeated the Sycamores (11-17, 1-4 Missouri Valley) 5-4 and 9-6 in a pair of hit-heavy thrillers. The teams combined for 39 hits in the two games, and senior third baseman Jenny Behan led the Boilers with four hits, two runs and two RBIs on the day.
The first game was offense-intensive, but not points-dense. In the second inning, the Boilers answered a two-run home run from ISU with three RBIs for four runs. After the third inning, the score stood tied at 4 apiece until the bottom of the eighth. After a double by Behan and a walk from freshman left fielder Kasey Wilhoit, senior first baseman Lexi Huffman crushed a walk-off double into right field that drove Behan home for the win.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Huffman said. “You want to be in those pressure situations, you want to get the hit, and you want to have your team right there with you the whole time.”
The Sycamores out-hit the Boilers in this first game 10-9, and threatened to pull ahead at multiple points. All day, ISU’s offense was in great form and ready to make plays, which came as no surprise to Purdue.
“They’re a really scrappy team,” head coach Boo De Oliveira said. “They come in, they play hard, they’re fast, they put the ball in play a lot, so we weren’t surprised by it. We just needed to score sooner with our offense.”
ISU came out swinging in the second game. Eight batters combined for one hit, two walks, two stolen bases and three runs, forcing Purdue to make a pitching change by the middle of the first inning. The Boilers were forced to play catch-up for the next five innings, bringing the score to 6-4 by the sixth inning.
“We like to make it interesting,” Huffman said. “We do fight from behind a lot. I think it says a lot about us as a team that we never let that define the game. If we’re behind, we’re behind, so what?”
The wheels came off the bus for Indiana State in the sixth inning. In an offensive outing that featured the entire Purdue batting order, the Boilers recorded five hits, three runs, and two Sycamore pitching changes before they suffered a single out. After the second pitching change, junior catcher Alexa Binckes drove in two more runs to extend Purdue’s lead to three runs and wrap up the win.
“It was just a matter of time of when the offense was gonna explode and that was the inning that it did,” De Oliveira said.
Purdue resumes conference play this weekend when it travels to Minneapolis to face the No. 19 Minnesota Golden Gophers (22-9, 3-0 Big Ten) in a three-game series. Six of the Gophers’ losses have come to top 10-ranked teams, and they’ve recorded three wins over ranked teams, including a pair over No. 9 Texas.