Indiana softball played its first NCAA Tournament game in 12 years on Friday, taking on Louisville in Knoxville, Tenn.
The Hoosiers are off to a good start. IU held on for a dramatic 4-3 win in the regional opener. This is Indiana’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 2006.
Indiana led 4-2 heading into the seventh inning, with sophomore starting pitcher Brianna Copeland looking to throw her seventh complete game of the season. But Louisville right fielder Vanessa Miller crushed a leadoff home run to right field to make it a one-run game, and after a groundout, Copeland lost a nine-pitch battle to pinch-hitter Makayla Hurst and walked the tying run.
That prompted IU head coach Shonda Stanton to make a pitching change, and junior Macy Montgomery entered the circle. Montgomery got the job done on a fielder’s choice and a groundout to seal the win.
Louisville took the lead right away in the first inning, on a third-pitch leadoff home run by center fielder Korbe Otis. But IU answered in the bottom half of the frame on an RBI single by sophomore first baseman Sarah Stone.
Indiana took the lead in the second when junior shortstop Brooke Benson hit an RBI single. The Hoosiers tacked on in the third with back-to-back homers by Stone and Copeland.
Both teams missed opportunities for more damage, as IU left the bases loaded in the second inning and Louisville did the same in the fourth.
Indiana will take on the winner between Tennessee and Northern Kentucky on Saturday at 1 p.m., with a spot in the regional final on the line. IU has not gone to a regional final since 1994. The loser of that game will face an elimination game with another chance to reach the final.