LEESBURG, Fla. — The Hoosiers kicked off their 2021 season the right way with a victory over Nebraska on Friday morning.
Senior outfielder Gabbi Jenkins started things out right for Indiana, getting the first hit of 2021 with a bunt to the pitcher that resulted in a single in the first inning.
Nebraska ended up getting the first points on the board, though, with a homerun in the top of the fourth inning, but Indiana immediately responded.
Grayson Radcliffe started the bottom of the fourth with a double through the right field gap, and Jenkins brought her home with an RBI single to left center. The momentum continued from there as Bella Norton hit one deep to left field, which brought in Jenkins and gave Indiana a 2-1 lead.
The Hoosiers added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Hannah Davis got an RBI single, bringing home Norton for the run.
Pitcher Emily Goodin sent the Nebraska batters down in the top of the seventh to secure the 3-1 Indiana victory. Goodin pitched a complete game where she gave up one run on three hits with nine strikeouts.
This was Indiana's first game since March 12, 2020, so the Hoosiers were happy to get a victory in their return to the diamond.
The two teams had a quick turnaround after game one in Leesburg, Fla., and played a second game about an hour later.
Nebraska once again got on the scoreboard first, this time in the bottom of the second where the Cornhuskers scored off a wild pitch.
But Indiana answered when Desiree Dufek blasted a solo homerun to center field to tie the game in the fourth inning. It was Indiana's first homerun of the season.
The Hoosiers then took the lead one inning later as Jenkins hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring home Taylor Lambert. It was Jenkins' second RBI in as many games.
But unlike the first game, Indiana couldn't hold on to its lead.
The Cornhuskers evened up the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth, and then tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 4-2 lead.
The hard-hitting lineup of Radcliffe, Jenkins and Norton were up to bat in the top of the seventh, but the trio couldn't get anything going as Nebraska held on to secure the victory.
After going 1-1 on the day, Indiana will have another chance at two more victories tomorrow in Leesburg.
The Hoosiers will return to the diamond on Saturday as they will play two against Wisconsin. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET with the second game of the doubleheader scheduled immediately after.
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