Softball takes doubleheader from rival Indiana

Danielle Fletcher

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – The Boilermaker softball team secured its third straight Big Ten series victory with a doubleheader sweep of instate foe Indiana on Saturday. Purdue won both ends of the twin bill via 4-1 scores.

Home runs were key in both contests as a grand slam by senior Danielle Fletcher was the difference in Game 1 and a three-run shot by senior Tori Chiodo secured the Game 2 victory.

Senior Andie Varsho became Purdue’s all-time hits leader with a fifth-inning single in Game 1, giving her sole possession of the record ahead of Katie Crabtree (1999-2002), who posted 255 as a Boilermaker. Varsho had two hits on the day to move her career total to 257.

The Boilermaker pitchers did their job in the circle, as sophomore Lilly Fecho (14-9), junior Lexy Moore (4-7) and junior Alex Whittemore (save) held the Hoosiers at bay. Fecho had four strikeouts and allowed just four hits in the complete-game victory in Game 1. Moore struck out three in six innings of the Game 2 win, while Whittemore sat down all three batters she faced in the seventh to pick up her first save of the season.

The Boilers (20-17-1, 7-1 Big Ten) look to finish the series sweep in a noon Sunday contest.

Game 1: Purdue 4, Indiana 1

Purdue scored its four runs on nine hits and an error, while allowing Indiana one run on four hits. Senior Lindsey Rains went 2-for-2 with a walk, while seniors Danielle Fletcher and Maia Monchek also had two hit days.

Sophomore Lilly Fecho threw her 20th complete game of the season in the winning effort, Lora Olson (4-11) was saddled with the loss for IU after giving up four runs in five innings. Brooke Boetjer finished the game for the Hoosiers.

The Boilers jumped ahead 4-0 with a first inning grand slam by Fletcher. Purdue loaded the bases as senior Andie Varsho reached on an error by the pitcher, Rains singled and junior Ashley Burkhardt walked. Fletcher battled through a full count to find her pitch and lifted it high over the wall in center field. Freshman Katy McJunkin followed with a single, but the Hoosiers turned a double play to prevent further damage.

The Hoosiers got one run back with a bases loaded sac fly in the second inning. A single and two walks filled the bases with one out, when the fly ball to center field brought in the run. A pop up erased the threat.

In a bizarre third inning, the Boilers appeared to have taken a 6-1 lead on a two-run homer by senior Tori Chiodo, but the long ball was called back as the base runner left early attempting to steal second. Chiodo walked on the next pitch and was joined on base by Burkhardt, who singled, but the pair was left stranded.

Varsho made history with a leadoff single to left in the fifth. The hit was the 256th of her career, surpassing Katie Crabtree (1999-2002)’s tally of 255. Rains and Fletcher joined her with singles, but a fly ball to left kept Purdue from adding to the 4-1 edge.

Indiana stranded two runners in the sixth inning, failing to make good on a pair of walks.

Boetjer took over in the circle for the Hoosiers in the sixth and struck out three after allowing Monchek a leadoff single.

Fecho sat down the Hoosiers in order in the seventh to cap the game. A pop up, a ground ball to second base and a caught foul ball sealed the victory.

Game 2: Purdue 4, Indiana 1

The Hoosiers scored first in Game 2, but the Boilermakers quickly regained the lead before going on to the 4-1 win.

Purdue scored its four runs on seven hits, while Indiana managed just one run on its seven hits. Junior Ashley Burkhardt went 3-for-3 with a single, a double and a triple in the game.

Junior Lexy Moore (4-7) struck out three in six innings of work for the win, while junior Alex Whittemore sat down the final three batters to pick up the save. Meaghan Murphy (2-10) struck out one in four innings of work in the loss for IU, while Brooke Boetjer closed out the game, allowing just two hits and striking out two.

After stranding a leadoff base runner in the first two stanza, the Hoosiers scored first, plating a run on a sacrifice fly in the third. A walk and two singles filled the bases, setting up the fly ball to center by Jenna Abraham. Another single filled the bases again, but the Boilers got a fielder’s choice play at the plate and reeled in a foul ball to escape further damage.

Burkhardt tallied Purdue’s first hit with a leadoff single in the second, but was out later in the inning on a double play. The Boilermakers did not fail to convert in the third, however, as senior Tori Chiodo lifted a three-run shot to center. Chiodo’s long ball, her fifth of the season, brought in freshman Kristen Hoppman, who drew a one-out walk, and Varsho, who singled. Burkhardt followed Chiodo with a triple up the right field line, but a fly ball kept her from coming home.

Purdue tacked on its fourth run in the fourth inning. Freshman Katy McJunkin walked and went to third on a pair of infield grounders. A wild pitch by Murphy allowed her to score.

The Boilermakers threatened again in the sixth, but could not add to the 4-1 lead. Burkhardt led off with a double. Fletcher walked and senior Maia Monchek reached with a one-out infield single. The Hoosiers got a fielder’s choice play at the plate and a strikeout to bring the game to the seventh inning.

Whittemore took over in the circle for the final stanza and forced two grounders and a strikeout to close out the game.

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