After an 11 game road trip to start the season, Indiana returned to an Indiana March that was still stuck on winter. The weather wasn’t the only thing that was cold. After averaging more than 7 runs and 12 hits per game in San Diego, the Hoosier bats were frigid to start a 10 game home stand.
After starting the year with an impressive 9-2 start on the road, Indiana perhaps took a step or two back with a split of four games against seemingly inferior competition at Bart Kaufman Field. Indiana now stands at 11-4 on the young season and looks to keep a two game winning streak going after capturing the final two games this week against Pacific.
Today we take a look at (i) where the Hoosiers stand in the national rankings, (ii) review the Cincinnati game and the Pacific series, (iii) name our hitter and pitcher of the week, (iv) review the statistical leaders through 15 games, and (v) and take a look at this week’s schedule.
NATIONAL RANKINGS UPDATE
(Rankings updated since the Pacific series in bold. Will be updated throughout the day.)
- RPI: 22nd (updated through 3/11 games; previous 5th)
- USA Today Coaches Poll: 18th (updated 3/12; previous 17th)
- Baseball America: 18th (updated 3/12; previous 18th)
- D1Baseball: 14th (updated 3/12; previous 14th)
- NCBWA: 15th (3/5)
- Collegiate Baseball: 15th (updated 3/12; previous 12th)
- College Baseball Central: 14th (updated 3/12; previous 14th)
REVIEWING THE FIRST WEEK AT HOME
In a game that was moved forward one day to avoid cold weather and potential snow, the Hoosiers fell behind early and could never recover. The weather still wasn’t ideal, with temperatures in the low 50’s and strong winds.
Cincinnati got to IU starter Andrew Saalfrank early with a run in the 1st and another in the 2nd. IU responded with a run in the 4th but Cincinnati scored in each of the 5th through 8th innings, getting 15 hits in the process.
Logan Kaletha got on twice with two walks and he scored two runs. Matt Gorski picked up two hits and a stolen base. Three different Hoosiers drove in a run.
IU’s pitching staff largely struggled on the day, but the Hoosiers did get good production from Brian Hobbie, B.J. Sabol and Grant Sloan, who pitched 2, 2/3, and 1 innings of shutout relief respectively.
The Hoosiers struggled all day with Pacific starter Shelby Lackey and it eventually caught up with them. After each team picked up an early run, Pacific scored in the game winner in the top of the 9th to secure the 2-1 victory.
Indiana starter Jonathan Stiever pitched an excellent 8 innings, giving up only 5 hits and striking out 12. It was a refreshing start after a bit of a disappointing start to the season for the junior right-hander. Cal Krueger pitched an inning of relief and gave up an unearned run.
Matt Lloyd was the lone bright spot for the Hoosier hitters. Lloyd delivered 4 hits including 3 doubles and an RBI.
While IU continued to struggle from the plate, Hoosier ace Pauly Milto delivered a much needed strong outing to stop the two game losing streak. Milto didn’t give up a hit until the 6th inning and struck out nine in seven innings of work. B.J. Sabol and Matt Lloyd each threw an inning of scoreless relief and Lloyd was credited with the save.
The game was tied 1-1 when Pacific imploded in the bottom of the 7th with four errors. Indiana took advantage with two runs to set the final margin at 3-1. Logan Sowers was credited with 2 RBIs on a sacrifice fly and a fielders choice. Colby Stratten had two doubles. Logan Kaletha and Jeremy Houston each stole two bases.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first, IU put up 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd. Pacific tied it back up at 2-2 in the 6th. That set up the Hoosiers in the bottom of the 8th. IU took advantage of Pacific mistakes and Logan Sowers hit a game winning double down the left field line.
Sowers had a big game with 3 doubles and 3 RBIs as the Hoosiers took 2 out of 3 from Pacific. Logan Kaletha reached base 3 times and scored twice. Luke Miller added a hit and an RBI as the Hoosier bats started to wake up in the cold weather. Matt Gorski also reached base twice with a hit and a walk.
Tommy Sommer was solid in a 4 inning start, giving up 1 earned run and striking out 4. The IU bullpen combination of Cameron Beauchamp, Brian Hobbie and Cal Krueger was solid in relief, as the group gave up no earned runs. Krueger earned his 4th win and has yet to give up an earned run this season.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
It wasn’t a great week for the Indiana hitters but in a week when Indiana only scored 11 runs in four games, Kaletha scored six of those runs from the lead off spot. The junior from Michigan City did it by doing classic lead off things — drawing 4 walks and adding 3 hits and two hit by pitches. He also added 2 stolen bases on the week.
Indiana needed a big start from Milto to snap a 2 game losing streak and the junior from Roncalli High School in Indianapolis came through in a big way. Milto is now 3-1 on the year with a 2.36 ERA.
STATISTICAL LEADERS THROUGH 15 GAMES
IU’s season to date statistical leaders through the Pacific series:
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
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Main photo and schedule graphic credit – Indiana University