The postseason hasn’t been kind to Indiana baseball.
The Hoosiers rallied after falling behind 7-2 against Illinois State but ultimately came up short on Friday afternoon in Louisville.
The Redbirds jumped on IU starter Pauly Milto early and often to build their early lead. The usually reliable senior right-hander gave up 14 hits and 7 earned runs in 5.1 innings.
The Hoosiers rallied for five runs in the bottom of the 7th to tie things up, but a quick one run response by Illinois State in the top of the eighth was the difference as the Redbirds claimed an 8-7 victory.
The loss marks the fourth straight postseason loss for Indiana dating back to last year’s NCAA Tournament and including last week’s Big Ten Tournament.
Elijah Dunham had three of IU’s seven hits on the day including a two-run homer in the bottom of the first in what looked like a promising start. Dunham drove in three runs. Matt Lloyd reached base three times and scored twice. Scotty Bradley reached base three times and scored a run.
Hoosier hitters struck out 18 times in what has become a recurring theme for a team that has been struggling at the plate since it clinched the Big Ten regular season title two weeks ago.
Fittingly, the game ended on a Jeremy Houston strikeout with the tying run just 90 feet away on third base.
Indiana’s bullpen combination of Gabe Bierman and Tommy Sommer were strong in relief, but the Redbirds otherwise had their way against Hoosier pitching. Illinois State compiled 18 hits on the day.
IU (36-22) moves to the elimination bracket and will face the loser of the Louisville / Illinois-Chicago contest that will be played later this evening. That elimination bracket game will be at 11:00 a.m. Eastern on Saturday.
Note: Indiana outfielder Matt Gorski was injured during the game. His status for Saturday is uncertain.
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