A recurring theme in Louisville ultimately knocked Indiana out of the NCAA baseball tournament.
The Hoosiers fell to the host Cardinals on Sunday afternoon by a final score of 9-7, and once again, it was a rough outing from a normally reliable starter that did in IU.
Tanner Gordon was tagged early for five hits and six runs (five earned), and the Hoosiers were never able to recover. Gordon was pulled with one out in the third after a Cardinal homer put the hosts up 6-0.
Trailing 7-0 in the sixth, IU did the one thing that they managed to do consistently in Louisville as the Hoosiers produced a big inning to pull within 7-4.
The Hoosiers attempted to pull together another big inning in the top of the ninth. Entering the frame down 9-5, IU manufactured two runs all with two outs.
With the tying run at the plate, a bizarre scenario played out to end the game.
Cardinal closer Michael McAvene was ejected for arguing a pitch that was called a ball with two strikes. That sent the Louisville manager scurrying onto the field to argue. When the dust settled, a questionable called third strike to the end the game with Ryan Fineman at the plate sent an enraged IU head coach Jeff Mercer on the field.
The teams also briefly scuffled after the game, with Mercer having to be restrained.
Jeff Mercer has to be held back at the end as Ryan Fineman argues the strike call and now both teams get in a scuffle on the mound. That pitch ended IU’s season 37-23 with the 9-7 loss to No. 7 Louisville. pic.twitter.com/BcF3JhpH9J
— phil (@PhillipHoosier) June 2, 2019
Once again, IU was without star outfielder Matt Gorski who suffered a wrist injury on Friday. But run production wasn’t an issue in this one.
Drew Ashley had two hits and drove in two runs on the day. Lloyd delivered two hits from the plate and drove in one. Grant Richardson reached base three times and scored twice. Cade Bunnell also reached base three times. Scotty Bradley hit a solo homer as part of the ninth inning comeback effort.
While a disappointing ending, it was a successful first season for Indiana (37-23) under first year head coach Jeff Mercer. The Hoosiers won the outright regular season Big Ten title and reached the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the last seven years.
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