Indiana’s dream of sneaking in the NCAA Tournament through the back door ended after 4 a.m. Eastern this morning.
In its second game of the day at the Big Ten Tournament, IU saw its season end in a 14-2 defeat at the hands of second-seeded Rutgers in a middle-of-the-night affair on Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb.
The loss ends a solid run at the Big Ten, as Indiana followed an opening round loss to Maryland in extra innings with two straight wins, eliminating No. 4 seed Illinois, and No. 1 seed Maryland in the process.
The Hoosiers’ pitching staff struggled all season, so it was only fitting that their season concludes after a rough outing on the mound. After a first pitch at around 12:45 a.m. Eastern, Rutgers opened the scoring with four runs in the first inning, two in the second and three in the third to stake to a 9-0 lead.
Indiana (27-32) got on the board in the sixth inning with two runs, but Rutgers added five in the seventh to enact the run rule.
The Hoosier pitching staff fanned five batters to push its season total to a school-record 600. The 600 strikeouts mark the second time in Big Ten history that a pitching staff fanned 600-plus batters in a season.
Freshman Carter Mathison hit his 19th home run of the season to move into a tie for No. 5 on the Indiana single season charts with Craig Dedelow (2017) and Doug DeVore (1999). He drove in two RBIs to tie for the most RBIs by a freshman in a single season, equaling the total of Phil Dauphin (1998).
The Hoosiers would have needed two more wins on Sunday to clinch the Big Ten’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Indiana closed the regular season with four straight Big Ten series wins to make the eight team tournament as the No. 8 seed. They have not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2019 after qualifying in six of the seven prior campaigns.
The unusual start time came as a result of rain on the opening day of the tournament, which pushed back the entire schedule.
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