Photo Credit - Indiana University Athletics

The Hoosier Baseball Report: Has Indiana Turned a Corner?

For much of the season the IU pitching staff has been the only constant, carrying the Hoosiers through off nights at the plate and struggles in the field.  Indiana had led the nation in team earned run average for a long stretch of weeks.

Struggling through a 5-game losing streak, even the IU pitching was off the mark at times, as the Hoosiers slipped off their best-in-nation ERA perch.  Indiana picked a perfect time to wake up at the plate this weekend.  Combined for Saturday and Sunday, IU scored 14 runs on 27 hits, as they turned a 5 game losing streak into a 2 game winning streak.

At 33-15, the Hoosiers now enter the final week of the regular season with renewed optimism as they look to spruce up their position in the post-season.

While still not certain, with three games remaining in conference play the Hoosiers appear to be solidly in the top eight which will get them invited to the Big Ten tournament next week.  Strong play this week and then into the Big Ten tournament would still give them an outside shot at a No. 1 seed and home games in the NCAA tournament.

Today we take a look at (i) where the Hoosiers stand in the national rankings and Big Ten standings, (ii) review the week’s games, (iii) name our hitter and pitcher of the week, (iv) review the statistical leaders through 48 games, and (v) and take a look at this week’s schedule.

NATIONAL RANKINGS UPDATE

Updates in bold.  Will be updated throughout the day on Monday.

  • RPI:  27th (updated through 5/13 games; previous 24th).  This week’s opponents — Louisville (26), Maryland (98th).
  • USA Today Coaches Poll:  Unranked (updated 5/14; previous Unranked)
  • Baseball America:  Unranked (updated 5/14; previous Unranked)
  • D1Baseball:  Unranked (updated 5/14; previous Unranked)
  • NCBWA:  Unranked (5/14, previous 27th)
  • College Baseball Central:  19th (updated 5/14; previous 21st)

BIG TEN STANDINGS

The Hoosiers currently sit at 11-9 in conference play, which is good for 6th place.  There are three conference games remaining.  The Big Ten tournament begins on May 23.  You can see the complete Big Ten standings here.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

IU fell behind 4-0 and couldn’t quite claw its way back against its rival.  Nearly 3,000 fans showed up at the Bart on a picture perfect night for baseball.

Matt Gorski, Ryan Fineman, Logan Sowers, Drew Ashley and Jeremy Houston each had 2 hits on the night.  Fineman and Ashley both homered and drove in 2.  Matt Lloyd reached base 3 times with a hit and 2 walks.

Andrew Saalfrank started and couldn’t keep his recent run of strong outings going.  He gave up 3 earned runs in 3 innings.  Cal Krueger also gave up 3 runs.  Tommy Sommer was solid in 2 and 2/3 of relief, giving up just 2 hits and striking out 4.  B.J. Sabol gave up a key late home run that ended up being the difference.

The Hoosiers went back out on the road to Nebraska and their struggles continued.  Despite gaining an early lead, the Hoosiers let it slip away.  Fielding errors resurfaced, costing IU 2 runs in the 5th, and giving the Huskers a lead they would never relinquish.

Matt Lloyd and Logan Sowers each had 2 hits and scored a run.  Sowers homered and drove in both IU runs.

Jonathan Stiever got the start and went 6 innings.  He gave up 3 earned runs, 3 hits, and 4 walks while striking out 8.  Kade Kryzsko pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

Pauly Milto made his way back into the starting rotation just in time to help IU snap a brutal 5 game losing streak.  Indiana hit 3 homers on the day to propel the offense.

Matt Lloyd, Matt Gorski, and Drew Ashley each had 3 hits on the day.  Ashley homered along with Luke Miller and Scotty Bradley.  Miller drove in 3 with his shot to right field.

Milto was solid in his first start since April 13th.  The right hander went 6 and 2/3, giving up just 1 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk.  He struck out 5.  B.J. Sabol and Matt Lloyd closed things out.  Lloyd pitched a perfect ninth and earned the save.

Indiana scored early and often, running out to an 8-0 lead with 2 runs in each of the 2nd through 5th innings.  The Cornhuskers made it interesting with 6 unanswered runs of their own before the IU bullpen finally shut things down.

Logan Sowers had a big game, with 3 hits including a home run to go with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored.  Each of Matt Lloyd, Drew Ashley and Jeremy Houston had 2 hits.  Houston drove in 3.  Scotty Bradley reached base 3 times and scored twice.

Starter Tim Herrin went 5 innings, giving 5 hits and 3 walks while allowing just 1 earned run.  Cal Krueger and Cam Beauchamp each gave up a couple runs in an inning of work before B.J. Sabol and Matt Lloyd closed things out.  Lloyd once again earned the save.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Logan Sowers

Photo credit – Indiana University Athletics

The senior from Lafayette (McCutcheon) Indiana was productive in every game this week, and he flashed some pop in his bat along the way.  Sowers homered twice on the week, giving him seven on the season.  Overall from the plate he went 8 for 16, increasing his season average from .289 to .309.  He also drove in 4 runs, scored 5 times and walked twice.

Pauly Milto

Photo credit – Indiana University Athletics

Despite missing nearly a month with arm soreness, Milto stepped into a difficult situation and shined.  With Indiana riding a five game losing streak and in desperate need of a road win, Milto stepped up in a big way.  The Hoosier ace pitched into the 7th inning, giving up just 1 earned run and striking out 5.  The Greenwood (Roncalli) native leads the team’s starters with 6 wins.

STATISTICAL LEADERS THROUGH 48 GAMES

IU’s season to date statistical leaders through the Nebraska series:

 

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

The Hoosiers will have a big challenge on Tuesday at Louisville before heading home to wrap-up the regular season with a three game series against Maryland starting on Thursday.

 

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