Photo credit - Indiana University

The Hoosier Baseball Report: Indiana is Mired in a Funk

Just a few weeks ago, Indiana’s baseball team was a near consensus Big Ten favorite and NCAA tournament team.  Now the Hoosiers, losers of seven of their last nine, face more questions than answers.  After being swept at Minnesota over the weekend, IU is watching a once promising season head in the wrong direction.

We shouldn’t overstate it.  Indiana stands at 31-13 and still has all of their goals in front of them.  But things are getting interesting.  The Big Ten Tournament, the only guaranteed path to the NCAA tournament, invites the top eight teams.  Indiana currently stands in 7th place in the league.  Based on the conference standings (see below), the Hoosiers still look safe to stay in the top eight, but they’ll need to reverse course soon.

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 44 games, and (v) and take a look at this week’s schedule.

NATIONAL RANKINGS UPDATE

The Hoosiers are still hanging on in a couple polls, but their recent poor play has not gone unpunished.  The Kentucky game will be a good opportunity to earn a quality win and change hearts and minds.

  • RPI:  24th (updated through 5/6 games; previous 23rd).  This week’s opponents — Kentucky (18), Nebraska (114).
  • USA Today Coaches Poll:  Unranked (updated 5/7; previous 17th)
  • Baseball America:  Unranked (updated 5/7; previous 18th)
  • D1Baseball:  Unranked (updated 5/17; previous 17th)
  • NCBWA:  27th (5/7, previous 17th)
  • College Baseball Central:  21st (updated 5/7; previous 13th)

BIG TEN STANDINGS

The Hoosiers currently sit at 9-8 in conference play, which is good for 7th place.  IU is now 5 games behind first place Michigan and Minnesota.  There are six conference games remaining.  The Big Ten tournament begins on May 23.  You can see the complete Big Ten standings here.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

On a day when run support was limited, starter Jonathan Stiever wasn’t as sharp as normal and it was enough to cost the Hoosiers the opening game of the series.

Indiana couldn’t get anything going from the plate beyond a Matt Lloyd home run in the 4th.  It was Lloyd’s 7th of the season.  Matt Gorski also had 2 hits on the day, including a double.

Stiever’s outing might have been enough on most days.  He went 6 and 2/3, giving up 7 hits, 4 walks and 4 earned runs while striking out 4.  Andrew Saalfrank pitched a scoreless inning and 1/3, striking out 2.

Minnesota got 3 runs in the bottom of the first, and that was enough against a Hoosier team that continued to struggle from the plate.

The Hoosiers didn’t score until the 9th when Luke Miller drove in Colby Stratten with a single.  Stratten had singled to get on base.  Scotty Bradley and Elijah Dunham had the only other IU hits on the day.

Coming off a solid start last week, Cam Beauchamp didn’t have it this time.  Minnesota got to him early, and he gave up 4 earned runs in 4 innings of work.  Pauly Milto, who his working is way back from arm soreness, looked rusty.  Normally a starter, Milto gave up 2 earned runs in 1 inning.  Kade Kryzsko was strong over the last 3 innings, giving up 1 hit, 1 earned run and striking out 3.

When things aren’t going well nothing seems to go right.  While the Hoosier bats finally awoke from a slumber with 15 hits, IU still left 9 on base.  Indiana appeared to be on course to salvage a win in the series, holding a 6-3 lead going into the bottom of the eight.  That’s when IU’s normally dominant bullpen let it slip away.

Matt Lloyd and Matt Gorski led the way from the plate for IU, each picking up 3 hits.  Gorski homered and doubled and drove in 3.  Lloyd drove in 2.  Logan Kaletha reached base twice and scored twice and also drove in a run.  Logan Sowers, Scotty Bradley and Justin Walker each had 2 hits on the afternoon.

Starter Tim Herrin was serviceable, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks and 3 earned runs over 6 innings.

The bullpen trio of Cal Krueger, B.J. Sabol and Matt Lloyd had been virtually untouchable all season.  Minnesota got to all three of them on Sunday, with Krueger and Sabol giving up 8th inning home runs, and Lloyd giving up the game winner in the 10th.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Matt Gorski

Photo credit – Indiana University

Gorski was one of few bright spots in a rough week from the plate for Indiana.  He went 5 for 9, with a home run, 2 doubles, and 3 RBIs.  He also walked 3 times.  For the week he improved his batting average from .368 to .379 and took over the team lead in that category.  Gorski has yet to commit an error in the field this season.

Andrew Saalfrank

Photo credit – Indiana University

After a rough start to the season, the left-handed reliever from Hoagland, Indiana has been on a roll.  In his last 11 eleven innings of work he has only given up 1 hit and 1 earned run.  He has compiled an amazing 19 strikeouts during that stretch.  He continued his hot streak with a solid appearance this week against the Gophers.

STATISTICAL LEADERS THROUGH 44 GAMES

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

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

The Hoosiers will have a good home test against rival Kentucky on Tuesday before heading back out on the road against Nebraska over the weekend.

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