Photo Credit: Indiana Baseball
LOUISVILLE, KY – After getting upset in the first round of the Louisville Regional Friday, No. 2 Indiana (37-22) defeated the No. 4 UIC Flames, 9-5 to advance to the next elimination game against host No. 1 Louisville Sunday.
Indiana once again started off slow and trailed in the first inning 0-2 due to a homer from UIC star Scott Ota who hit his 20th home run on the season. Indiana started to put their foot down in the second inning with production from Richardson and Bunnell, but they really put the game wide open with a home run in the 6th, 7th and 8th by Indiana standouts Lloyd, Barr and Ashley.
Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Andrew Saalfrank (8-1) was pulled early in the game after 3.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER on 71 pitches. Gabe Bierman was awarded the win on the game and pitched the best out of the Hoosiers today.
No. 1 seeded Louisville (No. 7 in the nation) lost to No. 3 seeded Illinois State Saturday 4-2, and will face the Hoosiers tomorrow in their second match on the season. This is the first loss Louisville has had in 16 straight home games in the regionals.
Louisville has had similar struggles to Indiana over the last several weeks. Their offense has not been as productive as it has been during the regular season and they have lacked consistency. Over the last four games, Louisville has scored nine runs compared to the 28 they scored in their last three on the season. Indiana scored 22 in their last four games, compared to 31 in their last three on the season.
Overall, the Hoosiers have been more consistent as of late, but ending up with the same results to the Cardinals.
Indiana are expected to now call up Tanner Gordon (6-5) for their next elimination game. Gordon last pitched against Minnesota in a loss where he pitched 4.1 innings and had 2 ER. We anticipate that the Cardinals will have Bobby Miller (5-1, 4.16 ERA) face the Hoosiers.
Indiana will have to win three more games in order to make it out of the Regionals. A win against Louisville and Illinois State tomorrow in a double-header and then a win on Monday against Illinois State again as it is double-elimination.
If Indiana loses any of these next three games, their season comes to an end. They will need to find their previous consistency and strengths to find a way to advance.