Photo Credit: Steven Branscombe, University of Minnesota Athletics
OMAHA, NE – No. 1 seeded Hoosiers (36-21) lost their second straight match in the Big Ten Tournament and are now eliminated from the tournament. Indiana now must wait for the post-season to know their next opponent and the Selection Show Monday at Noon EST.
Indiana struggled early on in the game and went down 2-0 after a run in both the second and third inning by the Golden Gophers. Tanner Gordon stayed in the game and this deficit was quickly erased with a three-run fourth inning by the Hoosiers. Lloyd, Dunham and Barr each crossed the plate to give the Hoosiers the lead.
After the fifth inning, Minnesota never looked back and kept the lead for the rest of the game. They added three runs in the fifth, a run in the sixth, a run in the seventh and another two in the ninth. The Hoosiers consistently let up runs and another day of a combination of poor offense, defense and pitching led the Hoosiers to being eliminated early from the tournament. Sloan, Sommer, and Bierman did not keep the game in check as they had a combined 5 more runs scored on them.
Indiana may be very reliant on the home run ball to get them victories. Their 90 home runs in the regular season were never added on during this trip to Omaha and now the Hoosiers are packing up to head back to Bloomington.
The two top 25 nationally ranked teams – No. 20 Illinois and No. 21 Indiana – are now both eliminated from the Big Ten tournament after each going 0-2. The only game so far this tournament where the higher seeded team won was when No. 2 Michigan defeated No. 3 Illinois earlier today in the loser’s bracket. The rest of the tournament highlights lower seeds winning over their higher ranked opponents.
A lack of offensive production made it very difficult for the Hoosiers this trip. Over the last 7 games before the tournament – 4 of 7 being home – the Hoosiers scored 63 runs or on average 9 runs a game. They went 5-2 over this stretch. However in Omaha, they only scored 6 in their two games, an average of 3. The Hoosiers have only won 3 of 17 games they scored three runs or less showing how reliant they are on their offensive firepower.
This is tough loss for the championship minded Hoosier team that won the Big Ten regular season title and Big Ten Coach of the Year. They will head back to Bloomington to regroup and determine next steps in correcting offensive and defensive struggles before finding out their next opponent on Monday next week.