(Photo Credit: Indiana Baseball)
BLOOMINGTON, IN – No. 21 Indiana Baseball (36-19, 17-7 B1G) beat the Scarlet Knights for their third straight victory to win the Big Ten outright over the second-place Wolverines (38-16, 16-7 B1G). This is Indiana’s 7th Big Ten Championship and they will head into the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 Seed.
After falling to a 0-1 deficit in the first, Indiana came alive with a six-run effort in the fourth highlighted by Barr, Fineman, Walker and Ashley tallying RBIs. The power came alive in the fifth inning with a familiar sight as Barr hit his 16th HR to tie Lloyd for 16 on the season. Afterwards the Hoosiers showed no signs of stopping and kept adding on the runs.
Saalfrank (8-1) has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the conference and his performance today was not his best, but enough to secure the victory for the Hoosiers. He and Pauly Milto each tallied 8 wins on the regular season.
After the game, Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer reflected on his opportunity to play with the Hoosiers once he cleaned up from a Gatorade bath.
Now, Indiana will prepare for post-season baseball with the Big Ten Tournament starting on Wednesday in Omaha, NE. They will be the No. 1 overall seed and play the No. 8 seed team at 6PM EST. At the time that Indiana won their game, their opponent has yet to be decided between Ohio State (11-12), Maryland (11-12), and Northwestern (11-12). Indiana has only played Maryland, and won 2 of 3 in their series.
The 2019 tournament is a 8 team double-elimination tournament. Only, the top eight teams based on conference regular season winning percentage earn invites to the tournament. The finals will be held Sunday, May 26 at 2PM EST.
Indiana has won the B1G Tournament 4 times with the last being in 2014 behind tournament MVP Kyle Schwarber. They have 14 tournament appearances in the tournament.
In the latest BaseballAmerica projection, Indiana is predicted to be a No. 2 seed in the Louisville regional. This will likely improve slightly as this was before Indiana jumped over the Wolverines in the B1G. Ultimately, final seedings will be dependent on the performance of the Hoosiers in the conference tournament.
First year coach Jeff Mercer has done an incredible job guiding the team to the top of the conference.
Indiana will take a much deserved several day break before heading to Omaha for the start of the B1G Tournament. The Hoosiers have been playing phenomenally and have the potential to turn some heads as the post-season progresses.