CHAMPAIGN, IL – No. 19 Indiana Hoosiers Baseball (31-16, 12-6 B1G) entered the weekend in contention for first place in the Big Ten conference, but their road struggles resurfaced with the completion of their three game series against the Fighting Illini and only taking one of the three game series.
The Hoosiers have been riding a 7-game series win streak that ended as of Saturday after losing their first two games to the Fighting Illini.
Friday, Indiana lost 0-4 to the efficient pitching of Andy Fisher (6-1). Pauly Milto (6-5) pitched well into the fifth and then started to cave into the Illini’s offense. A lack of our own offensive productivity was the ultimate downfall for the Hoosiers that led to their shut out and only tallying 3 hits to the Illini’s 9 hits. This was the first shutout for the Hoosiers since April 5th against Penn State.
Saturday, Indiana showed signs of life on offense and tallied a run in the seventh, but ultimately lost 3-1. They once again struggled early with having their offense click and Tanner Gordon (4-4) was awarded with all three earned runs of the game which came off home runs by Yalowitz and Massey in the fourth and fifth innings.
Sunday was a different version of the Hoosiers that showed up. Indiana led early in the game and showed no signs of stopping with adding runs in five separate innings. Hoosier ace Saalfrank (7-1, 7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 8 K, 3 BB) did not give up a run in the 9-2 Hoosier victory. Homers by Dunham, Barr, and Fineman made the game quickly out of reach for the Illini and helped Indiana salvage the final game of the series.
The Hoosiers still hold on to the lead for most team home runs with 81 after adding four this series.
Indiana looks to find some answers quickly to why their offense did not click Friday or Saturday as they travel to Lexington, KY on Tuesday for a one-game series against the Wildcats (22-24) who are finishing their series against the Razorbacks today. Indiana will travel to Ann Arbor, MI on Friday for a three-game series against the Wolverines.
Michigan, who is extending their ten game win streak, currently leads the Big Ten after winning their road series against the Terrapins. The future three-game series between Indiana and Michigan will have major implications on the final standings of regular season conference play. Indiana will hand on to second place and remain 2.5 games behind the Wolverines moving into the week.