Well this is certainly a new emotion for Indiana baseball. It is no secret that the Hoosier baseball team is an afterthought at the basketball school in Bloomington, but for several weeks they captured the attention of the school, the students and the state as they put up a hell of fight. Going from projected also rans after getting by their hosted regional, the Hoosiers made quite the splash and finished in the top 6 of the CWS tournament.
Both teams bats tonight were relatively quiet, but I didn't think 1-0 was going to be a real possibility until we ran out of outs. Indiana scored nearly 9.5 runs per game this year but couldn't even squeak one across the plate tonight. The bats were just never there. Eeking out four hits over nine innings and drawing only three walks was bad enough, but having 4 base runners either picked off or caught stealing truly sealed the Hoosiers fate.
Once again a lefty in Matt Boyd left the bats wanting while the least consistent and certain part of the team, the pitching carried the load. Aaron Slegers was truly phenomenal tonight. While the offense was stranding 4 runners (25 for the tournament if my math is right) Slegers was throwing a gem. A complete game 1 walk/hit per inning pitched and 5 strikeouts is something to write home about. The 4th round draft pick showed up and really gave Indiana a shot.
I'm certain this sounds overly negative and after an emotional letdown I feel that is to be expected, but we also need to realize how significant this team has been. They're the first Big Ten team in 30 years to get this far and they were able to get a win in the College World Series. Possibly even the best part of all of this is that this just feels like the beginning. We have what feels like a lifer in Tracy Smith and a ton of players coming back. The Hoosiers are a hot name and recruits have taken notice. I don't want to exaggerate but we may be on the verge of something big not only for Indiana but for the Big Ten.
So certainly the team and fans can hang their heads for the night, but the new season starts tomorrow and IU needs to be building on that bright future. As for fans, you can do your part too. Next spring when you're in town or have nothing going on, find a schedule and get out to a game. We have a beautiful new complex and a team that can go far with our support. Get out and watch America's greatest past time at America's greatest university and cheer on our Hoosiers in 2014.