After a letdown during Friday night's opener, the Hoosiers fell behind in the first inning on Saturday, and it looked like they were in for another long night. But eight near-perfect innings later, Indiana had evened the series and seemingly found itself again.
Kyle Hart, who is still working his way back to full strength, gave up a two-run shot before all the Hoosier fans could get settled in at Bart Kaufman after the rain. But Hart settled in and turned in his highest pitch count of the season. He limited the damage to four hits and two runs over 5.0 IP and turned a 3-2 lead over to Scott Effross, who has been automatic for the Hoosiers out of the bullpen and was again on Saturday.
Long Beach recorded just one hit off of Effross, who turned in a 4-inning save that included five strikeouts.
The Hoosier offense got going with a Craig Dedelow solo home run in the 2nd. Dedelow added another RBI in the 4th on a SAC fly to the warning track to tie the game, and Indiana gained the lead in the 5th and never looked back.
A 2-RBI knock by Dedelow in the 8th broke the game open, and the Hoosiers added two more to make it 7-2 heading into the 9th, where Effross turned in his 3rd perfect inning of the night. In all, Indiana had 11 hits and four runs off of Chris Mathewson, who came into the game with a 1.93 ERA, in 8+ IP.
Manager Chris Lemonis was happy with the fire he saw out of his team on Saturday. "I felt like we competed tonight," he said. "That's what was disappointing last night. We had an inning there where it just became noncompetitive"
Lemonis will hope to see that again on Mother's Day when the Hoosiers bust out pink jersey's in support of breast cancer awareness. The game is of utmost importance for Indiana, who, despite winning on Saturday, dropped another spot in the RPI to 54th.
Sunday, the Hoosiers will send Caleb Baragar to the bump.
Around the B1G Ten
Maryland and Ohio State have split the first two games of their series in College Park, meaning Ohio State is one win away and Maryland is two wins away from pulling far enough away to remain ahead of Indiana in the conference standings. Michigan and Northwestern have also split their first two games. If Northwestern beats Michigan on Sunday, Indiana would pass Michigan in win % with a sweep of Ohio State next weekend. Nebraska is up 1-0 on Purdue this weekend, and tied with Indiana for 7th in the Big Ten. And finally, Minnesota has lost both games they've already played with Iowa, dropping them 2.5 games behind Indiana and Nebraska for 8th-place, the final spot in the tournament.
Indiana's magic number for qualifying for the Big Ten tournament is 2. (The magic number includes Indiana's Big Ten wins and Minnesota's Big Ten losses.)