On a weird weekend where Indiana played Indiana State in a split three game series (one in Terre Haute and two in Bloomington), the Hoosiers overcame a rough outing for their ace and an early deficit on Friday, and another hole on Sunday to take two of three from the neighboring Sycamores.
Kyle Hart picked up a win on Friday night in Terre Haute to improve to 5-1 on the season, but not before giving up five runs (three earned) in the first three innings. But Hart was able to settle down in the 4th and 5th, and Paul Milto, Thomas Belcher, and Jake Kelzer were able to shut the Sycamores down the rest of the way. In the Top of the 6th, Austin Cangelosi and Scotty Bradley were able to drive in one run each and give Indiana a 6-5 lead that they would extend in the 7th before winning 7-5.
Saturday was a sign of a bad habit. Through 22 games, the Hoosiers are averaging 5.95 runs per game. But in Evan Bell's six starts, Indiana has scored two, two, four, one, one, and one, respectively. That's why Bell is 0-2 despite a 2.70 ERA. Against Indiana State, Bell turned in another quality start (6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), but the bullpen allowed four runs in the final three innings and the offense struggled as they have all season with Bell on the bump, and the Sycamores won 5-1.
Those following Sunday's rubber match probably noticed the return of sophomore slugger Logan Sowers to the lineup this weekend, after he'd missed 12 straight games with a wrist injury. Indiana State noticed too. The Sycamores scored three runs off Caleb Baragar on Sunday, and each time they put a number on the board, Logan Sowers dropped a bomb over the outfield wall to tie the game, first with a solo shot in the 4th, then with a two-run blast in the 7th. Then Tony Butler, the junior infielder playing his first season with the Hoosiers, made his biggest impression yet when he gave the Hoosiers a walkoff win with a two-run homer in the 10th, for a 5-3 final.
1. A (potentially) bad break for Cangy. In the midst of a tear at the plate that has seen his batting average jump about 100 points in a couple weeks, Cangelosi was pulled from Saturday's game and then wore a knee brace on Sunday and did not play. Chris Lemonis said after the game that his first baseman would be seeing a doctor today. While Scotty Bradley has proven to be more than capable in the field and at the dish, the last thing this team needed was to lose one of its two hottest bats with Big Ten play just four days away.
2. Huge opportunity at home. The Hoosiers host Cincinnati and Evansville on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, this week, and two midweek wins could be huge for the home team. With Rutgers and Purdue on the horizon, two wins this week could conceivably lead this club that started 3-7 to be 21-10 and 20-11 (one midweek game next week, at Cincinnati) after two weeks of Big Ten play.
3. Big Ten Roundup. For ten conference clubs, league play began this past weekend and unsurprisingly, Rutger and Purdue were swept. (Indiana's first six Big Ten games are with Rutger and Purdue.) Perhaps most surprising was that a week after traveling to Fullerton, CA, and taking two of three from the Titans, Maryland dropped two of three to Iowa, including the series opener in which the Hawkeyes beat up Mike Shawaryn for five runs in five innings. Here's the full Big Ten standings after one weekend:
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