For five innings on Tuesday night, the Indiana Hoosiers went toe-to-toe with the No. 5 Louisville Cardinals and took a 2-0 lead into the 6th. But the good guys were simply outclassed over the last four innings, held in check by Louisville's now 11-0 midweek starter, Kade McClure, and two relievers who kept the Hoosiers off the board. Indiana was outscored by nine runs in the last four innings en route to a 9-2 loss.
Jonathan Stiever got another midweek start for Chris Lemonis and was plenty good enough in his 3.2 short innings of work, giving up four hits but keeping the Cardinals off the board. He was spelled for Luke Stephenson in the 4th, and Stephenson picked up where Stiever left off, finishing the 4th and holding Louisville in the 5th after the Hoosiers took the lead in the top half of that inning.
Indiana got a two-out rally going in the 5th when Colby Stratten and Alex Krupa both singled and then Craig Dedelow ripped his second double of the night down the right field line to score both guys in front of him.
But the momentum shifted back to the Cards in the Top of the 6th when Austin Cangelosi singled but then was thrown out at second on a delayed steal. McClure settled in, making quick work of two more to end the Hoosier half. And then the wheels fell off.
Nick Solak singled to start the inning for Louisville and a Brian Wilhite throwing error allowed him to advance to second. A SAC fly and a single later, Louisville was back in it, down just one. But the damage wasn't done. Another single and a double steal (with a blatantly incorrect call at second base) put two Cards in scoring position for Danny Rosenbaum who floated a ball over Alex Krupa's head in left to put Louisville up for good.
Stephenson was yanked for B.J. Sabol, who proceeded to plunk the first two batters he faced before giving up an RBI single that made it 4-2. Then Paul Milto came in to attempt to clean up the mess, but Louisville would get four more before he could end the meltdown on the mound.
Louisville would add one more in the Bottom of the 8th while Indiana would only have one more baserunner all night, thanks to a 9th inning walk.
The 9-2 win improved the Cardinals to 43-10 on the season. Indiana dropped to 31-19 and can now rest assured that nothing but a Big Ten Tournament title will get them into the dance.
The Hoosiers will begin their final Big Ten series on Thursday at Nebraska.