At long last, after five games and eight days of stagnant offense, the Indiana bats finally came to life late in Thursday's elimination game against Nebraska, producing more runs than the club had scored in any game in three weeks. And behind nine quality innings of pitching, it was more than enough to keep the season alive for at least one more day.
Nebraska struck first in the Bottom of the 3rd, but the Hoosiers fought back quickly, scoring two in the Top of the 4th to take their first lead in over a week. The Huskers tied the game in the 6th, but Logan Sowers took the lead back for good in the Top of the 7th with a two-out RBI single that scored Colby Stratten. Ryan Fineman and Luke Miller each singled in order after Sowers and pushed the lead to 4-2. Then in the 8th, Laren Eustace hit a two-run dinger to cap the scoring.
As if you need something to take away from a 6-2 win in an elimination game, perhaps the Hoosiers can take this: On a day when the best offensive producer on the roster, Craig Dedelow, went 0-for-5, nearly every other player in the lineup contributed. Sowers led the way offensively with three hits and that eventual game-winning RBI in the 7th inning. Miller, Fineman, and Austin Cangelosi each added two hits, and Brian Wilhite, Eustace, and Stratten had one a piece.
Caleb Baragar was almost everything the Hoosiers needed as the starter today. He went 5.0+ IP and gave up both Nebraska runs on just two hits, keeping Indiana in the contest and getting the ball to Thomas Belcher. The club probably would've liked to see Baragar go a bit deeper with the potential to play four more games in the next three days still looming, but nonetheless, the win was most important today, and Baragar did all that was required of him.
Belcher allowed just one hit in 2.0 IP of relief, and that hit allowed the second run to score (credited to Baragar), but when Indiana retook the lead in the 7th, Belcher got in line for the win. Jake Kelzer pitched two perfect innings in the 8th and the 9th and secured the 6-2 victory.
Indiana will face the loser of today's Maryland-Michigan State game tomorrow at 4:30 ET in yet another elimination game.