Friday night, Indiana jumped on Florida Atlantic early and showed no signs of letting up. Instead, the Hoosiers put their collective foot on the Owls’ throat and pitched and powered their way to an 8-4 victory.
On the first pitch of the game, Indiana CF Laren Eustace reached base on catcher’s interference. He moved to second when Luke Miller, in just his second plate appearance of the season, walked. Then an all too familiar feeling settled in when Craig Dedelow struck out and Logan Sowers grounded out and it looked like the Hoosiers might come up empty in the 1st inning.
Then last weekend’s best hitters, sophomore catcher Ryan Fineman and freshman catcher Jake Matheny, the designated hitter on Friday night, both singled to score Eustace and Miller and give Indiana an early 2-0 lead.
From there, the Hoosiers never looked back.
After Owls slugger Esteban Puerta homered in the bottom of the first, the Hoosiers pushed their way to a wider lead when Dedelow finally got his season going, hitting a two-run shot in the Top of the 3rd to make it 4-1.
Fineman continued his blistering start with a solo home run in the Top of the 5th, which helped chase Owls start Alex House (5.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R (4 ER)) from the game and get into the FAU bullpen early on Friday night. Then, Austin Cangelosi got into the mix with a solo dinger of his own the next inning.
Miller drove home Tony Butler in the 7th and gave Indiana a 7-1 lead. The Hoosiers tacked on their final run of the night when Eustace singled home Jeremy Houston, who had tripled just an at-bat earlier.
Defensively, the Hoosiers were stout. Jonathan Stiever, who opened the season by shutting down Oregon State in a 1-0 loss, had another masterful performance, going 6.0 IP, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits.
Cal Krueger pitched a hitless 7th and kept FAU scoreless in the 8th. Then JUCO transfer Kade Kryzsko gave up a two-run home run in the Bottom of the 9th before finishing off the ballgame.
Indiana is now poised, having taken the first game and not used any of the its studs in the backend of the bullpen, to take this series from the Owls.
The Hoosiers (3-2) will face FAU (3-1) again tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. ET.