Indiana’s bats have officially hit their stride, but last night’s effort from the plate was not enough get past a late surge from Hawaii as the Hoosiers snapped their five game winning streak in a 11-10 loss.
The game opened optimistically with freshman infielder Matt Gorski hitting his first career home run in the Top of the 1st. This would be one of Gorski’s three hits in the game, as he continued to establish himself in the Hoosier lineup.
From there, Indiana expanded its lead after two Hawaii errors and a Tony Butler RBI ground-out put the Hoosiers up 2-0 in the Top of the 2nd.
Hawaii didn’t have to wait much longer to get on the board as the Rainbow Warriors scored four runs in their next two innings. Ethan Lopez tripled to drive in a run in the Bottom of the 2nd, and then four hits in the Bottom of the 3rd sparked a 4-2 lead.
The result of that early Hawaiian offensive outburst was the end of freshman Andrew Saalfrank’s outing. Saalfrank put up three strikeouts while allowing three earned runs.
After Saalfrank, the Hoosiers looked to another freshman in Cal Krueger to calm down the Warriors offense. Krueger did just that by only allowing two hits in his three innings. This would tie Krueger’s longest outing of his career.
With Krueger on the mound, Indiana came climbing back behind a Logan Sowers home run in the fourth and three doubles in the Top of the 5th coming from Alex Krupa, Gorski, and Luke Miller. The result of this offense would be a 5-4 Indiana lead heading into the 8th.
Before heading to the 8th however, Indiana’s pitching staff had to get through a major jam. Junior Brandon Kelley found himself on the mound with the bases loaded and two outs in the Bottom of the 7th. Kelley faced the adversity of the situation with a pivital strike out.
Indiana’s hot bats continued to produce in the eighth as two Hawaii errors, two RBI’s from Craig Dedelow, and an RBI from Tony Butler lifted the Hoosiers lead to 10-4.
The Hoosiers looked to be perfectly set up to continue their five game winning streak. Then, as has been a theme for the season so far, Indiana’s bullpen collapsed in an extraordinary manner.
Brandon Kelley loaded the bases and gave up a run. Then he was replaced by Luke Stephenson who gave up another, and finally Pauly Milto came into the game and gave up three runs off of a two-out single by Alex Fitchett. The runs in the Bottom of the 8th brought Hawaii within one, as Indiana had a 10-9 heading into the final inning.
But in the Bottom of the 9th, Milto balked with a runner on third to tie the game and then Kekai Rios knocked in the winning run with a walk-off RBI single to right field.
Indiana (9-8-1) will have plenty of opportunity to recover having their streak snapped, having a few days off. Then they’ll look to capitalize on a favorable opening series as Big Ten play starts on Friday in Evanston against the Northwestern Wildcats (5-12).