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Indiana falls big to Minnesota in series opener

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The Golden Gophers used a five-run 5th inning to break the game open

Louisiana Tech v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images

Indiana knew it was going to have a challenge this weekend when they faced Minnesota, who has been the best team in the Big Ten so far this season; however, its hard to imagine anyone thought that the Gophers would deliver the 11-0 beatdown that was laid on the Hoosiers on Friday night.

Minnesota came out firing as Alex Boxwell greeted Hoosier starter Jonathon Stiever by promptly working a long at bat before launching a leadoff home run that barely got past Indiana left fielder Alex Krupa’s outstretched arm. Terrin Vavra doubled and scored on a Toby Hanson base hit to give the Gophers a 2-0 lead that would not be relinquished.

Indiana had it’s best chance to score in the bottom of the first when Matt Gorski had a one-out single and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Gorski then tried to steal third, but Luke Miller lined out to Luke Peterson at second who promptly stepped on the base to double up Gorski and end the inning.

The Gophers had chances to extend their lead over the next three innings, but through the first four innings Minnesota was only 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, keeping the Hoosiers in the ballgame for the time being.

Minnesota broke the game open in the top of the fifth as the first seven Golden Gophers reached base. The frame was highlighted by a pair of home runs: a Varva solo shot and a Matt Stemper three-run bomb to give the Gophers a commanding 7-0 lead. A Jordan Kozicky double finally put the nail in the coffin on Stiever’s night, as he gave up seven earned runs on 13 hits in just 4.1 innings.

Meanwhile, the Hoosier offense looked off all night against Minnesota starter Lucas Gilbreath. After the Gorski single in the first, Indiana’s only other hit came in the 3rd inning on a Jeremy Houston single, who was promptly caught stealing after reaching base. The move proved costly, as Colby Stratton and Krupa were both hit by pitches, which would have potientially given Indiana a bases loaded situation with just one out. Instead, with runners on first and second with two outs, Gorski struck out swinging to end the inning with no damage done.

Gilbreath settled in after the third, as he only allowed three more baserunners, two hit by pitch and one walk, the rest of his outing. In all, Gilbreath shut out the Hoosiers over 7.2 innings pitched, giving up just two hits, a walk, and four hit batsmen while striking out seven.

The Gophers added four more insurance runs highlighted by a three-run seventh to win easily 11-0, outhitting Indiana 20-2 to remain perfect in Big Ten play at 7-0.

For Indiana (17-14-2, 4-5-1 Big Ten), it’s slide in Big Ten play has continued. The Hoosiers are just 1-5-1 in their last seven Big Ten games and have fallen under .500 in conference play for the season.

The Hoosiers will hope to get back on track against Minnesota (21-8, 7-0 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05pm.