After moving from 7th to 3rd in the Big Ten standings over the course of 48 hours, Indiana’s weekend magic ran out on Sunday afternoon as the visitors failed to complete the series sweep, falling to Michigan 12-5.
The Wolverines got on the board early, pounding out four runs in the Bottom of the 1st after Indiana starter Pauly Milto hit two of the first four batters and walked the other two. A wild pitch, a groundout, and a single gave the Wolverine three more runs to take a 4-0 lead on just one hit.
Indiana showed signs of life in the Top of the 3rd after Jeremy Houston singled on the first pitch of the inning and Laren Eustace was plunked on the next pitch. After Tony Butler laid down a bunt to move the runners to second and third and Craig Dedelow struck out, Luke Miller came through with a shot down the right field line to score two. Then Logan Sowers chopped one up the middle to score Miller and bring the Hoosiers within one.
But in the Bottom of the 5th, Milto surrendered a solo shot to the leadoff man after retiring 13 straight batters. Then he gave up a single to the next hitter, forcing Chris Lemonis to go to his bullpen. Michigan would get two more runs with BJ Sabol on the mound and Tim Herrin couldn’t clean up Sabol’s mess without letting two more cross the plate, giving Michigan a 9-3l lead at the end of the inning.
Miller continued his hot hitting in the Top of the 8th with a lined shot that sailed over the wall in left center to make it 9-4, but Michigan added three more off of freshman Brad Littleton in the Bottom of the 8th.
The Hoosiers would get one back in the Top of the 9th, but it was far too little and way too late.
Still, though, it was a big weekend for Indiana, who won their second consecutive series against a quality opponent challenging for the Big Ten title. They moved up one spot in the Big Ten standings and are 1.5 games ahead of 8th place (the Top 8 teams qualify for the Big Ten Tournament in Bloomington), but will need help if they are to move up further in the standings. They have already played four (Minnesota, Nebraska, Michigan, and Purdue) of the five teams ahead of them.
Next weekend will provide Indiana (21-16-2, 8-6-1) with a huge opportunity to make up ground in the league or perhaps draw even in the loss column with the conference leader as they face Maryland (28-11, 12-3) at Bart Kaufman Field. First, though, they’ll take on the Ball State Cardinals at Victory Field in Indianapolis on Tuesday.