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Indiana sweeps Iowa to start Big Ten play

The Hoosiers dominated the three-game set to put themselves atop the Big Ten standings.

Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Hoosiers over the weekend. They won the three games by a combined score of 23-4.
Auston Matricardi

Jeff Mercer’s Big Ten debut went as well as could ever be expected over the weekend at Bart Kaufman Field as his Hoosiers swept the Iowa Hawkeyes.

On Friday night, Indiana ace Pauly Milto got the Hoosiers off on the right foot, retiring Hawkeyes with ease through the first eight innings. After a Cole Barr home run in the 2nd inning and a Matt Gorski run off of a Matt Lloyd single in the 5th, Milto took a 2-0 lead into the 9th, looking to finish off the complete game shutout. But Milto found himself in trouble after two quick singles and a hit batter, then a passed ball and SAC fly allowed Iowa to tie the game at two.

Connor Manous was able to get out of the jam with the ballgame still tied, and the Hoosier offense pulled it out in the bottom of the 9th. Barr got things going with a one-out walk and then stole second base. With two outs, Logan Kaletha beat out a slow-rolling grounder and Barr, with some of the best baserunning the Indiana program has seen in years, was able to score from second against a sleep Iowa defense for the 3-2 walk-off win.

Saturday and Sunday were different stories with the same results. Tanner Gordon struck out 12 in seven innings of three-hit baseball to get the win in a 13-1 rout for the Hoosiers. Offensively, freshman standout Grant Richardson drove in four runs on three hits, Gorski added three RBIs of his own, including a two-run homer that scored Richardson. Every Hoosier who stepped to the plate on Saturday recorded a hit except for Barr, who drew three walks and scored a run.

Sunday, the Hoosiers pitched by committee and held Iowa to a single run again. Andrew Saalfrank, Gabe Bierman, Cal Krueger, Manous, and Lloyd combined for nine strikeouts while holding the Hawkeyes to just nine hits in the contest. In the 7-1 win, Indiana’s offense was once again led by Richardson, who was 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.

Thanks to the sweep, the Hoosiers find themselves tied atop the Big Ten standings after the first week of conference play with Nebraska and Minnesota, who swept Michigan State and Penn State, respectively.

Next up, the Hoosiers (15-8, 3-0), winners of eight in a row, will host Kent State in a midweek contest and then head to College Park to face Maryland (12-11, 0-0) in a three-game set over the weekend.