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Indiana takes a pair from Michigan State: Three Things

The Hoosiers split a Sunday doubleheader to take sole possession of first place in the Big Ten

Outfielders Matt Gorski (center), Grant Richardson (right), and Elijah Dunham (left) gather as a new pitcher warms up during a game against Kent State on March 27, 2019. The three were key contributors to IU’s series win over Michigan State.
Auston Matricardi

Over the weekend Indiana traveled to East Lansing for a three-game series against Michigan State and came home with a pair of wins.

Friday night saw the Hoosiers take a win in a big way. The offense was firing on all cylinders for IU, putting up 13 runs to beat the Spartans by nine. Starter Pauly Milto went seven innings for the Hoosiers, giving up four runs and striking out seven.

Due to weather game two of the series was moved to Sunday as a part of a doubleheader. The Hoosiers took a three-run lead into the bottom of the seventh and then the wheels fell off. Michigan State strung together hit after hit to hang five runs on relievers Tommy Sommer and Connor Manous. After the collapse IU couldn’t mount a comeback and ended up suffering its worst loss of the season 5-3.

After the loss, IU recovered almost immediately in game two. A leadoff double followed by a Matt Gorski home run gave the Hoosiers a 2-0 lead and they never looked back. A handful of homers mixed in with strong offensive outings from Matt Lloyd and Elijah Dunham led to an 11-2 win to give IU the series.

Three Things

1. Matt Gorski

Indiana’s star centerfielder put on a show against Michigan State. The junior went 7-13 for the weekend with a home run, a pair of doubles, and four runs batted in. He also drew three walks and stole a base. Following this performance he was named the Big Ten Player of the Week, receiving the honor for the second time this season

2. Postseason Resume

Winning a series typically leaves a team feeling good, but this wasn’t a typical series. Michigan State is—as we noted in our preview—a bad baseball team. They’re the lowest RPI team the Hoosiers will face this year other than Butler and losing a game to the Spartans had and will continue to have a negative effect on IU’s postseason resume. Following the series Indiana’s RPI ranking dropped several spots. After sitting as high as 21st in the nation following the Ball State game the Hoosiers have fallen to 27th.

The loss also stopped Indiana from capitalizing on a chance to put some distance between itself and Nebraska in the Big Ten title race. The Cornhuskers lost two of three to Iowa over the weekend which allowed the Hoosiers to take sole lead in the conference title race by a half-game advantage, but that advantage could’ve been a game-and-a-half. This could come back to bite IU down the stretch as the schedule gets tougher with series against opponents like Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois lined up.

3. Back in the Polls

Despite picking up their worst loss of the season on Sunday the Hoosiers crept into the back end of the national polls on Monday. IU is ranked 23rd, 24th, and 25th by D1Baseball, Perfect Game, and Baseball America respectively. This is the first time that the Hoosiers have been ranked in any of the polls this season.

What’s Next?

On Tuesday Indiana will see a familiar foe. Just one week after housing Ball State in Bloomington the Hoosiers will take on the Cardinals in Indianapolis at Victory Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and the Hoosiers will be going for their ninth straight win over the in-state foe.