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Three Things: Hoosiers get the sweep they needed

Indiana took all three games against Minnesota this weekend, leaving little doubt in the process

Auston Matricardi

With last-place Minnesota in town, Indiana needed a three-game sweep — for positioning, for pride, for a lot of reasons.

After three convincing finishes at Bart Kaufman Field, a weekend sweep of the Golden Gophers is exactly what the Hoosiers got. IU took the series with a 9-3 win in Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader, a 7-1 victory in Game 2, and a no-doubt-about-it, 23-1 triumph in the finale.

Here are Three Things:

Oh my god, the offense

That Sunday score catches your eye, doesn’t it? Well, it should. The Hoosiers’ 23 runs were their most since piling 27 against Butler on March 23, 2016. But Sunday wasn’t the only game where IU hitters feasted upon the worst pitching staff in the league. The Hoosiers posted 19 hits between both games of the double-dip before tallying 17 in the final game of the weekend. Over the course of the three-game set, IU hit:

  • 12 extra-base knocks
  • three home runs
  • .458 to start an inning
  • .400 with runners in scoring position
  • .394 with two outs
  • .350 against left-handers

It was, quite simply, a dominant weekend at the dish. On an individual level, left fielder Drew Ashley went 5-for-12 in the series with six RBI and five runs scored out of the leadoff slot, reaching base multiple times across all three games. Right fielder Morgan Colopy collected seven hits in 13 at-bats while driving in eight runs on the weekend, including a three-run blast in the final game. And catcher Collin Hopkins recorded back-to-back three-hit games over the final two matchups. Of Hopkins’ six hits across Game 2 and Game 3, five were doubles.

These are just a few of the highlights from the box score this weekend, as just about every Hoosier who stepped to the plate had a moment worth celebrating against Minnesota pitching.

As a team, the Hoosiers needed exactly this type of convincing output with the conference cellar-dwellers paying a visit to Bloomington. The sweep puts second-place IU on a four-game winning streak heading into next weekend’s big series against fourth-place Iowa at Bart Kaufman Field.

McCade Brown didn’t make his usual Game 2 start

There have been times this season where the sophomore right-hander has dazzled in his role as IU’s Saturday starter. But because of this weekend’s funky schedule, Brown didn’t get a chance to shine against the Gophers.

A rainy Saturday forecast forced Indiana to move up the second game of the series to Friday as part of a weekend-opening twinbill. Given the change, IU coach Jeff Mercer said he didn’t want to use Brown on one less day of rest.

“McCade is fine,” Mercer said. “There’s no issue at all.”

With Brown getting the weekend off, IU turned the second contest into a bullpen game. John Modugno performed well in the unfamiliar starting role, holding Minnesota scoreless on three hits over 4.2 innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Using a combination of sinkers, cutters and sliders, Modugno threw 42 of his 72 pitches for strikes.

Braden Scott received the win after retiring the only batter he faced, and Ty Bothwell and Matt Litwicki each worked scoreless frames. Nathan Stahl allowed a solo homer during two innings of work.

Grant Macciocchi pitched!

Before Game 1 of the doubleheader, Macciocchi hadn’t stepped on a mound since May 16, 2019. That was when he was still a member of Kentucky’s program. Billed as a two-way player upon his arrival in Bloomington, Macciocchi made his long-awaited pitching debut this weekend.

And the results were good!

Macciocchi relieved Tommy Sommer in the opener and tossed the final 2.1 innings of IU’s 9-3 win. He allowed only one baserunner via a walk during that span of work, while striking out three and throwing 20 of his 33 pitches for strikes.

While playing both ways at Kentucky, Macciocchi worked as both a starter and as a reliever for the Wildcats. The right-hander compiled a 6.75 ERA while yielding 43 hits in 34.2 innings across 11 appearances during the 2019 season. If Friday’s Hoosier pitching debut was any indication, Macciocchi could be poised to add some veteran depth to IU’s bullpen down the stretch.