Raise your hand if you saw this coming. Anyone? No one? Not a single soul? Yeah, that’s what we thought.
It was a really bad weekend for Indiana’s baseball program, which suffered its first sweep since 2019 (Tennessee) and its first conference sweep since 2018 (Minnesota) in losing all four games at Ohio State.
IU fell 3-2 on Friday, 6-0 in Game 1 of Saturday’s twinbill, 5-2 in Game 2 of the doubleheader and 4-3 in Sunday’s finale.
Let’s take a closer look.
It was a tough weekend at the plate
Heh. That might be an understatement.
Hoosier hitters struck out 46 times and combined to go 3-for-30 with runners in scoring position across the four-game set. That’s not going to win you many ballgames, and it’s even more frustrating when you consider that IU was on the wrong end of a couple of one-run contests during its trip to C-Bus.
Part of the problem was that the Hoosiers had a hard time squaring up against Ohio State’s left-handers, including stud southpaw Seth Lonsway. The MLB Draft prospect struck out 17 IU batters, while walking only one and yielding two hits in his seven-inning shutout during Saturday’s doubleheader. For the weekend, IU managed only six hits in 51 at-bats against lefties.
Oh, and Drew Ashley’s streak of games on base ended at 39 in a row when he went 0-for-4 in Friday’s opener. Pain.
Bierman nearly salvaged a win on Sunday
Indiana’s starting pitching wasn’t very good this weekend — that is, until Sunday. Gabe Bierman turned in his finest outing of the season, holding Ohio State to just one unearned run on three hits over seven innings. He struck out five and walked just two in a much-needed quality start, giving the Hoosiers a chance to scrape out a victory before heading back to Bloomington.
Bierman left with the game tied at 1-1 before the Hoosiers scored twice in the top of the eighth — an error and an RBI double by Ashley gave IU a 3-1 advantage. But the Buckeyes answered in the bottom half with two runs of their own against IU reliever John Modugno before walking off on a Zach Dezenzo single in the ninth.
It was a frustrating ending to a frustrating weekend, made even more difficult to stomach by the fact that IU squandered a terrific performance from Bierman.
It’s hard to recall a weekend where IU baseball was this sloppy
It feels like forever ago when IU had only two errors across its first 11 games. That’s because, over their past nine games, the Hoosiers have committed 17 miscues in the field, including eight this weekend. In the seven-inning Saturday game, IU had more errors (four) than base hits (two). Yikes.
But it wasn’t just bad fielding that undercut IU’s chances to win baseball games. As noted above, every facet of Indiana’s approach in Columbus was bad. And there’s more bad news with the bigger picture, too.
The season isn’t over, but man, oh man, the Hoosiers are going to have to tighten it up over the next two months and beat good teams when they get the opportunity to do so. Only nine of IU’s final 26 games will come against the three teams — Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio State — above it in the Big Ten standings. Outside of those matchups, it’s going to take resurgent, convincing play against the more pedestrian teams in the league to get Indiana in good position for the postseason.