There weren’t going to be any midweek games this season, but an April rainout with Illinois left Indiana scrambling to coordinate a makeup.
IU finally got the game in on Tuesday — it just didn’t get the result it wanted. Or, frankly, needed. A solo home run by Illinois’ Taylor Jackson in the top of the 10th inning sent the Hoosiers to a 3-2 loss at Bart Kaufman Field, marking the program’s fourth defeat in six games.
Here are Three Things from a bad, bad loss in Bloomington:
Hoosiers had their chances
The tying run stood on second base when IU pinch hitter Jake Skrine struck out swinging to end the ballgame — a fitting finish on an afternoon when the Hoosiers repeatedly failed to produce with runners on base.
Indiana ended up going hitless in 10 chances with Hoosiers in scoring position, plating just the two runs on a third-inning Morgan Colopy double that scored Kip Fougerousse from first base, and a fourth-inning RBI sacrifice fly courtesy of Grant Richardson. It was particularly frustrating on a day when the Hoosiers weren’t exactly facing the college pitching equivalent of the 1971 Orioles. Only one of the seven Illini hurlers who took the mound on Tuesday has an ERA under 8.00 this year.
IU tried to get by with a different cast of characters in the lineup — neither Paul Toetz nor Collin Hopkins saw the field — but it still couldn’t find traction in the box. Not only did the Hoosiers whiff with runners on base, they struck out a total of 15 times. Yikes.
The pitching was pretty, pretty good
IU swingmen Ty Bothwell and John Modugno each worked three innings to get the Hoosiers into the latter innings. Grant Macciocchi took it from there, shutting out the Illini over innings seven, eight, and nine.
Altogether, it was fine work from all three — and a shame it went to waste.
Bothwell struck out seven and allowed two unearned runs in the top of the second after a fielding error by shortstop Jeremy Houston. Modugno and Macciocchi, meanwhile, produced relief efforts that were near carbon copies of one another. Modugno threw 23 of his 36 pitches for strikes, striking out four and walking one across three no-hit innings, while Macciocchi threw 24 of his 33 pitches for strikes, striking out four, walking one and yielding one hit over his three innings. It was all good to see.
On the back end, Reese Sharp sandwiched a pair of punchouts around the game-winning home run he yielded to Jackson. The blast was an unfortunate development for Sharp, who has otherwise put together a nice season out of the bullpen. The home run was just the second run he’s allowed in 9.1 innings this spring.
A major missed opportunity
The loss knocks Indiana into third place in the Big Ten standings, a game and a half behind first-place Nebraska. The Hoosiers will see the Cornhuskers soon enough, hosting their pals from Lincoln in a split, four-game pod with Ohio State this weekend.
But man, this one hurts.
Really, the Hoosiers entered the week realistically needing a 4-1 showing to feel good about the five-game homestand. Maybe it’ll still work out that way. But after playing like that in arguably the most winnable game of the homestand, it’s fair to start worrying about the direction this team is headed with seven games remaining on the regular season schedule.
IU’s first game of the pod will be Friday at 8 p.m. against Nebraska.