It took six tries, but Indiana finally scored a victory over Ohio State in the final regular season meeting between the two clubs.
In doing so, the Hoosiers ended their season-long-tying — and potentially season-crippling — five-game skid, bouncing back from Sunday’s 3-1 loss with a 2-0 victory to cap the four-game Bloomington pod on Monday night.
Here are Three Things from the two-game set against the Buckeyes:
Boy oh boy, that was a much-needed win
One of the most frustrating parts about Indiana’s five-game skid was that the Hoosiers were right there in most of the matchups, dropping each of the final four games of the losing streak by three runs or fewer. So there had to be some measure of relief inside the IU clubhouse Monday to (A) finally get a win and (B) emerge victorious from another close ballgame.
John Modugno, Ty Bothwell and Grant Macciocchi combined to hold the Buckeyes to just two hits over nine shutout innings (more on that in a moment), while Cole Barr (fielder’s choice) and Paul Toetz (single) drove in runs to help the Hoosiers claim the result they so badly needed.
This was a failure of a homestand that put the Hoosiers on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament — an unfortunate turn of events for a team that was projected as a two-seed close to home only a couple of weeks ago. After Sunday’s action, D1Baseball.com still had IU in the field, albeit as one of the last five teams in the tournament. Clearly, IU still has some work to do, making next weekend’s trip to Maryland a must-win series. Salvaging the final game against Ohio State, at least, helps Indiana keep its postseason hopes alive for now.
And we’ll see what happens in College Park in the coming days.
Hoosier hitters swung and missed in the opener
After Drew Ashley — the second IU batter to step to the plate on Sunday evening — drove in Jeremy Houston with an RBI single in the bottom of the first, the Hoosiers didn’t score again the rest of the night. And it’s not like they didn’t have their chances to do so. Look no further than that first frame of the game when Toetz and Morgan Colopy struck out to end the inning and strand Ashley and Barr in scoring position. In the ninth inning, Kip Fougerousse struck out with runners on the corners to end the ballgame. In between, the Hoosiers whiffed on a few more opportunities to add to the run column.
For the game, IU picked up seven hits and stranded six runners, going just 3-for-13 with runners on base and 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
The pitching was excellent
Justin Parker’s pitchers did fantastic work on the mound against Ohio State, especially during Monday’s 3-0 combined shutout. Over the final 13 innings of the two-game set, Hoosier hurlers held the Buckeyes scoreless on four hits with 12 strikeouts and zero (!) walks. That’s very good! Just as encouraging, 114 of the 159 pitches thrown during that span were tossed for strikes.
Gabe Bierman, Nathan Stahl and Reese Sharp worked well together on Sunday, then Modugno, Bothwell and Macciocchi followed up with one of the better combined performances of the season — one that added up to IU’s fourth shutout victory of the campaign.
Macciocchi made three appearances on the homestand, striking out 13 batters in 10 scoreless innings. In fact, Macciocchi has yet to allow an unearned run in six relief outings since April 21.