With losses in seven of their last 10 games entering the final weekend of the season, it felt like the Hoosiers needed a series win at Maryland to feel good about their NCAA Tournament resume approaching Selection Monday.
Welp, they didn’t get it.
The Terps’ doubleheader sweep on Saturday dealt another critical blow to IU’s postseason hopes — and this one may have been the knockout punch the Hoosiers were desperately hoping to avoid.
Let’s talk it through. Here are Three Things:
It feels like this is the end
That’s it. The regular season is over and Indiana has finished its run through an unprecedented conference-only schedule with a 26-18 record. And, at this point, it sure doesn’t feel like IU’s resume is worthy of an at-large bid.
Of course, we’ll find out for sure during the NCAA Tournament selection show on Monday at noon Eastern on ESPN2. But dropping both ends of the Saturday double dip — 4-3 in 10 innings in the opener and 5-2 in the capper — seemed to kick the Hoosiers out of the conversation. Both Baseball America and D1Baseball.com had IU projected as a No. 3 seed on Thursday, but by Sunday the Hoosiers were nowhere to be found in the field of 64 forecasted at either outlet. Heck, Baseball America had Michigan grouped among the First Four Out on Sunday — the same Wolverines who helped send IU into its spiral two weekends ago. So, yeah, you can see which direction things are trending for the Hoosiers.
Saturday was another mess at the plate for IU, which went just 2-for-11 with runners on base in the opener then failed to produce its first hit until the top of the seventh inning in Game 2. Woof. On the mound, McCade Brown struggled in the second contest, issuing eight walks in just three innings of work. The good news — I guess? — was that he was charged for only two runs, but it was far from the type of performance the Hoosiers needed with their backs against the wall.
We’ll still be tuning into the selection show just in case, but it’s hard to imagine that IU gets bailed out with a bid after dropping eight of the final 11 games of the season.
Jordan Fucci helped IU salvage the finale
From the No. 7 slot in the lineup, the Indiana designated hitter delivered not once but twice in the Hoosiers’ 7-3 win on Sunday afternoon. Fucci broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth with a two-run homer to left field, then added a solo home run in the top of the seventh as IU went about adding insurance in its season-ending victory.
Fucci, who entered the final game in a 2-for-20 spell, finished with three hits for his first multi-hit showing since March 28. For the series, Fucci reached base seven times after drawing four walks between both games of the doubleheader.
As a team, IU posted 14 hits — its highest hit total since the Hoosiers swung for 16 on May 2 against Iowa. Drew Ashley, Kip Fougerousse and Morgan Colopy all finished with two hits, while Jeremy Houston, Grant Richardson, Cole Barr, Paul Toetz and Collin Hopkins each tallied one apiece.
All-Big Ten honorees recognized
Eight Hoosiers received postseason honors from the conference on Sunday, highlighted by Richardson’s selection to the all-league first team. Richardson had a terrific year for IU, leading the team in average (.320), hits (55) and steals (11). He also posted a team-high 19 multi-hit games while smacking nine doubles, seven homers, two triples and 33 RBI this spring.
Here’s the full list of all-conference selections from IU:
OF Grant Richardson
RHP Gabe Bierman
RHP McCade Brown
INF Cole Barr
INF Paul Toetz
OF Morgan Colopy
RHP John Modugno
C Collin Hopkins