IU manager Chris Lemonis leaned on his sophomore reliever to strike out one of the best batters in the country.
Facing Louisville’s slugger Brendan McKay, sophomore pitcher Tim Herrin came in for IU with the game in the balance for the Hoosiers. With two outs in the top of the eighth inning and IU nursing a one run lead, Herrin struck out McKay.
Herrin and the rest of IU’s pitching staff helped the Hoosiers upset No. 2 Louisville 4-3 on Tuesday at Bart Kaufman Field.
Coming into Tuesday, Louisville had won 15 consecutive games and boasted one of the top offenses in the nation. IU’s pitching helped cool off the Cardinals, with Louisville only managing five hits the entire game.
Even with IU stymying Louisville, the Cardinals had a chance to get back in the game with McKay at the plate in the eighth.
He came into the game with 15 home runs and is widely considered to be in contention for the first pick in the upcoming MLB Draft.
Herrin had no trouble with McKay.
“We just went purely off numbers right there and Timmy made some really good pitches,” Lemonis said. “Those two sliders were really good because that guy doesn’t swing out of the zone very much.”
Herrin said he knew he was one of the best players in the country, but that didn’t faze him.
“As a pitcher, you’ve got to have a little bit of arrogance to yourself to think that you’re better,” Herrin said. “Even if you’re not, you can still beat anybody.”
He was part of a bullpen that didn’t allow Louisville’s potent offense back in the game.
Lemonis talked about how the bullpen had hurt the Hoosiers earlier in the season, but had been rounding into form as the postseason approaches.
“They’ve been really good of late,” Lemonis said. “We have some pitchers really making some strides. Hopefully for the postseason that really helps because those last three or four guys, they hit spots all night long in a big environment against a great team.”
IU scored runs only in the second inning, but those four would be enough.
Freshman first baseman Matt Gorski got the scoring started for IU, doubling down the left field line. His double scored both junior right fielder Logan Sowers and senior center fielder Craig Dedelow.
Gorski came around to score on a Ryan Fineman double. Fineman would score on an error later in the second.
Louisville’s sophomore left fielder Ryan Stowers blasted a home run in the third inning to get the Cardinals on the scoreboard. When IU came to bat in the fourth inning, Stowers made a multi-run saving catch on the warning track
Junior pitcher Kade Krysko only needed a few pitches to get out of a huge jam for IU in the seventh inning.
Fineman gunned down Louisville’s freshman infielder Tyler Fitzgerald on a double steal.
“That was a huge play in the game,” Lemonis said. “We gave our shirt away tonight to Kade Krysko because I thought that inning was the turning point in the ball game. I thought that was where they usually take advantage of somebody. Ryan put that ball right on the money.”
Krysko proceeded to strike out senior outfielder Logan Taylor.
Matt Lloyd finished off the game for the Hoosiers, helping IU pick up a huge resume boosting victory heading into its final Big Ten series of the season at Ohio State.
“It was really big for us,” Herrin said. “Obviously, it’s really big for our RPI, which took a hit this past weekend, but that’ll definitely get back up. It’s really just good momentum booster going into our final Big Ten weekend and tournament next week.”
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