IU Coach Chris Lemonis called it one of his team’s better outings of the season. Junior pitcher Scott Effross said it was the best and most complete game the Hoosiers have played all year.
Senior catcher Brad Hartong collected three hits and three RBI’s to lead IU to a 6-1 win against Michigan State at Bart Kaufman Field Friday night.
The win comes on the heels of IU’s comeback victory over Notre Dame on Tuesday. It also bumps the Hoosiers (23-15, 6-8) back into eighth place in the Big Ten, ahead of Minnesota.
“We know this is a big series, we’re not shying away from that,” Hartong said. “We know we have to be one of the top eight teams in the Big Ten and we know this is a huge weekend. It’s good to get off on the right start. We still control our own destiny.”
The IU offense put up 15 hits, and all nine starters each got at least one hit. The first four hitters all had two or more.
“It feels great, and also just to play really good,” Lemonis said. “Their guy was really good, we beat a good pitcher.”
Lemonis was also high on Hartong’s play.
“He had some big hits just to expand the game,” Lemonis said. “Because that’s a really good offense over there in the other dugout.”
In order to bounce back from his performance against the Spartans last year, Hartong studied the scouting report on how he was pitched and prepared based on that. He said the key for himself was getting in good hitters counts.
“We pitched the ball well, we played great defense, we just played smart solid baseball,” Hartong said.
Junior Kyle Hart started on the mound for IU. He was on a 50-pitch limit, and went 2.2 innings allowing one run on three hits, while striking out four and walking one.
Effross followed Hart, going 4.1 innings without giving up a run. He allowed just one hit, and struck out four and had one walk.
“(Effross) was looking pretty electric tonight,” Hartong said. “His fastball had a lot of life to it, a lot of late run. It was coming in on guys.”
Effross himself said he is fully confident now that he is healthy again.
“I feel great,” Effross said. “My fastball felt as good as it’s ever been tonight.”
Seniors Luke Harrison and Ryan Halstead finished the game for IU.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 2:05 p.m. at Bart Kaufman Field.