During IU’s onslaught of offense in a 10-game win streak before its first home Big Ten series against Nebraska last weekend, the Hoosiers tallied 70 runs and went 8-2.
IU Coach Chris Lemonis left a loss against Evansville on Wednesday searching for better starting pitching, and IU’s fate seemed to be at the hands of its bullpen.
The Nebraska series, however, was completely backwards from what had fueled IU’s hot 8-2 stretch. The offense didn’t score runs, but the pitching staff held down the Cornhuskers.
IU lost two games and tied the finale against its Big Ten foe and in the process lost its first home series since 2015 and third since Bart Kaufman Field was built in 2013. Now IU plays its final game of a 6-game home stand against Ball State on Tuesday.
Against Nebraska, IU’s run production struggled. As a team, IU put together hit totals of 10, five and eight in three games where it scored just five runs combined.
Junior outfielder Logan Sowers had the most productive day at the plate in the series finale Sunday. He went 3-for-5 with an RBI double, which drove in the Hoosiers’ only run in a 1-1 tie. The Hoosiers failed to hit a home run against the Cornhuskers even though they ranked second in the Big Ten in that category before the series.
The strength of the Hoosiers was their starting pitching. Sophomore Jonathan Stiever allowed three runs Friday, junior Brian Hobbie allowed three Saturday, and sophomore Pauly Milto allowed just one in his first start of the season Sunday.
All three tossed quality starts by lasting six innings or more and allowing three earned runs or less, but none of the pitchers got a win.
Before IU takes on Purdue for its sixth road series of the season and its third overall Big Ten series this weekend, it takes on Ball State in its third to last home mid-week matchup of the season.
The Cardinals come into Bloomington with an 8-game losing streak, a team batting average of .234 and a team ERA of 4.04.
Lemonis said he will send sophomore Tim Herrin to the mound for Tuesday’s game. Herrin has pitched in two of IU’s last three mid-week games, against Cincinnati and Evansville. The sophomore combined to throw nine innings and allow seven hits and three runs while walking six batters in those appearances.
IU will try to put together a whole game against Ball State at 6:05 p.m. after struggling to find a balance between offense and defense in recent series.
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