IU baseball’s offense has been firing on all cylinders just in time for the conference-heavy part of its schedule.
The Hoosiers improved their record to 26-6 after a 22-1 victory against Northwestern on Sunday.
Not only did the victory mark the first conference sweep for IU this season, but it was the fifth time in nine games that the team has score 10 or more runs.
It was also the most runs IU has scored in a game this season, as well as the most hits with 21.
“I thought we did a great job this weekend of controlling the strike zone,” IU Coach Chris Lemonis said. “That’s something we haven’t done a great job of in my time here. That’s why we’re starting to hit for a better average.”
The victory also extended IU’s win streak to six, and the fourth straight win since sophomore shortstop Jeremy Houston returned to the starting lineup.
Houston was able to record a multi-hit game against Northwestern in each game of the series, after going three-for-four Sunday.
The bottom third of the starting lineup for IU combined to go 6-for-12. The Hoosiers are doing this without one of their best hitters in junior Luke Miller.
“That’s making our team right now,” Lemonis said. “Especially with Luke out, we’ve made it up. You can’t replace Luke with one guy, but I think three or four guys have played better.”
Along with Houston, sophomore first baseman Scotty Bradley has given the IU offense a boost.
Bradley, who has battled for a starting spot most of the season, went two-for-two against Northwestern to improve his batting average to .413.
“I’m seeing it well,” Bradley said. “I’m having fun and trying to stay focused and enjoy the process.”
Freshman Jack Pagliarini, Northwestern’s starter, came into the year throwing a majority of his outs as groundouts.
Although the Hoosiers were able to hit three home runs in the series finale, it was the small-ball that lead the way for IU early on.
IU had six steals while earning 13 walks.
The Hoosiers even got a bunt single from sophomore Matt Gorski in the second inning.
“We knew it was a lot of groundballs,” Lemonis said. “We’ve had a tendency to hit into some double plays, so we were trying to stay out of it.”
On the mound for the Hoosiers was sophomore Cam Beauchamp.
In his fifth start of the season, Beauchamp improved his record to 4-0. He threw five innings while giving up one run and striking out six.
“He’s got such good stuff,” Lemonis said. “He’s learning on the run.”
IU will return to action Tuesday when the team heads to Indianapolis for a neutral-field game against Notre Dame.
The Hoosiers will wear their all-red uniforms, in which the team is 8-0 in. Notre Dame will wear its all-green uniforms in what Lemonis is calling the “Christmas game."
The game will be played at Victory Field, home of the AAA team Indianapolis Indians.
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