IU baseball was in serious need of an offensive spark Tuesday against University of Cincinnati.
After a three-game sweep at the hands of University of Tennessee last weekend, IU was in a tailspin.
Re-enter junior outfielder Matt Gorski.
Behind the preseason All-American’s 2-5 effort at the plate, IU rolled to a 7-1 win over Cincinnati in the 2019 home opener, improving its record to 3-4 on the season.
“It was awesome to get back in the lineup,” Gorski said. “Off of the bad weekend, to come out and have a lot of people hit the ball really hard, it was great for the team."
Perhaps Gorski’s presence in the lineup is just what IU needed. His first inning home run to left-center field put life into the Hoosiers when they needed it most.
Senior catcher Ryan Fineman and sophomore infielder Cole Barr would join in on the offensive output as well.
In the bottom of the third, Fineman double off the left field wall to score senior infielders Cade Bunnell and Matt Lloyd. Barr would bring around Fineman in the next at-bat with a deep home run to the IU bullpen in left field.
“I’m confident in the adjustments I’ve made all offseason,” Barr said. “Anything I can do to give my teammates some confidence, it feels great.”
IU Coach Jeff Mercer handed freshman right-hander and Bloomington native Alex Franklin the ball for his first career start. Franklin worked up a high pitch count in his two innings of work but settled down to strikeout four while giving up just one run.
Juniors Cal Krueger and Cam Beauchamp gave Mercer solid outings out of the bullpen. The two long relievers combined to go six innings strong, giving up just three hits and zero earned runs.
“Getting them three innings each was huge because you don’t expect to be warming Cal in the second,” Mercer said. “Cam got stronger as he went and that was the thing I was happiest to see. We’ve really worked on that a lot.”
The offense settled down after the first three innings. IU would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth frame off an error and a fielder’s choice to pad the lead for sophomore pitcher Grant Sloan, who shut down Cincinnati in the ninth.
“To come out and get the win in front of the crowd and with this nice weather, it was awesome,” Barr said.
IU will return to action tomorrow as it hosts Butler University in another midweek contest. Freshman Gabe Bierman will have the first pitch at 3 p.m. at Bart Kaufman Field.