When IU is consistently hitting the long ball, it’s a scary sight for opposing teams.
Take Maryland, for example. Last weekend, the Terrapins shut out the Hoosiers in game one of the series. But IU tore the cover off the ball in the final two games.
The ball flew to left field.
The Hoosiers scored 39 runs and hit 13 home runs to take the series and bring momentum into a midweek game against Head Coach Jeff Mercer’s former team, Wright State University.
The home runs continued into Wednesday's game against Wright State, but the winning didn’t. The Raiders took a 15-4 win, despite giving up three home runs to the nation’s top home run-hitting team.
“You don’t just get to club 15 home runs and win 20-1, it doesn’t happen very often,” Mercer said. “You have to be excellent, and you have to live to the standard and work to the standard every day in every part of the game or you get punched in the mouth.”
IU, now 17-11 overall, lost its two leading home run hitters in Luke Miller and Logan Sowers last offseason to the MLB Draft.
The Hoosiers have had no problem filling their shoes.
Sophomore infielder Cole Barr ranks in the top-20 in the nation with his 11 home runs this season. Senior utility player Matt Lloyd has already matched his home run total from last season with nine.
Junior outfielder Matt Gorski has lived up to high expectations with eight on the season. Freshman outfielder Grant Richardson has been on a tear since earning a starting role and has hit six home runs this season.
Sophomore infielder Drew Ashley came on the Indiana Daily Student podcast Baseline Banter this week to talk about the offensive success.
“It’s just a bunch of guys working really hard in every aspect of the game,” Ashley said. “When you’ve got a whole lineup of guys that put a great swing on the ball every time, or a majority of the time, then you have results like we do.”
Mercer said the way the team has approached hitting home runs is how each player needs to approach other parts of the game.
“As we’ve continued to buy in and understand how to run a real offense, from the beginning of the season to now, we’ve gotten far better,” Mercer said. “We just have to do that in everything — the way we throw fast balls for a strike, the way we take care of the ball, the way we value the baseball on defense.”
IU will look to bounce back from the loss with a weekend series at home against Penn State. The Hoosiers are 9-2 at home and have hit 24 of their 55 home runs in Bloomington.