Minnesota and IU each sent out one of the top six Big Ten pitchers in earned run average Friday night at Bart Kaufman Field, it was Minnesota's Max Meyer that out-dueled IU senior Pauly Milto in Minnesota's 7-3 victory.
The night had the making of a pitching duel,and Meyer lived up to the part. The left-handed sophomore went seven innings while striking out 12 over 125 pitches.
“We allowed the emotion of the moment to get to us, “ IU Head Coach Jeff Mercer said. “We chased some pitches down that are never strikes."
Even as the IU offense struggled, junior outfielder Matt Gorski won the first big battle of the night. Gorski drove a fastball in the bottom of the first inning over the right field fence off Meyer to put IU on the board.
Gorski, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, has quickly bounced out of a slump. His grand slam against Ball State University two weeks ago broke the game open. His home run Friday set an early tone that couldn’t be matched by the rest of IU.
In the second inning, Minnesota took advantage of IU mistakes. Senior infielder Cole McDevitt skied a ball to left field that was misplayed by IU sophomore infielder Justin Walker. After a line drive catch and subsequent double play was overturned by the umpires, Minnesota tacked on a run in the second to tie the game.
“They were better than us with two strikes,” Mercer said. “That’s baseball. Unfortunately that happens sometime.”
IU got the lead back in the fourth inning when sophomore infielder Cole Barr drove in junior infielder Scotty Bradley. It would be the last time IU led in the ballgame.
Minnesota grabbed three runs in the top of the fifth as Milto’s pitch count continued to rise. Milto went seven-plus innings, but a rough eighth inning chased him from the game after allowing seven runs.
Sophomore pitcher Braden Scott and freshman pitcher Matt Litwicki did a good job at limiting the damage but IU’s 7-2 deficit was too much. Junior infielder Scotty Bradley cut into it with an eighth inning home run to right field.
IU’s loss was its third series opening loss in conference play and dropped IU to 28-14 overall and 9-4 in the Big Ten.
IU junior pitcher Tanner Gordon will get the ball Saturday at 12:05 p.m.