Before Friday night’s series opener against Michigan, IU baseball scored six or more runs only twice in a Friday game.
Facing the Big Ten leading Michigan Wolverines,the Hoosiers scored six runs in the first four innings.
It was that early offense backed an unflashyyet productive start from senior pitcher Pauly Milto that led IU to a 10-4 win over Michigan.
IU’s offense has struggled against opposing team’s Friday night starters throughout the 2019 season. However, it found immediate success against Michigan junior pitcher Karl Kauffman.
In the top of the first inning, both sophomores Elijah Dunham and Cole Barr drove in runs as IU gave Milto a 2-0 lead before he stepped onto the mound for the first time.
Milto was stoic standing atop the turf pitcher’s mound. The rare Friday run support gave Milto all the cushion he needed as he posted yet another quality start. Milto allowed four runs over six innings while striking out seven Michigan batters. Milto would be the winning pitcher, picking up his seventh victory of the season.
Milto’s sixth strikeout of the game was the 245th of his career at IU, giving him the second most career strikeouts in IU baseball history.
IU’s offense had its best frame in the fourth inning as it added four more runs. Senior Ryan Fineman, sophomore Justin Walker, freshman Grant Richardson and Barr all drove in runs during the inning.
IU added a seventh run in the top of the fifth inning when Dunham doubled to center field driving in senior Matt Lloyd.
Michigan got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring three runs to cut the deficit to four.
IU answered immediately with three runs in the top of the sixth inning, all three coming via Michigan errors.
Milto held the home team to just one run and stranding two runners after loading the bases in the sixth inning. Milto pumped his fist as he walked off the mound following an inning-ending strikeout, the final out of his night.
The Wolverines wouldn't close the gap any further.
IU freshman Gabe Bierman provided IU with three strong innings out of the bullpen, retiring all nine batters he faced. Bierman closed out the game by striking out the final eight Michigan hitters in a row. Bierman would be credited with a save, the first of his college career.
IU finished the game with 10 runs on 12 hits. The Hoosiers lead the nation in home runs hit, yet none of the 12 hits by the team’s lineup went over the outfield wall. Barr’s two RBIs led the offense, while seven Hoosiers had hits in the game. Dunham and Barr each had three.
With the win, IU improved to 32-17 overall and 13-6 in the Big Ten. Heading into Saturday’s game, IU is just 1.5 games behind of Michigan in the Big Ten standings. IU’s win ended Michigan's 13 game winning streak, the longest active streak in the nation at the time.
IU will start junior pitcher Tanner Gordon in Saturday’s game while Michigan will start junior Tommy Henry. Gordon has a 4-4 record with a 3.41 earned run average. Henry is 8-3 with a 2.75 ERA. First pitch is at 2 p.m. from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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