IU’s offense led the Big Ten during the regular season with just over seven runs per game. It led the nation in home runs and hit 1.61 home runs per game.
In two games at the Big Ten Baseball Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, IU scored just seven total runs and didn’t hit a single home run.
The lack of success at the plate led to IU’s elimination on the second day of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament. It is the first time since 2016 the Big Ten regular season champion didn’t win a game at the double-elimination tournament.
IU’s lineup eclipsed 600 total strikeouts for the season during a 9-4 loss to Minnesota as it was sent home from TD Ameritrade Park.
The Hoosiers are now 2-8 in their last 10 Big Ten Baseball Tournament games.
Minnesota started sophomore Sam Thoresen, who struck out 11 when he faced IU in Bloomington this season. He picked up where he left off as he struck out six Hoosiers through the first three innings, including a stretch of striking out four straight.
Thoresen’s offense gave him an early lead as it scored one run in the second and one in the third against IU junior pitcher Tanner Gordon.
Two straight walks in the bottom of the fourth started IU’s first rally in either game.
Junior Scotty Bradley drove in IU’s first run of the game with a sacrifice ground out. Sophomore Justin Walker tied the game with a softly hit single to left field, a ball that should have been caught despite being ruled a hit.
IU then took advantage of another Minnesota defensive mistake as a throw attempting to pick off Walker sailed into the outfield, and sophomore Cole Barr scored from third.
However, the Hoosiers were not able to maintain the lead.
Minnesota answered with three runs in the top of the fifth inning. Minnesota junior Jordan Kozicky doubled to drive in a run and tie the game. Both the following two Minnesota hitters recorded hits and drove in a run as it extended the lead to 6-3.
IU would score a run as a result of an error by Minnesota freshman Zach Raabe to cut the deficit to 6-4
IU got no closer. A 1-0 lead against Iowa was the only lead it had in either Big Ten tournament game.
Minnesota again answered back with a solo home run in the top of the seventh. It scored two more runs on a triple in the ninth inning.
Minnesota senior Nick Lackney relieved Thoresen in the fourth inning and shut down the IU lineup. He allowed just one hit over six innings while striking out four.
IU’s offense combined to go 3-31 in the loss to Minnesota. It struck out 10 times and had zero extra base hits compared to nine for Minnesota.
With the loss, IU drops to 36-21 overall this season. The early elimination does give IU its longest break of the 2019 season. The Hoosiers are comfortably in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. IU will learn where it will be headed for regional play during the selection show at noon May 27 broadcast on ESPNU. Regional tournaments begin May 31.
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