IU baseball began its final home stand 1.5 games behind first-place Nebraska in the Big Ten standings. After falling in three of their four games over the weekend, the Hoosiers are now in fourth place.
Maryland and Michigan are tied for second behind Nebraska, who clinched the Big Ten champion title after beating Ohio State on Sunday.
The weekend began on Friday against Nebraska with junior pitcher Tommy Sommer starting on the hill for the Hoosiers. Sommer went on to take the loss as the Cornhuskers won 8-5.
Nebraska quickly scored four runs in the first two innings, but IU was able to respond in the bottom of the second inning with three runs of their own, aided by a solo home run by sophomore outfielder Grant Richardson.
Senior infielder Jeremy Houston recorded a career-high three hits, plating two of IU’s runs. Sophomore pitcher Grant Macchiocchi also tossed a career-high four innings out of the bullpen, allowing no runs and striking out a career-high six batters.
Sophomore pitcher McCade Brown started on Saturday against Nebraska, pitching for five innings, tossing eight strikeouts and allowing two runs. Brown earned the loss as IU fell 3-1.
In contrast to their 11 hits Friday night, the Hoosiers only managed three against Nebraska’s senior pitcher Chance Hroch, who pitched all nine innings.
Richardson hit his second home run of the weekend in the ninth inning and led the team in hits, going 2-for-4 at the plate. Freshman infielder James Espalin was the only other Hoosier to record a hit Saturday.
Trying to put the losses against Nebraska behind it, IU faced Ohio State on Sunday with sophomore pitcher Gabe Bierman on the mound. Bierman threw 105 pitches in five innings, striking out six and allowing three runs on five hits.
Those three runs would be the only ones the Buckeyes would score, but the Hoosiers only scored one in a 3-1 defeat. Freshmen pitchers Reese Sharp and Nathan Stahl combined to pitch four scoreless innings for the Hoosiers after Bierman’s exit.
IU’s sole run came in the first inning when Houston scored on an error by the Ohio State shortstop on a single from junior outfielder Drew Ashley. Despite the low score, the Buckeyes and Hoosiers both recorded seven hits. The Hoosiers were led by Houston and junior infielder Cole Barr, who each had two hits on the day.
The Hoosiers finally saw a win on Monday against the Buckeyes, snapping their five-game losing streak as they won 2-0. Freshman pitcher John Modugno got the win, throwing four innings and combining with redshirt freshman pitcher Ty Bothwell and Macchiocchi to allow a total of two hits on the night.
Barr came to the plate in the fourth inning with bases loaded and reached on a fielder’s choice, driving in Houston for the Hoosiers’ first run. Freshman infielder Paul Toetz plated IU’s second run in the bottom of the eighth inning with a single through the right side.
Bothwell pitched two innings and allowed no hits. Macchiocchi earned his first career save, pitching the final three innings and allowing one hit. The shutout was IU’s fourth of the season.
IU will travel to Maryland for its final Big Ten series of the season in a three-game series which gets underway on Friday at Shipley Field at Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium in College Park, Maryland.