In an important series for their postseason chances, IU baseball lost two of three games to Maryland this weekend. In the past three weeks, IU has gone 3-8 after starting the season 23-10.
The Hoosiers benefited from a weak early schedule, not playing a top five team in the conference until the first weekend of April. However, the top teams awaited them in May, and IU fell from the top of the standings to fourth by the end of the season.
Needing wins to bolster their NCAA tournament chances, IU rolled the dice in their first game of the series, starting their top statistical pitcher, sophomore Gabe Bierman. After giving up a run and two hits in the bottom of the first inning, Bierman only gave up two more hits in six total innings of work.
Junior third baseman Cole Barr tied the game with a sac fly in the top of the fourth, scoring senior Jeremy Houston, who finished the season with a 13-game on-base streak. IU added two runs in the top of the sixth. Sophomore center fielder Grant Richardson brought Houston home with an RBI single, Richardson’s third hit of the day. Senior designated hitter Jordan Fucci scored Richardson on a sac fly to increase the lead to 3-1.
Senior Grant Macciocchi relieved Bierman in the seventh inning, and struck out the side. However, he gave up a run in the eighth and the game-tying home run to junior Maxwell Costes in the ninth, a solo shot to deep center field.
After recording a walk and an out in the bottom of the tenth, Macciocchi hit two straight batters to load the bases with one out. Freshman Nate Stahl came in for Macciocchi and walked in the winning run on a 3-2 pitch, and Maryland rallied for a 4-3 victory.
In the second game of the doubleheader, sophomore McCade Brown took the mound. Maryland scored two runs in the bottom of the first without recording a hit after Brown walked five batters in the inning. The last two, which scored runs, were on 3-2 pitches with two outs. Brown only recorded nine outs while allowing nine baserunners, walking eight batters in three innings.
Maryland starter Sean Burke only allowed one hit in 6.2 innings. He walked three batters but struck out a dozen, preventing any runs from crossing. By the time that IU scored on a Drew Ashley home run in the top of the eighth, Maryland had scored five runs.
IU had a chance to rally in the ninth, as senior catcher Jacob Southern hit an RBI single to bring the tying run to the plate, but freshman Morgan Colopy struck out to end the game. Maryland won 5-2.
In the regular season finale Sunday IU started freshman reliever John Modugno. He allowed three hits and two runs in four innings of work. The Hoosiers didn’t provide any runs early, but Modugno kept the game within reach, and IU scored in the fifth, sixth and seventh, putting up multiple runs in consecutive innings for the first time in the series.
In the fifth inning, Ashley scored freshman first baseman Kip Fougerousse on a sac line drive, and Richardson scored Colopy with an RBI single. In the sixth, Fucci and Fougerousse both hit home runs and Ashley hit an RBI double to take the lead 6-2. Fucci hit another long home run in the seventh, and senior Braden Scott closed out IU’s 7-3 victory.
IU finished its season at 26-18 and fourth in the Big Ten standings.
The Hoosiers will now have to wait until Monday, when the 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be announced. IU has not missed a tournament since 2016, but are projected by D1Baseball not to make the tournament due to their late season struggles.