Indiana baseball traveled to Round Rock, Texas, this past weekend and lost two out of three games in the Karbach Round Rock Classic.
The Hoosiers played against No. 2 University of Arkansas, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and No. 6 Stanford University in the round-robin event from Friday to Sunday. The round-robin format sees each team play each other once, with the weekend’s champion decided through the best record.
Indiana fell against its two top-10 ranked opponents in the series opener and finale, respectively, but earned its first win of the 2022 season with a 12-4 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
Indiana’s Friday starter, junior John Modugno, threw a career-high five innings and allowed three earned runs against Arkansas. Modugno came one inning shy of pitching a quality start, but nevertheless recorded his second loss of the season.
Arkansas scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to extend the lead to 4-0. However, Modugno returned in the bottom of the fifth inning and strongly finished his outing by pitching a scoreless frame.
"What I was excited to see was (that) John recovered,” Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer said after Friday’s game. “(He came) back out and finished the next inning and give our bullpen a chance to go two and two (innings each) to finish out the game."
Hoosier pitchers freshman Grant Holderfield and senior Bradley Brehmer relieved Modugno and tossed two innings apiece without allowing a single earned run.
Brehmer's performance on Friday was a significant improvement from his outing at Clemson University two weeks ago in Indiana’s opening series, when he allowed six earned runs in one inning.
Freshman Josh Pyne plated his first career run in the fifth inning, and Phillip Glasser scored on a misplayed ground ball in the eighth, but it didn’t make up for the low run production in the Hoosiers’ 5-2 defeat to the Razorbacks.
Like Modugno, junior right-handed pitcher Jack Perkins hurled five innings on Saturday, allowing two earned runs while striking out seven Louisiana-Lafayette batters.
Perkins almost ran into deep trouble in the fourth inning and walked back-to-back hitters and balked, an illegal move that moved both runners up one base and into scoring position. Despite the two-on, no-out situation, Perkins managed to escape the inning relatively unscathed and allowed just one run.
"I felt like I tried to go after them and attack them," Perkins said after Saturday’s game. "They did a great job of laying off some good pitches early on, but I felt like I made them when they mattered."
Indiana's offense had an explosive seven-run third inning that provided Perkins with a cushion prior to his stressful fourth inning.
Sophomore Bobby Whalen and freshman Brock Tibbitts each posted their second multi-hit games of the 2022 season, and Whalen batted in a team-high three runs. Junior Matthew Ellis and sophomore Morgan Colopy also hit their second and first solo home runs of the season against the Ragin’ Cajuns, respectively.
Following Indiana’s 12-run burst and solid pitching in Saturday’s victory, both factors vanished in the team’s 13-0 shutout loss in its weekend finale against No. 6 Stanford on Sunday.
Sophomore Reese Sharp pitched three and one-third innings and allowed five earned runs on six hits in the loss. Juniors Ty Bothwell and Nathan Stahl came in from the bullpen and allowed eight earned runs in two and two-third innings combined.
Stanford scored five runs in the sixth inning to take a 13-run lead, forcing Indiana to score at least four runs in the top of the seventh to avoid getting mercy-ruled by 10 or more runs.
The seven-inning rule was implemented presumably due to player agreements and the busy schedule since two games between the rest of the teams at the event still needed to be played before the end of the day.
Indiana failed to score in the seventh inning and repeatedly struggled to plate runners on base. The Hoosiers stranded runners on first and second four times throughout Sunday’s game, batting 1-for-9 with runners on and 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
Indiana drops to 1-5 with the two-loss weekend. Its next chance to bounce back is on Tuesday in its home-opener against Miami University.