Indiana baseball extended its win streak to three games with a 7-0 victory against the University of Cincinnati on Tuesday. Coming off back-to-back wins to close out and clinch their series against Missouri State University over the weekend, the Hoosiers pitched their first shutout of the 2022 season back at Bart Kaufman Field against the Bearcats.
Tuesday’s performance marks the first time Indiana has shut out an opponent since March 24, 2021, when the team beat Ohio State 2-0.
“We pitched terrific today,” Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer said. “I was really excited for Luke (Hayden), (who had) a really good start. Nate Stahl was outstanding.”
Though the Hoosiers’ nearly flawless pitching gave its batters extra opportunities to get in a rhythm, the Bearcats’ pitching struggles eased the Hoosiers’ offensive burden from the start.
Despite not recording a single hit in the first inning, Indiana went ahead 5-0 in that span. The team had to find other ways to get on the board, and its plate discipline allowed the batters to reach base nine times via walks alone. Cincinnati’s pitchers threw a total of 70 balls in the game. A total of seven different Hoosiers reached base in Tuesday’s win by being walked.
The Hoosiers’ bats didn't stay quiet for much longer, scoring two more runs through back-to-back home runs by the freshman duo of Brock Tibbits and Josh Pyne in the fifth inning.
It was an effective day for all five Hoosier pitchers, as they collectively held the Bearcats to zero runs and just two hits total. Five different pitchers went on the mound for the Hoosiers, with each recording at least one strikeout en route to 14 combined strikeouts on the day.
Mercer said he was proud of how the Hoosier pitchers have improved from the start of the season. He also said working with pitching coach Dustin Glant, who has experience working in Major League Baseball, has helped Indiana’s pitchers execute in their individual shifts on the mound.
“I never really was concerned early, you just have to work through the kinks of everything,” Mercer said.
Indiana’s ability to be patient at the plate, strikeout opposing batters and stay consistent in the home run department allowed the team to move up to 5-6 on the season. Indiana will play Purdue University Fort Wayne at 4 p.m. Wednesday with the chance to go back to 0.500 to end its two-game home stand.