Indiana baseball traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to face Michigan in a three-game series over the weekend. Despite losing the opener Friday, the Hoosiers rallied. They won the next two games to win their third consecutive conference series.
Freshman outfielder Carter Mathison made history in Sunday's 10-8 win, breaking the record for most home runs hit by an Indiana freshman with his 15th of the season. Mathison surpassed Alex Dickerson’s previous program record of 14, set in 2009.
In total, both teams hit nine home runs throughout the series. Six came in Friday's series opener, including Mathison's solo shot to tie the freshman record of 14.
Indiana right-handed pitcher Jack Perkins pitched a quality start Friday, hurling six innings while allowing three earned runs. The junior also struck out seven Wolverine batters.
When Perkins left the game after the sixth inning, Indiana was clinging to a narrow 4-3 lead courtesy of three solo home runs and a double that scored one run.
Hoosier left-handed freshman pitcher Grant Holderfield relieved Perkins and allowed three home runs in just over one inning pitched. The Wolverines scored five unanswered runs combined in the seventh and eighth innings to cruise to an 8-4 series-opening victory.
Though Michigan flipped the switch and hit home runs late in Friday's game, Indiana similarly scored seven unanswered runs on Saturday and evened the series.
Senior right-handed pitcher Bradley Brehmer started for Indiana and allowed five earned runs in five innings. Michigan led 5-2 after graduate infielder Matt Frey hit a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the fourth inning.
However, after trailing 5-3 heading into the final third of the game, Indiana scored three runs in the seventh and ninth inning to defeat Michigan 9-5. Mathison batted a team best 3-for-4 at the plate and junior designated hitter Matthew Ellis had a team-leading three runs batted in.
After Brehmer exited Saturday’s game, junior left-handed reliever Ty Bothwell and right-handed sophomore Reese Sharp reliever tossed four scoreless innings and combined for seven strikeouts. Sharp struck out the final two batters in the ninth inning to earn his third save of the season.
Indiana quickly took a 2-0 lead during Sunday’s decisive game after freshmen Brock Tibbitts and Evan Goforth knocked in one run apiece. Michigan responded with two runs in the bottom of the second inning, chasing Indiana freshman starting pitcher Luke Hayden out of the game early.
Mathison broke the freshman home run record with a three-run home run to right field in the top half of the fifth inning, giving Indiana a 5-4 lead before Michigan's bats came rolling back.
Head coach Jeff Mercer brought in right-handed pitcher Braydon Tucker to relieve Hayden, but Michigan scored four runs off the senior across the third and fifth innings to regain a 6-5 lead.
The scoring shuffled for the next two innings. Tibbitts hit a solo home run and a double in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to bring in two runs and regain Indiana’s 7-6 lead. Michigan senior infielder Riley Bertram hit a bases-clearing triple off Sharp in the same inning as Michigan retook an 8-7 lead.
However, Sharp didn't allow another hit for the remainder of the game. He retired the last seven Wolverine batters to secure the 10-8 win and series victory.
The Hoosiers improve to 22-25 overall and 8-10 in Big Ten play with their third consecutive conference series victory. Next, Indiana will travel to Louisville, Kentucky to face the University of Louisville on Tuesday. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.