Indiana baseball suffered a three-game sweep on the road against Iowa in the final regular season series over the weekend. The Hoosiers outhit the Hawkeyes 8-3 on Saturday night but lost by a score of 2-1. Their fourth consecutive conference loss dropped them to No. 8 in the tournament, the lowest ranking.
By the start of Saturday’s game, the Hoosiers had already clinched a spot in the Big Ten Tournament after Nebraska’s win over Michigan State earlier in the afternoon. Indiana’s attention turned to its final regular season game in hopes of attaining a higher tournament seed.
Saturday night’s pitchers duel differed from the high number of runs scored in the series’ first two games. Indiana's offense scored nine runs off Iowa's starting pitcher Adam Mazur in the series opener on Thursday before taking a 13-2 lead by the middle of the third inning.
Indiana junior Hunter Jessee, senior Phillip Glasser and freshman Carter Mathison all hit home runs, while freshman Josh Pyne hit his first career grand slam. Mazur entered the outing with a conference-leading 2.18 earned run average. When he exited after pitching two innings, that statistic jumped to a value of 3.05. He now has the fifth-lowest ERA in the conference.
Indiana senior right-handed pitcher Braydon Tucker held Iowa to two runs across three innings. After he exited, the Hawkeyes pounced on the Hoosier bullpen.
Indiana right-handed pitchers freshman Grant Holderfield and junior Nathan Stahl each allowed five earned runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Iowa hit three home runs off the two pitchers combined, totaling eight of the ten runs scored.
The Hawkeyes scored 18 more runs across the next four innings to win the series opener 30-16. Seven of the runs were unearned due to four defensive errors. Iowa’s 30 runs is the most an opponent has scored against Indiana this season.
Iowa's heavy-hitting offense carried into the second game, while Indiana lagged behind and recorded only three hits. The Hoosiers were 0-for-10 with runners on base, while Iowa batted 9-for-22 (.409) in the same category and had 14 hits overall. Indiana junior right-handed starter Jack Perkins tied his season-high, allowing six earned runs in his 105-pitch outing.
In the fourth and fifth innings, Iowa scored eight runs combined to take a 9-0 lead. The Hawkeyes eventually clinched the series with a 12-0 victory, marking Indiana's fourth shutout loss of the season.
Both teams struggled to plate runs in the finale. Indiana and Iowa batted a combined 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position. The Hawkeyes' two runs came from a solo home run and a wild pitch.
Indiana senior right-handed starter Bradley Brehmer hurled four innings while allowing three hits and one earned run. Relievers Ty Bothwell and Reese Sharp held Iowa hitless across four innings combined while allowing one earned run and striking out eight batters. On the offensive side, Indiana junior catcher Matthew Ellis drove in Indiana's lone run with his team-leading 18th home run.
The Hoosiers had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the ninth but stranded three runners to end the game. It's the fourth time Indiana has been swept by an opposing team this season.
If the Hoosiers won, they would have been the No. 6 seed facing No. 3 Iowa again in the first round of the double elimination conference tournament. With the loss, Indiana will instead face the No. 1 seed and No. 15 nationally-ranked Maryland Terrapins, a team they have yet to square off against this season, at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday.