As the regular season wraps up, Indiana remains in the middle of a fight for a Big Ten tournament spot. The Hoosiers came into the weekend series 22-26, looking to stay in the top-8 of the conference. They won two out of three games against the Minnesota Gophers to secure a series win.
Game one on Friday saw Indiana’s bat remain quiet for the majority of the game. Thanks to junior pitchers Richie Holetz and Sam Ireland, Minnesota shut down Indiana’s offense for seven-straight innings. In that span, the Hoosiers recorded only four hits and two runs.
Indiana was able to flip things around in the eighth inning, as they erupted for six runs on five base hits. That momentum was enough to propel the Hoosiers to a comeback 8-6 win.
Indiana returned to the diamond just 12 hours later for game two but was only able to play an inning and a half. The game entered a weather delay due to rain and lightning pushing the Hoosiers to an 11 a.m. start time for the following day, resulting in a doubleheader on Sunday.
As game two resumed on Sunday morning, junior pitcher Ty Bothwell took control of the mound and was the star player for the Hoosiers. Bothwell took over on the mound in the bottom of the second and contributed one of the best performances of his collegiate career. He turned in seven shutout innings and did not allow a single hit. Bothwell also struck out eight batters in Indiana’s 12-0 victory.
“I was just so happy for Ty, and the guys are so happy for Ty,” Head coach Jeff Mercer said. “I mean, that was why you see such positive emotion and support of him, from where he was at the beginning of the year to have that terrific performance.”
The final game of the series tipped off just 20 minutes after the second game ended. Indiana took a 1-0 lead as junior Matthew Ellis homered for the 16th time of the year. The Hoosiers did not hold that lead for long as Minnesota scored three runs in both the third and the fifth.
The Hoosiers recorded five more runs in the following two innings, giving them a 8-7 lead heading into the ninth inning. Indiana was three outs from taking their first series sweep of the season, but Minnesota sophomore Kyle Bork turned on a hanging curveball and sent a two-run home run over the left field wall. Minnesota held a 9-8 lead in the ninth and got three outs to hold off Indiana and earn the win in the final game of the series.
After the pair of wins, Indiana is now in sixth place in the Big Ten as the regular season comes to a close. The Hoosiers still have four games left in the regular season before they know if they qualify for the Big Ten tournament.
Indiana will face Illinois State University for the final home game of the season on Tuesday, May 17, before traveling to Iowa City for a three game series against the Iowa Hawkeyes.