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Friday, May 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Indiana baseball hosts Ohio in non-conference weekend tilt


Indiana baseball hosts Ohio University at Bart Kaufman Field this weekend, making the Bobcats the fourth Mid-American Conference to visit Bloomington this season. The Hoosiers have yet to drop a game versus a MAC team, defeating Miami University (Ohio), Kent State University and Ball State University in midweek games. 

The Hoosiers enter the series with a 27-11 record following midweek victories versus the No. 12 University of Louisville on Tuesday and the University of Cincinnati. They have won seven of their last 10 games and each of their last six weekend series. Indiana is 19-1 at home, the lone loss coming at the hands of sophomore Iowa hurler Brody Brecht on April 7.  

Ohio’s record is an enigma – they are just under .500 (15-17) this season but sit in second place in the MAC thanks to a 13-5 conference record. They dropped 10 of their first 12 games and are 6-10 away from home but head to Bloomington following a series victory versus Miami of Ohio. All three games in that series were decided by three runs or fewer.  

The home nine are 3-0 versus Ohio all time with their most recent victory coming in the 2017 NCAA Lexington Regional. Junior Brooks Ey will start the series opener for Indiana on Friday, followed by perennial Saturday starter sophomore Luke Sinnard in the middle game and junior Seti Manase in the series finale on Sunday. Neither team is scheduled to start a left-handed pitcher this weekend. 

Friday’s starters 

In his first season in an Indiana uniform, Ey has pitched to the tune of a misleading 7.41 earned run average over 17 innings pitched. His walks plus hits per innings pitched currently stands at 1.47. The Fordham transfer last appeared in the finale of Indiana’s trip to Illinois last Saturday where he went for six innings and allowed just two runs on five hits.  

Ohio’s Friday starter is junior Luke Olson. Olson has been on a roller coaster over his last two starts. After pitching a two-hit shutout against the University of Toledo in his best outing of the season, he went just three innings versus Miami of Ohio one week later. He allowed six runs and walked six Redhawk hitters. Olson’s WHIP of 1.35 is third on the Bobcats’ pitching staff, and he leads the team with 38 punchouts.  

Saturday’s starters 

Sinnard, who leads Indiana with 47 innings pitched, is slated to start game two. His ERA of 4.21 may not stand out, but his WHIP of 1.17 is second on the team behind fellow sophomore Ryan Kraft’s 1.14. Sinnard has fanned 66 batters over those 47 innings and is allowing opponents to bat at just a .243 clip against him. 

Ohio's Olsen will be followed by graduate Colin Sells, who will start the middle game opposite Sinnard. Sells has struggled in limited innings this season. He has scattered just 9 2/3 innings across seven appearances. He went just 1 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs on seven hits in his last outing versus Marshall University, inflating his ERA to 11.17. 

Sunday’s starters 

Manase last pitched against Louisville and will start the series finale. His longest outing of the season is just 4 1/3 innings pitched versus Bellarmine on March 12. Sunday’s game will be a bullpen affair for the Hoosiers, much like the Louisville game, given Manase averages just 2 1/3 innings pitched per appearance. His ERA sits at 1.61, he holds a WHIP of 1.29 and his batting average against is .231. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is at 1.75, meaning command can be a problem at times.  

Following Sells on Sunday is sophomore Zach Weber, who has made just three starts this season for the Bobcats. Much like Olson, Weber struggled versus Miami of Ohio in his last appearance, surrendering three runs on five hits in just four innings. He pitched two shutout innings against the University of Kentucky, a team that mercy-ruled Indiana on Tuesday, March 14

Shifting 60.5 feet from the mound to the batter’s box, sophomore first baseman Brock Tibbitts, senior shortstop Phillip Glasser and reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week Devin Taylor lead the Hoosiers’ offensive charge. All three Indiana hitters currently own an on-base plus slugging of over 1.000, making them extra-base threats. Taylor’s 1.260 OPS leads all qualified Indiana hitters, as do his nine home runs.  

Ohio’s Alec Patino is the only Bobcat hitter with a quadruple-digit OPS. The junior infielder batted .500 (8-16) with five runs batted in last weekend, bringing his team-leading total to 41. Fifth-year senior catcher Mason Minzey leads the team in home runs with nine, much like Taylor for Indiana.  

Minzey and Patino are part of the group of four Ohio hitters with batting averages over .300. They are joined by junior utility man Cole Williams and fifth-year senior outfielder Will Sturek. Each player in the quartet also boasts an on-base percentage over .400. The fifth and final player to hold that stat is redshirt-sophomore outfielder AJ Rausch, whose 13 stolen bases lead the ballclub.  

Indiana will celebrate the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s by donning retro jerseys from each decade on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Fans born during these years can receive $5 tickets on the day of the game with proof of age. Fans will be allowed to bring dogs to the Bart on Saturday for Bark in the Park as well. 

Friday’s game, which is set for a 6 p.m. start, is the lone night game of the weekend. Saturday’s game begins at 1 p.m., and the series finale will start at noon on Sunday. All three games will be broadcast on B1G+.  

Follow reporters Matthew Byrne (@MatthewByrne1) and Nick Rodecap (@nickrodecap) for updates throughout the Indiana baseball season. 
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