The No. 2 seeded Indiana baseball team was eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament by No. 6 seeded Michigan Friday afternoon. The Hoosiers fell 13-6 to the Wolverines at Charles Schwab Field Omaha. Indiana exits the Big Ten Tournament with a 41-18 record, having lost four of its last six games.
Freshman two-way player Mitch Voit started on the mound for the Wolverines and batted fifth in the lineup. On the rubber, he hurled 5 ⅔ innings, allowing just two earned runs on six hits andstriking out five Hoosiers. At the plate, Voit went 4-for-5 with a double, a run batted in and two runs scored. He matched or eclipsed career highs in innings pitched, strikeouts, hits and runs scored in Friday’s affair.
Redshirt senior Ty Bothwell started on the mound for Indiana. He took the loss, surrendering five runs –– three of which were earned –– on seven hits in 3 ⅓ innings before being pulled forfreshman righty Brayden Risedorph. After securing the final two outs versus Illinois Tuesday, Risedorph worked for 1 ⅔ innings out of the bullpen against Michigan and allowed two runs on four hits, throwing just 22 pitches. Senior southpaw Ben Seiler struggled in his inning of work, allowing three runs on four hits,hitting two Wolverine batters.
Six Wolverine batters tallied multi-hit performances and every starter reached base safely. Michigan scored three runs in four separate innings as the Hoosier pitching staff surrendered its highest run total since Maryland hung 14 runs on Indiana’s scoreboard in the series finale April 30.
The Wolverines put the game out of reach when they loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning and graduate infielder Cody Jefferis belted a bases-clearing double to the right field wall. Freshman outfielder Devin Taylor dove for the ball, but it landed beyond his outstretched glove.
Taylor had a week to forget on both sides of the ball in Omaha.The Big Ten Freshman of the Year went just 2-for-12 with one run batted in and two runs scored at the plate. He also committed one of Indiana’s four errors versus Iowa Thursday. In Friday’s elimination game, Taylor was 0-for-4 with a pair of popouts in foul territory.
The Hoosier offense was stymied. It failed to put a baserunner in scoring position until senior outfielder Hunter Jessee reached second base with one out in the fifth inning. Jessee would score when senior shortstop Phillip Glasser picked up a base hit with two outs.
But redshirt junior outfielder Bobby Whalen struck out to strand Glasser and freshman second baseman Tyler Cerny. Michigan doubled Indiana’s hit total and Whalen accounted for four of Indiana’s eight runners left on base.
Faulty execution haunted Indiana on both sides of the ball in its tournament losses to Iowa and Michigan. The Hoosiers tied their season-high error total with four defensive miscues against the Hawkeyes and added two more against Michigan — both of which allowed Wolverine baserunners to score.
As of Friday afternoon, prior to Nebraska facing Michigan State, Indiana defenders accounted for seven of 18 errors committed by all teams in the Big Ten Tournament. Consequently, Hoosier pitchers were charged with six unearned runs in three games this week.
After Friday’s loss, Indiana’s Big Ten title drought extends to four years, with the Hoosiers last hoisting the trophy in 2019. The lackluster performance this week will not impact Indiana’s NCAA Tournament hopes, with the latest projections showing the Hoosiers safely in the field as a No. 2 seed, much like they were for the conference tournament.
All Indiana can do now is wait. The conference tournament concludes Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. EST and is followed by the 2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament selection show at noon Monday. The show will be televised on ESPN2. Regionals run from Friday, June 2 through Sunday, June 5.