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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

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No. 20 Indiana baseball upset by Purdue Fort Wayne in midweek matchup

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For the second time in eight years, a ranked Indiana team was upset by Purdue Fort Wayne in an early-season matchup.  

No. 20 Indiana baseball ran into a Mastodon-sized brick wall Tuesday night, suffering a 9-6 home upset at the hands of Purdue Fort Wayne. The Hoosiers were previously undefeated in seven meetings with Purdue Fort Wayne. Freshman first baseman Justin Osterhouse and fifth-year senior outfielder Ben Higgins, both of whom entered the game batting under .200, combined for four home runs and 7 RBIs to lead their team to its first-ever victory over Indiana. 

The Mastodons opened the scoring with three runs in the fourth inning, two of which came on back-to-back pitches. Indiana sophomore right-handed pitcher Cooper Katskee, who had just worked out of a third-inning jam, surrendered consecutive solo shots to Osterhouse and Higgins, and senior infielder Jacob Walker added another on a base hit to left field. Walker’s RBI base knock came with two outs on a full count.  

Junior infielder Camden Karczewski took Walker’s offensive exploits one step further, homering on a full count with two outs in the sixth inning, and the Mastodons blew the game open on Osterhouse’s second homer of the day.  

Osterhouse belted a three-run bomb into the jet stream in left field, pushing the lead to 8-0 and stunning fans who took advantage of the free admission at Bart Kaufman Field. 

Indiana showed signs of life in the bottom of the sixth inning, finally cracking the score column with three runs. Redshirt freshman infielder Joey Brenczewski hit a long single off the left field wall to plate a pair, and senior outfielder Morgan Colopy added another run on a sacrifice fly.  

Senior right-hander Seti Manase kept the Mastodons scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings, and junior designated hitter Carter Mathison cut the Indiana deficit to two in the bottom of the eighth, belting a three-run homer to put Indiana within striking distance.  

The Hoosiers had a chance to tie the game or take the lead later in the inning, but sophomore shortstop Tyler Cerny struck out swinging with the bases loaded and Indiana’s best shot at a comeback slipped away. Higgins hit his second solo homer of the day in the ninth and the Hoosiers went quietly to end the contest.  

Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer said postgame that his squad did not overlook the midweek tilt, rather, the Hoosier hitters were not on-time at the plate. They were in-between, meaning they were late on fastballs but early on breaking balls.  

“We got beat by fastballs, and we were early and soft with off-speed pitches,” Mercer said. “When that happens, it’s hard to string together at-bats. We had some momentum-stoppers where, typically, we don’t.”  

Indiana was just 4-18 with runners on base and 3-10 with runners in scoring position. It left 12 runners on base. Purdue Fort Wayne stymied the home squad with three arms, all Indiana natives.  

Freshman right-handed pitcher Sean Kasper, a Chesterton native, shut down Indiana for 3 ⅔ innings in his first career start, giving up just two hits. Senior righty Mac Ayres, an Indianapolis native, combined with sophomore righty Owen Willard, a DeKalb County native, to quiet any potential rallies late in the contest.  

The Hoosiers are now 6-2, their six-game winning streak a figment of the past. They head to Texas on March 1-3 for a shot at redemption, where they will face star-studded opponents much more formidable than Purdue Fort Wayne. No. 16 University of Alabama, No. 25 Dallas Baptist University and the University of Arizona await Indiana at the Frisco Classic. All four teams playing in Frisco made the NCAA tournament in 2023. All games in Frisco will be streamed on D1Baseball.com and the IU Sports Radio Network.  

Follow reporters Matt Press (@MattPress23) and Nick Rodecap (@nickrodecap) for updates throughout the Indiana baseball season. 

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