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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Indiana baseball closes regular season with series win over Michigan

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Following a 3-2 loss in the series opener Thursday afternoon, Indiana baseball (30-22-1, 15-9 Big Ten) outscored Michigan (30-26, 14-10 Big Ten) by 13 runs over the final two games to take the series in former Indiana head coach Tracy Smith’s return to Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington.  

In the first game of the series, shortstop Tyler Cerny and outfielder Carter Mathison both hit balls to the warning track with two runners on base but neither resulted in any scoring, meaning Michigan designated hitter Colin Priest’s eighth-inning solo home run held true as the game-winning hit.  

Needing a short memory to avoid dropping the series, the Hoosiers responded early in the second game of the Thursday doubleheader, ambushing Michigan starting pitcher Chase Allen with eight runs in two innings. Right-handed reliver Julian Tonghini was fantastic in relief, spinning four innings of two-run ball and tallying a season-high eight strikeouts.  

Indiana pitchers were sharp throughout the series, allowing an average of just four hits and three runs per game. At the conclusion of the regular season, Indiana pitchers have allowed seven-or-fewer runs in 13 consecutive games.  

Sophomore outfielder Devin Taylor further bolstered his case for Big Ten Player of the Year with a dominant weekend in the batter’s box, including a 3-for-4 game with three RBIs and four runs scored in Indiana’s 11-2, series-tying victory Thursday evening. Infielders Josh Pyne, Brock Tibbitts and Jasen Oliver added multi-hit performances to spearhead an offense that had largely been stymied over its previous three games.  

With the series finale and senior day moved to Friday evening due to incoming weather, the Indiana bats picked up right where they left off the previous night. Led once again by Taylor and Oliver, the Hoosiers scored eight runs between the second and fifth innings and right-handers Brayden Risedorph and Aydan Decker-Petty combined for 6 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and one earned run in the 8-4 Indiana victory.  

Decker-Petty struck out eight batters, a career-high, while Risedorph allowed no earned runs for the first time since April 5 at Maryland. Indiana pitchers recorded a season-high 17 strikeouts in the series finale versus Michigan. The Hoosiers hit five homers in the series clincher, picking up a pair from Oliver, whose four RBIs accounted for half of Indiana’s scoring. Taylor clobbered his team-leading 17th home run, his fifth in six games.  

After winning 30 regular-season games for the 11th time in 12 years, the Hoosiers now turn their focus to the eight-team, double-elimination Big Ten Tournament at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska.  

Entering the tournament as the No. 3 seed, Indiana will play its first game in the conference tournament at 11 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday against an undetermined opponent. With the Big Ten regular season concluding Saturday, it is still possible for multiple teams to finish sixth in the league standings. The Big Ten Tournament runs from Tuesday, May 21, through Sunday, May 26.  

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

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