Back-to-back shutouts send Hoosiers sputtering into postseason #iubase

This isn’t the way Indiana wanted to enter the conference tournament — not with an offense suddenly sputtering in the absence of clutch and timely hitting.

Nebraska dealt IU a 3-0 loss in Saturday’s regular season finale at Haymarket Park, sending the Hoosiers into next week’s Big Ten Tournament as the No. 3 seed. That means Indiana is due to meet No. 6 seed Maryland in the tournament’s opening game Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

By that point, the Hoosiers hope their rotten weekend will have been confined to Lincoln.

Otherwise, Indiana could quickly find themselves on the wrong end of the bracket. The Hoosiers haven’t scored since Craig Dedelow’s solo home run to lead off the ninth inning of Thursday’s series opener. They managed six hits on Saturday, finishing the weekend with only 12 total. Of that dozen, 11 were singles.

IU hit into three double plays on Saturday, including one that killed a rally in the eighth. Austin Cangelosi led off the inning with a single and went first to third on Colby Stratten’s one-out base hit to left field. But what began as one of the few encouraging innings of the series ended on a 4-6-3 double play ball off the bat of Laren Eustace.

Senior right-hander Evan Bell tossed five innings, allowing a pair of RBI groundouts in the second inning. Jake Schleppenbach scored Nebraska’s third run on a throwing error by IU third baseman Isaiah Pasteur in the bottom of the fifth. The Hoosiers committed five errors in the finale, including two by Pasteur.

With the win, the Cornhuskers locked up the No. 2 seed in next week’s tournament. For the Hoosiers, it was the first time since 1983 that the program has been shut out in back-to-back games.

It’s especially troubling given the challenge that awaits IU in its opener. The Hoosiers will likely draw Terrapins ace Mike Shawaryn. The right-hander enters the postseason nine strikeouts shy of 300 for his career. Shawaryn, a preseason All-American, also leads the nation’s juniors with 29 career wins.

Kyle Hart is expected to make the start for Indiana.

2 comments

  1. Chet, they were picked third. Michigan first, Maryland second, Iowa fourth, Illinois fifth and MSU sixth.

    Big Ten tourney seeds:
    1. Minnesota
    2. Nebraska
    3. IU
    4. Ohio State
    5. Michigan
    6. Maryland
    7. MSU
    8. Iowa

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