IU’s title hopes muted in 2-0 loss at Nebraska

Indiana’s pursuit of the Big Ten regular season title ended on Friday night.

The Hoosiers’ bats remained cold in a 2-0 loss at Nebraska that eliminated IU from the conference championship race. With one game remaining in the regular season, Indiana is now a game and a half behind Minnesota, which clinched its first league title since 2010 along with the top seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament.

For now, Indiana (31-21, 15-8) and Nebraska (36-18, 15-8) are tied for second and playing for seeding in the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. Winning the Big Ten tournament remains Indiana’s only avenue to a program-record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth, and a victory over the Cornhuskers on Saturday at 2:02 p.m. would allow IU to clinch the second seed.

To get it, the Hoosiers will need more production from their offense. Nebraska has now out-hit Indiana 15-6 through the first two games of the series after IU collected only three hits for the second night in a row. Indiana put the leadoff man on base in the second, fifth and ninth innings, but couldn’t cash in on the way to the team’s third consecutive loss. Ryan Fineman, Luke Miller and Craig Dedelow each picked up singles for the Hoosiers, who struggled against Nebraska’s Matt Waldron.

The right-hander struck out seven and walked two across eight innings. Waldron, the recipient of the Big Ten’s most recent weekly honors for pitchers and freshmen, retired 10 batters in a row until Dedelow’s leadoff single chased him three pitches into the ninth inning. He was relieved by Chad Luensmann, who earned the save after inducing a double-play and a groundout by Fineman to end the contest.

Caleb Baragar gave the Hoosiers a quality start, scattering six hits, while walking two and striking out two during his six innings on the mound. Ben Miller’s first-inning RBI groundout plated Ryan Boldt for Nebraska’s first run before Cole Klemke added an RBI single off Baragar in the fifth. The IU left-hander tossed 61 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

Friday marked the fourth time Indiana has been shut out this year. The Hoosiers will look to avoid the sweep with right-hander Evan Bell scheduled to pitch Saturday’s game, which will air on Big Ten Network.

4 comments

  1. Is that statement correct? They have to win the BIG tournament to have any shot at an NCAA bid?

  2. RPI of 90 basically kills any hope of an at-large bid. Need the automatic bid that comes with the Big Ten tournament title. Michigan was in a somewhat similar spot last year and ended up winning the conference tournament.

  3. A suggestion for next year’s schedule, don’t schedule Louisville during the final weeks of the season. I think trying to get up for a middle of the week game with your rival and then try to finish out the Big Ten schedule is too tough. The Louisville game was tough on the team on Tuesday and then pack up for a road series and leave on Wednesday to play Thursday through Saturday( seven games in nine days).

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