Indiana mashed and relied on excellent pitching from Cal Krueger in game one.
Game two developed much differently.
It all sets up for a crucial rubber game on Sunday afternoon.
The Hoosiers swung their way to a 9-2 win in Saturday’s twinbill opener against Maryland, before struggling to deliver a repeat performance in a 9-2 loss in the nightcap.
Now comes an opportunity for Indiana to clinch a series win against the first-place Terrapins on Sunday at 11 a.m.
“It was good to jump out and get the first one,” IU coach Chris Lemonis said. “I was happy with the way we played in the first game. Like I just told them, we played hard all day but their guy out-pitched us a little bit in the second game and they got some big hits.”
At least in the opener, the big hits belonged to the Hoosiers. The better pitching did, too.
After Friday’s game was suspended in the bottom of the third due to heavy storms, IU regrouped with long reliever Cal Krueger on the mound and a slew of hits at the plate.
In an opener that saw Indiana collect 12 hits, Tony Butler and Luke Miller stood out. The two combined for seven hits and a pair of homers, including a three-run shot Miller crushed to deep left field to cap IU’s scoring in the sixth inning.
Meanwhile, Krueger authored an impressive performance.
The freshman right-hander, who replaced Friday starter Jonathan Stiever, inherited a 0-0 game when play resumed Saturday afternoon. He allowed only two runs on five hits across six innings, striking out five and walking none.
“He’s handled that long relief for us all year and pitched really good in that role,” Lemonis said. “I felt really comfortable throwing him out there. Then, when we got the lead, I thought he just ran with it.”
Indiana never trailed in the opener, scoring three runs against wild Maryland reliever Ryan Hill in the bottom of the third. With two outs and the bases loaded, Hill hit Craig Dedelow with a pitch to force in IU’s first run. Hill followed with back-to-back walks to Logan Sowers and Matt Gorski to hand IU a 3-0 lead.
An inning later, Butler added a two-run homer and Dedelow doubled down the right field line to drive in Miller.
Butler, who went a combined 4-for-8 on the day, has now reached base in his last 13 games, and is showing a refined stroke at the plate since moving from the bottom third of the order to the No. 2 slot.
“He gets on base a lot, he sees a lot of pitches, he’s kind of a good guy in that part of the lineup and he’s played better,” Lemonis said. “Maybe he doesn’t like hitting at the bottom of the lineup, so he’s making me play him up there. I like the length it gives our lineup with him in there. It kind of stretches us a little bit.”
Outside of a two-run third inning, which saw a solo homer by Matt Gorski and an RBI single from Matt Lloyd, the Hoosiers didn’t do much to threaten Maryland starter Tyler Blohm in the second game.
His Indiana counterpart, Brian Hobbie, struggled during his four-inning start. Hobbie scattered nine hits, allowed five runs (four earned), struck out one and walked none.
The Terps homered twice off the IU right-hander, including a two-run shot by Marty Costes in the top of the third and a solo blast by AJ Lee to begin the fifth.
“We’re still just missing on some pitches (with Hobbie),” Lemonis said. “He’s got good stuff, but you (can’t) keep giving up balls to be hit — the big balls, extra-base hits, home runs with a guy with that good of stuff. Just have to make a couple better pitches throughout the game.”
Reliever Kade Kryzsko allowed a solo homer to Zach Jancarski in the seventh, and a two-run single to Dan Maynard and a RBI sacrifice fly to Kevin Smith in the eighth.
Kryzsko, who has pitched well in middle relief this year, tossed a season-high 3 1/3 innings. The late runs aside, Kryzsko pleased his head coach.
“I thought Kade was really good,” Lemonis said. “I stretched him too long. He probably had to eat up a couple runs there because he’s pitched really good as of late. He’s usually a good one-time-through-the-lineup guy, or two-inning guy. He’s pitched really good in that role. Today, when the game got expanded a little bit, I didn’t want to use some of our back-end of the bullpen guys.”