Hoosiers can’t solve Biasi in 5-2 loss to Lions

During an otherwise tough season for Penn State, Sal Biasi has largely been the exception.

Indiana learned as much Friday night.

Biasi shut down the Hoosiers’ lineup in a 5-2 win for the Nittany Lions at Bart Kaufman Field, supplying the visitors with a rare Big Ten victory.

The last-place Lions (16-33, 3-16) claimed their first conference win since April 23 at Northwestern, riding their hard-throwing right-hander through seven strong innings.

Biasi, a junior who routinely hit between 93 to 95 miles per hour with his fastball on the Bart Kaufman Field radar gun on Friday, leads Penn State with a 3.15 ERA and entered the series opener in Bloomington ranked third in the Big Ten in strikeouts (76) and strikeouts per nine innings (11.34).

Against the Hoosiers, he didn’t disappoint.

“He’s really good,” IU coach Chris Lemonis said. “You gotta tip your hat to him. He just has good (velocity). His command of the zone was better than, probably, normal and he just went after us. I thought we hit some really hard balls and competed early. We just didn’t get anything to fall. When he got the lead, he just took off with it.”

Biasi scattered merely four hits, striking out six and walking three. He bested his Indiana counterpart, Jonathan Stiever, who allowed only three runs across his seven innings of work.

Stiever allowed solo home runs to Conlin Hughes and Brett Davis that just cleared the short bullpen wall in left field. Stiever also balked in a run during the third inning.

Most frustrating for the Hoosiers was the damage done by the bottom of the Lions’ order. Penn State’s Nos. 7, 8 and 9 hitters combined for four hits, three runs and three RBIs.

Stiever allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked none, throwing 67 of his 97 pitches for strikes.

“I think he was alright,” Lemonis said. “I wasn’t as fired up on Stiever’s night. I love Jon and he’s a great competitor, but we’ve got to control the bottom side of their lineup. To let someone’s bottom side of the lineup with the game is disappointing.”

Meanwhile, Hoosier bats generally struggled to string together a rally. Logan Sowers accounted for two of Indiana’s six hits.

A two-out single by Ryan Fineman scored Craig Dedelow for IU’s first run in the bottom of the fourth, but it wasn’t until Biasi left the game that the Hoosiers plated another.

Matt Lloyd doubled to start the eighth inning before Luke Miller singled him in to cut Penn State’s lead to 3-2.

But Davis and Christian Helsel added back-to-back RBI singles against Lloyd in the top of the ninth to supply the Lions with valuable insurance.

The loss dropped the Hoosiers from a Big Ten-best No. 23 in the RPI to No. 31 immediately after the game.

Right-hander Pauly Milto will start Saturday’s game for Indiana, looking to put the Hoosiers back on track.

“This time of year, like I told them, I don’t want to critique it and yell and scream and do all that,” Lemonis said. “You just gotta forget it and play the next one because there are just not many left and they’re all all real important. We just got to shake it off and come back out and play a little better tomorrow.”