Hoosiers polish off sweep with 22-1 drubbing of Wildcats

They’re garish, odd and seemingly out of place on a baseball diamond.

But Indiana’s new red monochrome uniforms have a little magic in them.

With Sunday’s 22-1 drubbing of last-place Northwestern, No. 16 IU has won all eight games its played in the monochrome set.

The “Sunday reds” have picked up various nicknames along the way, too. Players differ on what, exactly, to name the duds, with some calling them IU’s “Tiger Woods Sunday reds,” and others referring to them as Santa Claus costumes.

Indiana coach Chris Lemonis has another name for them.

“I call them the Kool-Aid (reds),” Lemonis said. “I’m like the Kool-Aid man.”

No matter the name, the uniforms haven’t failed IU yet.

The Hoosiers (26-6, 6-2) polished off a weekend sweep of the Wildcats (9-20, 1-11) in impressive fashion, scoring multiple runs in each of the final seven innings, setting season highs for runs and hits (21) and once again illustrating how deep and dangerous their lineup can be.

Indiana is now 20 games over .500 as it prepares to enter the tougher half of its schedule, beginning with Tuesday’s neutral field showdown against Notre Dame at Victory Field.

“It’s a great team,” first baseman Scotty Bradley said. “It’s definitely a special group. It’s a great group of guys. We definitely all love each other a lot and we all really enjoy coming to the ballpark each day and pulling for one another. It showed a lot today, with guys just coming off the bench and producing. We can mix and match so much.”

Bradley is one of the best example of just how far the production stretches within IU’s lineup.

Since the second game of IU’s March 30 doubleheader sweep of Butler, Bradley is 13 for his last 24 with 11 runs scored and five RBIs. The torrid stretch of hitting has increased his season average to .413 (19-for-46).

Bradley was one of eight Hoosiers Sunday to collect multiple hits, including his no-doubt-about-it two-run homer in the sixth inning. Logan Kaletha reached base six times in seven plate appearances, Logan Sowers drove in three runs and Jeremy Houston collected three hits for Indiana, which has won 17 of its last 19 games.

“It was a great game,” Bradley said. “Coach Lemonis talked about it earlier, it shows a lot of maturity in this team when you play a long day on Friday with the doubleheader, and it taking so much out of us that second game with the comeback win and all that. Then, to sit around yesterday — everyone wanted to play — but to come back today and still have that focus and that edge to come back and put together one more good game to finish off the weekend, it was something that was great. It was a good time.”

Indeed, it was a great weekend for the Hoosiers, whose 40 runs scored across the three wins over Northwestern marked their most in a series since 2010.

IU has also posted double digit runs and hits in five of its last nine games.

After scoring two runs each from the second through sixth innings, the Hoosiers plated four in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Sam Crail and back-to-back home runs by Sowers and Wyatt Cross.

Indiana sent 14 men to the plate in the eighth, erupting for eight runs. Late in the frame, IU’s offensive output forced the Wildcats to use backup catcher Nick Paciorek on the mound.

“I heard somebody heckling me there at the end,” Lemonis said, joking about his team’s scoreless first inning. “Yeah, good day. Just got it going. Actually, the guy they threw had really good numbers on the year. For us, we were bunting and doing everything early because we felt like it would be a really tight game. We were able to expand the game in the middle innings.”

On the mound, Indiana received a strong start from Cameron Beauchamp.

The left-hander allowed only one run across his five-inning outing, scattering four hits, walking three and striking out six. He threw 52 of his 82 pitches for strikes.

Northwestern’s lone run off Beauchamp came on Jack Dunn’s double to left-centerfield in the top of the fifth.

“(He was) good,” Lemonis said. “I think he can still pitch better. I know that sounds crazy, but he’s got such good stuff and he’s learning on the run.”

Brian Hobbie, Andrew Saalfrank and Connor Manous combined to work the final four innings, allowing only one hit.

“That shows you the depth, because there’s weeks where we don’t pitch those guys for a whole week and they’re really, really good players,” Lemonis said. “Getting them out there was huge.”

And IU’s exploits weren’t limited to the mound or the batter’s box Sunday. The defensive highlight of Indiana’s errorless performance featured Sowers fielding a ball in right field and throwing a perfect strike home to nail Northwestern’s Jack Claeys as he tried to score from second base in the top of the fourth.

Yet again in those red monochrome uniforms, the Hoosiers couldn’t fail.

“I think they said before the game that Notre Dame had reached out and wants us to wear our reds and they’re going to wear their greens (on Tuesday), so we’re going to call it the Christmas game,” Lemonis said. “We’ll see what happens.”

2 comments

  1. Have fun HOOSIERS because you were sure fun to watch. By the way Bart Kaufman is a fine fan friendly venue. Impressive. If I lived closer I would certainly have season tickets.

  2. Just a little marketing/sales idea….

    Make the uniforms in a bit softer organic cotton and sell at T.I.S. Bookstores as chick pajamas for IU coeds…..? Does T.I.S. still exist?

    The guy sliding into third has the honor of wearing the number of Jose Cardenal….(former outfielder of the Chicago Cubs)….introduced by no other than the great Jack Brickhouse.

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