Senior rightfielder Will Nolden hit his first-career home run and freshman leftfielder Logan Sowers went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run as Indiana bounced back to split a double-header Saturday with Michigan, defeating the Wolverines 13-11 after losing 7-3 earlier that day at Bart Kaufman Field.
”It was just important getting a win,” IU head coach Chris Lemonis said. “We’ve struggled a little bit in the Big Ten, but it was a good win.”
In game one, Indiana (18-9, 2-5 Big Ten) struggled. Junior lefty Caleb Baragar (0-2) got the start but pitched only 1.2 innings, allowing four earned runs and recording just one strikeout.
Michigan (17-13, 3-5 Big Ten) scored five of its seven runs in the first game off of Baragar in the second inning.
Junior right-hander Evan Bell replaced Baragar in that inning and went on to have a solid outing. Bell went on to pitch 6.1 innings, allowing just one hit and one earned run.
”I just think he (Baragar) let it get away from him a little bit,” Lemonis said. “He’ll be back. He’s a good pitcher.”
Indiana rallied and had a chance to tie with runners on first and second in the 8th inning, but freshman Isaiah Pasteur fouled out to first base. Michigan extended its lead to four by scoring a run in the top of the ninth inning.
Junior right-handed pitcher Jacob Cronenworth (2-2) picked up the win for the Wolverines in game one, throwing five strikeouts and allowing one earned run.
”That’s one of the better guys you’ll see out there,” Lemonis said. “He’s got you chasing a little bit and chasing that split.”
But for the Wolverines, the success experienced by their pitching staff in the first game of the double-header would not be replicated in the second.
Michigan jumped out to a 2-1 lead after the first inning but lost the lead after Indiana scored three runs in the third inning to take a 4-2 lead.
The Wolverines tied the game on a 2-RBI single by Cronenworth, but lost the lead in the bottom of the fourth after a five-run effort by the Hoosiers gave them the lead for good.
In that inning alone, Michigan made three pitching changes. Sowers, who hit his third home run of the season, was a big reason why.
”The first game, I was seeing a lot of off-speed pitches and wasn’t swinging at good balls in the zone,” Sowers said. “The second game, I was a little bit more patient with my approach and things worked out.”
Michigan attempted to make a rally of its own, scoring seven runs in the top of the eighth off of Christian Morris and Brian Hobbie.
Hobbie started the inning and replaced Belcher, who pitched just one inning with one hit allowed and one strikeout.
”We haven’t pitched great,” Lemonis said. “I don’t think we have. We’ve kind of hit a little bit of a pinch in trying to figure it out, trying to get a good start.
“We haven’t seen this all year, so maybe a little bit of a funk. Really it’s just two bad starts and just a poor job there late in the game.”
Indiana senior Scott Donley, normally the team’s designated hitter, moved to first base for the doubleheader with sophomore Austin Cangelosi out with an injury.
”We prepared all week for it,” Donley said. “I was taking ground balls ever since Cange went down. Started preparing Wednesday and Thursday for it. (Assistant coach Shawn) Roof taught me a bunch of good things and I felt comfortable over there.”
Hoosiers sophomore right-hander Jake Kelzer (2-1) got the win in the second game, throwing five strikeouts and allowing three earned runs.
The series will resume tomorrow, with game three scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
”(Getting the split) is huge,” Sowers said. “We still have a chance to win the series tomorrow.”