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Indiana Baseball Ends Season in Austin Regional

Indiana’s Matt Gorski went 1-for-4 with a double in the 3-2 loss to Texas in the Austin Regional. The Hoosiers end the season with a record of 40-19 (Mark Timko/HN)

Indiana baseball battled all the way until the final out Sunday night, but fell just short to Texas in the Austin Regional, 3-2.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, the Longhorns had to bring on Friday night starter, Chase Shugart out of the bullpen, to get Matt Lloyd swinging and end the game.

Although, Indiana’s season came to a close against Texas, the Hoosiers finished with a record of 40-19; the most single season wins in the Chris Lemonis era.

“I hated it for my guys that we had to come up on the short end,” IU coach Chris Lemonis said. “My heart goes out to them, they played their tails off, it has been a long couple days in the heat, and they competed pitch after pitch.”

Less than three hours after Indiana eliminated Texas A&M to reach the regional final in the 100 degree Texas heat, they had to turn around and face the Longhorns.

The Hoosiers turned in the same lineup for the second straight game with sophomore left-hander Andrew Saalfrank on the mound, and he was sensational.

Lemonis told the ESPN TV broadcasters prior to the game that the goal was to get Saalfrank through four innings.

His longest outing of the season to this point had been 3.2 innings, but with the season on the line, Saalfrank turned in a 5.1 inning performance with eight strikeouts and two earned runs.

“I thought he was awesome. Really to come out, you just want to tell an older guy to get us through the first couple innings,” Lemonis said. “I told him when I took him out, I was so proud of him, the way he competed and fought, in a great environment against some great hitters.”

Saalfrank pitched well enough to keep Indiana in the game and his offense backed him up with a pair of RBI singles in the third inning from Luke Miller and Jeremy Houston.

The Hoagland, Indiana native exited in the sixth with the game tied at 2, but in the seventh Big 12 player of the year Kody Clemens drove home the game winning run for Texas on a two-out double.

“Today was one of those days you just want to pitch because it’s a great environment to throw in,” Saalfrank said. “I just wanted to go out there and help my team win.”

The Hoosiers almost tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, but had some tough luck on their side. With two outs and Miller on first, Matt Gorski bounced a ground-rule double off and over the six-foot left field fence.

If the ball would have stayed in the yard, there was a good chance Indiana would have scored and tied the game. But, since the ball went over for a ground-rule double, Miller had to halt at third and would be left stranded there.

“If I hit it ten feet to the right or ten feet further, it was out,” Gorski said. “It’s just how the ball bounces sometimes. Sometimes you get a good bounce and sometimes you don’t.”

The Hoosier season comes to a close with a regional final loss, but Lemonis is building the foundation for this program year-by-year.

After concluding his fourth season at the helm, he’s taken the Hoosiers to three NCAA tournaments and registered four 32-plus-win seasons. Indiana also set a season-high in team ERA (3.09) and batting average (.284) in 2018 under Lemonis.

Logan Sowers is the only senior starter that will depart the program in the offseason, but they also have a handful of juniors who may forego their senior years for professional baseball.

If Indiana gets the likes of Lloyd, Miller and starting pitchers Jonathan Stiever and Pauly Milto back for another season, they’ll be dangerous and a serious threat nationally once again next season.

I am a junior from Edwardsville, Illinois majoring in Sports Media. I formerly worked for the Indiana Daily Student for two years serving as the Sports Editor and beat reporters for Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, Baseball and Field Hockey during my time with the student newspaper. Currently I am the Men’s Basketball beat reporter for IU Student Television while I also broadcast games for BTN Student U. Email me: and follow me on Twitter: @ZainPyarali

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