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Gorski’s return helps Indiana baseball win home opener

Indiana baseball junior outfielder Matt Gorski bats during a game in 2018. The junior outfielder hit a solo home run in his first game back after missing three in a row last weekend. (Mark Timko/HN)

Coming off of a tough sweep at Tennessee while falling to a 2-4 record, Indiana Baseball was in need of a win.

They did just that in the 7-1 win over Cincinnati Tuesday afternoon.

Struggles from the plate were the main reason for the lackluster weekend performance against the Volunteers. Indiana scored a total of four runs against Tennessee in the series, all runs coming from homeruns.

The Hoosiers also struck out 46 times on the weekend. They needed a spark to the offense.

Enter junior outfielder Matt Gorski.

The Hoosiers star hitter and leadoff guy missed the entire Tennessee series with a hamstring injury. He returned for the home opener Tuesday in a big way.

In the bottom of the first and his first at-bat back from injury, Gorski launched a bomb over the fence in left-center to give Indiana a quick 1-0 lead.

“Anytime that you’re able to have a player of his caliber come back and be a part of it, it does help,” Indiana Head Coach Jeff Mercer said.

The rest of the pieces for the Hoosier offense fell into place from there as they improved their record to 3-4.

On top of Gorski’s 2-for-5 outing from the plate, sophomore third basemen Cole Barr and senior catcher Ryan Fineman stood out in jumpstarting the bats.

Barr went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI’s and had a dinger of his own. Fineman went 1-for-3 while bringing in two runs on a third inning double.

The offense collectively only had six hits but showed strong plate discipline, walking ten times on the game and only striking out seven.

The good news for Indiana’s offense is that Gorski is back to 100 percent moving forward.

“I kind of tweaked my hamstring a little bit,” Gorski said. “It was minor, I’m back to full strength now.”

The strong pitching from Indiana supplemented the efforts at the plate. Freshman right-hander, Alex Franklin got his first start on the season and first start since his junior year of high school after sitting out his senior season due to injury.

Mercer said Franklin worked hard to get back to the mound after missing so much time due to injury.

“He earned the right to be a guy that’s going to throw significant innings for us,” Mercer said.

Franklin had a brief appearance, only throwing two innings, but it was a strong one that included four strikeouts, two hits, and a run.

Junior right-hander, Cal Krueger came in following Franklin where he pitched a stellar three innings, only giving up a hit, walking one, and striking out two. Kruger’s efforts rewarded him with the win.

Junior left-hander, Cam Beauchamp, and right-handed sophomore, Grant Sloan also pitched and gave solid relief for the Hoosiers in a balanced pitching effort.

Indiana will get to play one more at Bart Kaufman tomorrow against in-state opponent, Butler for another 3 p.m. first pitch.

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