Indiana baseball took down in-state foe Indiana State in a high-scoring affair, 15-14, Tuesday for their fifth straight victory and improved to 12-8 on the season.
In what was a wild, back-and-forth battle, Indiana sophomore Cole Barr proved to be the difference. The third baseman hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth to give IU the one run edge that would decide the game. The Hoosiers and Sycamores put on a practical boxing match, trading blows throughout the entire game with a total of 10 home runs and eight lead changes occurring.
The abnormal was a constant throughout this game. It looked like Indiana was going to dominate as the Hoosiers held an 8-1 lead in the top of the third, but that lead vanished in an instant. Indiana State was up 10-8 by the end of the fourth. By the seventh it was all knotted at 13, then tied again at 14 going into to the eighth, before Barr finished the job in the ninth.
At the end of the day, this is a quality road win over a tough Indiana State team who is now 16-2 on the year.
Here are three takeaways from the in-state battle.
Life by the long ball
It’s no secret, the Hoosiers like to hit home runs. Tuesday, five different Hoosiers went yard: Barr, senior Ryan Fineman, sophomore Elijah Dunham, freshman Grant Richardson, and sophomore Drew Ashley.
• 1.333 Slugging
• 2.000 OPS
• 3 HR
• 9 RBI
— Indiana Baseball ⚾️ (@IndianaBase) March 18, 2019
Of the 15 total runs from the Hoosiers, 10 of them were accounted for by home runs. Dunham even had four of them with a grand slam for his first hit of the season. Through the season thus far, the Hoosiers have hit 31 home runs as a team and are averaging almost two per game.
In the five-game winning streak, when the offense has been at its best, the Hoosiers have compiled a total of 14 home runs. Going deep is the key to Indiana’s full offensive potential.
Grant Richardson stays hot
After making his collegiate debut last Wednesday at Cincinnati, Richardson has looked nothing like a freshman. Senior Logan Kaletha and Dunham’s injuries offered an opportunity to Richardson and he hasn’t looked back.
Through six games the freshman outfielder has a batting average of .375 with 10 RBIs to his name. He continued his hot streak against Indiana State with going 2-5 from the plate and accounting for a home run and four RBIs.
Richardson could be a very valuable weapon and provide further depth to Indiana Head Coach Jeff Mercer if he continues what he’s shown so far.
Needed momentum before Big Ten play
The Hoosiers’ win over Indiana State has a multitude of benefits for the team moving forward.
Not only is it a quality win over a 16-2 team, but rather, this fifth straight win continues their recently built up momentum before a big weekend ahead.
Indiana will host Iowa (10-7) this weekend for its first series and games of Big Ten play in the 2019 season. This will be the start of the gauntlet of Indiana’s schedule with conference play series almost every weekend throughout the rest of the calendar.
Getting a fifth straight win, especially after having a losing record of 7-8 prior to the streak, is monumental in getting this team to start conference play on the right foot.