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Indiana baseball roughed up in series opening loss to Minnesota

Pauly Milto pitches during Indiana’s Friday night loss to Minnesota. (Josh Eastern/HN)

In an all-around rough game, Indiana baseball suffered another Friday night loss, 7-3 to Minnesota, its third of their five Big Ten series thus far.

Both the pitching and hitting had tough nights for the Hoosiers. The hitting struggles are usual for Indiana on Fridays as they only average under four runs on Friday games in the Big Ten compared to an average of about nine runs per game for the season.

Minnesota starter Max Meyer got the best of the Hoosiers on the mound. Meyer was excellent, only allowing two runs and six hits while striking out 12 and taking entire control of the game.

“My issue wasn’t with the strikeouts early,” Indiana Head Coach Jeff Mercer said. “My issue was more with that we chased some pitches down that are just never strikes.”

Only four batters for Indiana recorded a hit for the game, including Matt Gorski, Scotty Bradley, Cole Barr, and Ryan Fineman. Gorski and Bradley both went two for four from the plate and each had an RBI. Both of the RBIs were off of solo home runs.

The pitching was just as much of struggle tonight for Indiana as the bats were, an unusual occurrence for Fridays.

Most Friday nights, Indiana’s pitching is the strength with reliable Friday starter, Pauly Milto on the mound. Going into tonight, Milto has recorded a 2.29 ERA with 69 strikeouts in 70.2 innings pitched for the season.

Against Minnesota, Milto didn’t look as sharp or as control from the mound. Milto still struck out eight batters, but also gave up a season high 12 hits and seven runs while walking two in a loss. Prior to tonight, he hadn’t given up more than eight hits and five runs in one game all year.

The senior threw 103 pitches on the night, which was a total Mercer said he was comfortable with.

Milto went into the eighth inning and that’s where he began to struggle. Early on in the inning he gave up a triple from Drew Hmielewski that scored three runs, he was replaced by sophomore Braden Scott after.

Mercer said that Matt Lloyd’s back tightness and Connor Manous throwing three innings in the midweek game during Ball State played a role in how the pitchers were used tonight.

“Our bullpen is a bit thin today,” Mercer said.

Mercer said that there is a ripple effect with being aggressive in pitching use during the midweeks that not only affects the bullpen, but also the starters.

The loss drops Indiana to a 28-14 record overall and to 9-4 in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers will have a chance to rebound with games against Minnesota on Saturday and Sunday.

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