They gave it all they had.
Indiana baseball bowed out of the Big Ten Tournament in blowout fashion, losing 14-2 to the two-seed, Rutgers, in the semifinals. The game was completed after just seven innings due to the run-rule.
It was always going to be an uphill battle for Indiana, who had to play two games in 12 hours, win both, and then win another two Sunday afternoon to win the Big Ten Tournament. On the flip side, Rutgers came into this game 2-0, licking its chops and ready to pounce on a tired team and advance to the championship, which is exactly what they did.
After making history by defeating Maryland, Indiana had the quickest turnaround any team had in the tournament. First pitch in this game wasn’t until 11:53 p.m. local time — 12:53 a.m. ET.
The Hoosiers opted to start John Biagio-Modugno in this one. The junior pitched four scoreless innings against the Scarlet Knights in the regular season, so it was a slam-dunk decision to start the New Jersey native given the rest of the rotation was all but worn out.
Modugno gave up six runs and couldn’t get an out in the second inning, taking the loss in a game many expected to be high-scoring.
Ryan Kraft, Luke Hayden and Nathan Stahl got the rest of the outs in the shortened game. Kraft gave up three runs in three innings of work, Hayden pitched a scoreless frame, and Stahl allowed the final five runs while recording six outs
Freshman standout Carter Mathison was the only source of offense, slugging a two-run home run to the opposite field in the sixth inning, his 19th of the season to extend the record he broke earlier this season. Mathison had two home runs in Omaha and was the only Hoosier to go yard in the tournament.
The game saw 16 runs scored, but it was a one-sided affair. Rutgers scored nine runs in the first three innings and the cherry on top was a five-spot in the seventh, allowing the game to end early. Speaking of early, once the final out was recorded, it was 3:10 a.m. local time at Charles Schwab Field. There was even a lightning delay midway through, delaying the game another 30 minutes.
The tournament was a complete mess from the jump. With rain forcing no games to be played Wednesday, the Big Ten was behind the eight ball to get the tournament in on time. Major changes to the schedule were made, severely handicapping teams like Indiana that lost its opening-round game. If Indiana had won this game, IU would have had to play twice again on Sunday to win the tournament, meaning they would have won five games in three days, a near-impossible task against some of the country’s best teams.
Rutgers advances to the championship game to face the winner of Michigan and Iowa. The winner of the tournament must be decided by 11:59 p.m. ET, when the deadline for the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament is. The Hoosiers won’t be a part of that tournament in all likelihood.
Despite the season ending in a harsh way, Indiana can’t be disappointed with its performance in Omaha. The Hoosiers snuck into the tournament by the skin of their teeth, but made the most of their time in Nebraska by winning twice, eliminating both Illinois and Maryland, while playing the Terrapins close on Thursday as well.
Indiana finishes the season with a record of 27-32, 10-14 in Big Ten play.