Indiana baseball traveled back down south for another weekend series beginning Friday, Feb. 24. The Hoosiers' opponent: the Longhorns of the University of Texas. After falling short in the first two games of the series, the Hoosiers grabbed the win in the series finale to improve to 3-4 on the young season.
Ben Seiler, a transfer from Siena College, got his second consecutive Friday night start for the Hoosiers in the series opener. In his first start of the year against the Auburn Tigers, Seiler struggled. He failed to get through three full innings, giving up four runs — three earned — on four hits and walking four batters as well.
Against the Longhorns on Friday, Seiler saw much more success. He tossed five innings of scoreless baseball for Indiana, allowing four hits and striking out two along the way.
Fifth-year senior infielder Phillip Glasser put Indiana on the board in the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly and the Hoosiers took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning.
With graduate student and Davidson transfer Gabe Levy on the mound for Indiana, redshirt junior outfielder Porter Brown stepped into the left-handed hitter’s batters box with runners on first and second base for the Longhorns. Brown drove a ball out and over the right center field wall to give Texas a 4-2 lead.
In the top of the ninth inning, junior Chris Stuart retired the Hoosiers in order to seal the series-opening win for the Longhorns, 4-2.
In game two of the series on Saturday, the Hoosiers turned to junior Seti Manase to make his first start of the season. Outside of three walks, Manase was solid for Indiana, allowing just one unearned run on one hit in four innings of work.
It was the offense that let the Hoosiers down on Saturday. Indiana managed just two runs on two hits, while striking out seven times.
Sophomore Ryan Kraft picked up the loss for Indiana, giving up four runs — two earned — in the fifth inning. The Indiana defense didn’t help out its young reliever in the fifth, committing two errors in the inning.
Brown had two more RBIs in game two for the Longhorns, giving him five RBIs through the first two games of the series.
In the series finale on Sunday, the Hoosiers offense needed to improve on its performances from the first two games of the series. Indiana was held to just four runs in the first 18 innings of the series.
Sophomore Luke Sinnard got his second Sunday start of the season and looked great once again. In five innings, Sinnard surrendered two runs on five hits, while striking out seven Longhorn hitters and not walking a single batter.
Porter Brown continued his fantastic weekend with a first inning solo shot off Sinnard to give Texas the early lead as the Hoosiers' bats continued to struggle through the first five innings of game three.
Redshirt sophomore Travis Sthele was great for the Longhorns on the mound, not allowing a hit through the first five innings of the series finale.
Indiana finally broke through in the sixth, scoring four runs — all with two outs — on five hits off Sthele.
Sophomore infielder Josh Pyne, redshirt junior outfielder Bobby Whalen, sophomore outfielder Carter Mathison and sophomore infielder Brock Tibbits all came up with big two-out hits to give Indiana a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, the Hoosiers made a move to the bullpen, bringing in Cooper Hellman. The sophomore right-hander worked a scoreless inning, not allowing a hit.
In the seventh, Kraft was again called upon from the pen after being tagged with the loss the day before. He looked much improved in the series finale, finishing off the final three innings for the Hoosiers striking out two and allowing one hit.
In the series finale, Hellman and Kraft combined for four scoreless frames from the Indiana bullpen.
With the win on Sunday, the Hoosiers avoided the sweep and improved to 3-4 on the year. The Hoosiers are back in Bloomington for a mid-week matchup with in-state opponent Butler on Tuesday.