by Max Heath • @max_heath • Mar 24
The Indiana Hoosiers earned Jeff Mercer his first conference series sweep as a member of the Big Ten after beating Iowa 7-1 in game three.
Andrew Saalfrank got things started on the mound for Indiana, but after a shaky start, Mercer went with the bullpen the rest of the way. Saalfrank surrendered the ball to freshman Gabe Bierman who struck out three in two innings of work. Bierman earned the win after the scorching hot bat of Grant Richardson went opposite field for a two-run home run in the second to give IU a 2-0 lead.
However, Iowa’s lone run came off of Bierman in the third when Austin Martin advanced to second on a throwing error by Fineman and a double from Trenton Wallace brought Martin home. The run was unearned.
After that, it was all Hoosiers the rest of the way. Elijah Dunham sent a 400+ foot solo shot over the center field fence to give Indiana the 3-1 lead. Indiana started with the longball, but then exhibited solid execution from that point forward.
Drew Ashley hit a fly ball 10 feet shy of fence, to sacrifice Justin Walker for a run in the fifth. Then, none other than Grant Richardson singled through the right side to plate his third RBI of the game and Jeremy Houston hit a single right back up the middle in the eighth to score two more.
Cal Krueger and Connor Manous both contributed two scoreless innings without a walk to retain the lead through the middle of the game and Matt Lloyd posted a scoreless ninth to close it out.
The Hoosiers had four errors, but the pitching was collectively good enough to limit those to non-fatal mistakes. The only sour note Indiana had to deal with was Logan Kaletha’s early exit after going 2-2 with a double and a single. Kaletha had an awkward slide at second base and was subbed out after favoring his leg/ankle. He was able to walk off the field, but his status is to be determined.
Indiana improved to 15-8 on the year and 3-0 in conference play, as it looks forward to a Wednesday game against Kent State and a weekend in Maryland.
Grant Richardson postgame interview:
Jeff Mercer postgame interview: