Early-Game Pitching Woes Continue in Knoxville

The Indiana baseball season ended on Sunday in blowout fashion with more free passes.

By Cassady Palmer @crpalmer0627 June 2nd, 2024

KNOXVILLE, TN – The Hoosiers came up short against Southern Miss by a score of 3-15.

Indiana Hoosiers 3, Souther Miss Golden Eagles 15

Inning by inning details in the Live Game Blog | Box Score

In an eerily-similar start to Saturday’s game, Indiana was behind the 8-ball from the get-go. Before the Hoosiers could even pick up a bat, the Golden Eagles had sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring 5 runs. Southern Miss scored all of their runs in the first 4 innings thanks to 11 free passes and 12 hits.

Brandon Keyster entered the game with runners on the corners and no outs in the 4th inning, allowing a run on a pair of hits. He was then responsible for 4 scoreless innings, giving up just 4 additional hits while snagging a comebacker at his head in the 7th inning. Keyster was also helped by a phenomenal diving play in left field by Andrew Wiggins, who took over for Carter Mathison after an awkward fall at first base in the 4th inning. Jacob Vogel finished the game by striking out the side in the 9th inning on just 11 pitches.

“He [Keyster] was able to get in the strike zone on multiple pitches… We did a good job of mixing it in on both sides. [Vogel] did what he does with that low slot pitch from a high release; he was really good,” Head Coach Jeff Mercer said after the game.

Compared to the games on Friday and Saturday, the Hoosier offense largely struggled, managing just 3 runs on 6 hits. Those runs came from a Devin Taylor solo home run, his 20th of the season, and a two-run home run from Jasen Oliver after a double from Tyler Cerny. This was Oliver’s 10th home run of the season, marking the 3rd straight year that at least one freshman has reached the double-digit mark. Cerny (10) and Taylor (16) both had double-digit home run totals as freshmen in 2023, and Mathison set the freshman record in 2022 with 19. Another notable milestone came in the 4th inning, when Brock Tibbitts reached the 200-hit mark with a single up the middle.

Devin Taylor hits a home run in the 5th inning

When asked about how he would describe this team years from now, Mercer discussed how the team continued to battle through adversity. “The best things in life are the hardest things. When you look at how hard it was at times and how we persevered through those things, that’s what I’ll remember the most. It’s easy when it all goes right. It’s easy when it all goes smooth. It’s easy when you’re healthy and everything goes right, and you win every game and every close game. If the ball always bounces your way, it’s a lot harder to get back up and continue to fight. That’s what this group did, and that’s what I am very proud of. That’s what I’ll remember them for. They’re a resilient tough group that refused to quit.”

Hoosiers huddle before the game