Luke Sinnard goes 5 strong innings on the mound and earns the win as Indiana avoids the opening weekend sweep at Auburn
By Carl James @jovian34 February 19th, 2023
Heading into Sunday’s series finale at 2022 CWS participant Auburn, the Hoosiers’ 2022 home run leader, Carter Mathison, had yet to get hit on the weekend. Hitting sixth in the lineup he came up in the top of the first with the bases loaded and two outs against a left handed arm and connected on a moonshot that he deposited into the Hoosier bullpen beyond the right field fence to the give the Hoosiers a lead they would never relinquish.
On a post-game phone call head coach Jeff Mercer (who notched his 100th win at Indiana with this victory) noted that, “when you have the kind of season that Carter had last year, people know who you are, and they don’t want Carter to beat you.” Speaking about the first two games, Mercer also said of Mathison, “he was just on the bottom of fastballs.” Mercer also stressed about Auburn that “they have good pitching. They go to the World Series last year for a reason and that was because they could really, really pitch.”
The offense didn’t stop there. In the second inning Josh Pyne would drive in a run on a sacrifice fly. Mathison follows up the grand slam with a double to lead of the third. Bobby Whalen moves Mathison to third with no outs with a single. This prompted another Tiger pitching change. Phillip Glasser, the one Hoosier who was hitting all weekend, stayed hot by driving in Whalen with a single. Hunter Jessee follows that up with a single that drove in Serruto. Pyne then drives in Glasser with a double giving the Hoosiers a commanding 8-0 lead in the middle of the third inning. Mercer said, “We had at least five two-out RBIs in the course of the day, so when you’re doing that your team is confident, they are hitting the ball hard and they are having good at-bats.”
On the other side of the ball, Luke Sinnard, the Hoosiers right handed starter, a sophomore transfer from Western Kentucky, scattered five hits and one walk throughout his five innings of work only giving up a single run. He struck out four Tigers and earned the win. “We knew that Luke was a good match-up. He’s talented. He’s got three or four pitches,” Mercer said. “He exceeded my expectations by going five [innings]. Once you give that guy a little bit of a lead and allow the defense to settle in and relax… it was a really good opening for us.”
Ryan Kraft gave up three hits and just one run on a solo shot in three innings of relief. Seti Manase finished out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Coach Mercer was pleased with the entire weekend of pitching overall and their ability to attack hitters after negative events. “We just didn’t let an inning kind of balloon on us. That was a big focal point this off-season. Managing the run game, managing our emotions. You’re going to walk a guy, we’re going to make an error, guy’s going to hit a double. Solo home runs don’t beat you.”
While Mathison made the early splash, Hunter Jessee had a crazy good day going four for five with a walk and three RBIs. Jessee is showing he’s likely to be the on-base machine that he was to conclude last season, even if he’s already shaved off his signature mustache.
Next up the Hoosiers’ home opener will be Tuesday at 4pm versus Miami (Ohio). Coach Mercer mentioned that several pitchers not needed this weekend would likely see action in the game including Craig Yoho as well as freshmen Evan Whiteaker and Brayden Risedorph.