Serruto throws out 4-4 base stealers; Tibbitts with the big hit; Sinnard, Hellman, and Kraft excel on the mound
By Carl James @jovian34 February 26th, 2023
All three games this weekend were tight battles won by the team able to bust out one big inning. What was different on Sunday was that Indiana was the team to make that happen with a 4-run sixth inning. Another feature of the weekend was the winning team getting extra outs on the base paths. Texas did this on Friday and Saturday via the ground ball, big inning killing, double play. Indiana did it today with the arm of catcher Peter Serruto who threw out four of four attempted Longhorn base stealers.
Inning by inning details in the Live Blog
Luke Sinnard earned his second win in two weeks with another five-inning Sunday start. He gave up two runs including one on a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. The biggest threat came in the third, when a pair of lead of doubles put two into scoring position with nobody out, but Sinnard managed to get out of the jam with only one more run surrendered. SInnard worked around a single in each of the next two innings, aided in the fifth with the first of Serruto’s caught stealers.
After the Hoosiers took the lead, Cooper Hellman pitched a shut-down 6th inning largely with the help of two more would-be base stealers caught be the arm of Serruto. The Hoosiers turned to Ryan Kraft to get the last nine outs. Kraft was making his second appearance of the series having earned the loss on Saturday. Kraft did not have the control issues he had a day earlier and he faced the minimum in three innings giving up only a pinch hit single that was erased… (I don’t think I need to say how).
The Hoosiers still struggled at the plate, but finally busted through in the top of the sixth inning. Peter Serruto got things going with a lead off single and coaxed Texas starter Travis Sthele to BALK him into scoring position. Then with two outs a Hoosier hit parade plated four runs starting with an infield single by Josh Pyne. Bobby Whalen and Carter Mathison scored Pyne with singles. Brock Tibbitts gave the Hoosiers the lead with a double to left driving in Whalen and Mathison.
For the weekend, pitching coach Dustin Glant has to be happy with how his arms have performed. 11 runs over three games on the road to a College World Series team and baseball blue blood has to feel good. All three games had good starts. Kraft bounced back solid today from Saturday and the Hoosiers had several options in reserve they didn’t need and plenty of arms available to face Butler on Tuesday.
While today’s 6th inning was awesome and 8 Hoosier hitters recorded hits on the day, the position player group has some work to do going forward. We haven’t had a chance to speak with the coaches this weekend, but we should get that chance at the Bart after Tuesday’s 4pm game against Butler. We are seeing a lot of weak contact from Hoosier hitters, and Texas just doesn’t have the pitching depth that should have limited an offense as potent as Indiana to only 8 runs in 27 innings. Hitting slumps happen, but the patterns, especially the numerous ground ball outs, are starting to be consistent enough to be concerning.
Next Up: Indiana vs. Butler at Bart Kaufman Field, Tuesday February 28th at 4pm. Weather report says partly cloud, high of 57 degrees. Should be decent weather for baseball!