Hoosiers Engage Golden Eagles in Upset Bid

Indiana scored early and often, and never looked back in the first round of the Regional.

By Cassady Palmer @crpalmer0627 May 31st, 2024

KNOXVILLE, TN – Indiana opened the Knoxville Regional with one of the most well-rounded performances of the season, defeating Southern Miss 10-4.

Indiana Hoosiers 10, Southern Miss Golden Eagles 4

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

Starting pitcher Ty Bothwell crossed multiple milestones off his checklist on the day. Bothwell went 5.2 innings, giving up just a pair of earned runs on 7 hits, and facing just two batters with runners in scoring position, striking out both. The sixth-year senior has reached 200 innings pitched and has stuck out 240 hitters on his career, the latter of which places Bothwell 5th in Hoosier history, surpassing Kyle Hart (237 Ks). As the cherry on top of a fantastic day, Bothwell proposed to his girlfriend on the field after the game.

Starter Ty Bothwell strikes out his 8th batter in the 5th inning

“I told him ‘You need to propose to her around the team’ and we talked about it and then I said, ‘If we make a regional, then you got to make me a bet, you have to propose to her at the regional.’” Head Coach Jeff Mercer said after the game. “She is a wonderful young woman, and he is a great kid. They will have an incredible family, be great members of our program forever… we couldn’t be happier for them.”

Drew Buhr took over on the mound for Bothwell, earning the save by going 3.1 innings and giving up just a single earned run in the 9th when the Hoosiers boasted a 7-run lead.

After a couple of quick outs to start the game at the plate, Nick Mitchell ran out a 2-out infield single to set the stage for Brock Tibbitts to knock his 4th home run of the year. The offense continued to roll from there, with Indiana going 3-up-3-down in just one inning.

Brock Tibbitts gets the scoring started with a 2-out home run in the 1st inning

When asked about the offense, Mercer responded “Outside of the third inning, I thought we were excellent… even in innings where we didn’t score runs, we hammered balls consistently.”

Every Hoosier bat recorded a hit in the game, with Devin Taylor, Tibbitts, Carter Mathison, Jake Stadler, and Morgan Colopy all collecting multiple hits. The 9th inning played out much the same as the 1st inning. Stadler beat out a 2-out infield single before Colopy hit his own home run to left to push the IU lead to 10-3. Colopy was called on to start for the 3rd game in a row, replacing Taylor in left field.

“He has not played in weeks but is the first guy doing his drill work and the first guy on the spin ball, and he does not hide from a drill,” Mercer said of Colopy after the game.

Indiana was uncharacteristically aggressive on the basepaths against Southern Miss. After stealing just 33 bases in the previous 57 games, IU runners stole three bases on Friday. Tyler Cerny got the party started with a stolen base in the 3rd inning, and Taylor stole a pair of bases across the 4th and 5th innings. While it wasn’t a stolen base, Mathison showed off the wheels by advancing to second base on a foul popout to 3rd in the 2nd inning, scoring two batters later.

Carter Mathison and Morgan Colopy pregame

Mercer explained “We are athletic, we stole some bases today. That was not necessarily plan A, but to have the opportunity to do it is when we take advantage.”

While the Hoosiers did have an error that cost a run in the 6th inning, the defense was otherwise solid. The infield turned inning-ending double plays in the 3rd and 8th innings, and the strength of the outfield arms helped to limit Southern Miss to just one double despite the Golden Eagles being in the top 25 in the country in the category.

Indiana will next face host and overall #1 seed Tennessee at 6pm on Saturday. The Vols beat 4-seed Northern Kentucky 9-3 on Friday evening.