Some Hoosier fans were less than pleased last week when Michigan righty Cameron Weston was named Big Ten pitcher of the week over Indiana’s Gabe Bierman. Weston had pitched a complete game over Michigan State last week. The difference was one hit and one unearned run, though Bierman had two more strikeouts.
The Hoosiers had a crack at Weston Saturday, and made the most of it in the third inning. #21 Indiana scored four times in that inning (though only one of those were earned). Drew Ashley had a one out triple. Paul Toetz drove in Ashley and reached on a misplayed ground ball. Cole Barr drove in a run with a single. Morgan Colopy broke out of a recent slump with a single to extend the inning. Then Kip Fougerousse does what Kip Fougerousse does: drives in two with a two-out RBI-triple.
All the while McCade Brown was mostly dealing on the mound. Brown’s fastball was effective, while his offspeed was working when in the strike zone. It took a couple of inings for Brown to get his off speed in the zone consistently, but he managed six innings of keeping Michigan off of the scoreboard.
Then the seventh inning happened.
Michigan lefty Logan Wood was dealing and got the first two Hoosiers in the top of the seventh. Ashley got a bunt single down the first base line, Paul Toetz got on with an opposite field single, and Grant Richardson extended the lead to seven with a home run to right.
With a seemingly comfortable lead, pitching coach Justin Parker sent Brown back out after the stretch. Brown just wasn’t as effective. A single, a walk, and a double scored a run and had two in scoring position with two outs.
Parker then called on John Modugno. For the second game in a row, a Hoosier reliever coming into a pressure situation allowed the situation to snowball. Modugno did manage two strikeouts to bookend his outing, but in-between was a walk and three singles that allowed the two runs he inherited from Brown to score plus two more of his own. Matt Litwicki came in and ended the inning on a groundout after just three pitches. The Hoosiers were now only up by two.
Then the eighth inning happened
Fougerousse lead off the eighth with an infield single. After a groundout, Michigan pitching gave free passes on the next five batters with four walks and hitting Toetz on the arm with a pitch. Cole Barr moved it along again with an RBI-single, but Colopy struck out. That made it two outs with bases loaded for Fougerousse. Kip Fougerousse does what Kip Fougerousse does: drives in two with a two-out RBI-single. Indiana was “comfortably” ahead 13-5.
Or maybe not so “comfortably”. Litwicki gave up two doubles and three singles before ending the inning with a ground ball fielder’s choice. Michigan plated three runs but left two on base. Indiana was still up 13-8 but it sure didn’t feel like it was over.
The ninth proved less dramatic.
Michigan’s Angelo Smith and Indiana’s Braydon Tucker both produced 1-2-3 innings and the Hoosiers evened the series 1-1. Tucker though was helped by a spectacular diving catch in center by Richardson.
70 percent of the earth is covered by water and the rest is covered by Grant Richardson.
Another incredible Web gem from @Grantr_1 helps Braydon Tucker pitch a clean ninth and the Hoosiers win 13-8. Series Tied.
On Sunday In Gabe We Trust #iubase ⚪️🔴⚾️
— iubase.com (@iubase17) May 15, 2021
With the 13-8 win and Nebraska’s win over Northwestern, the Hoosiers remain in second place in the Big Ten standings one game ahead of third place Michigan.
Indiana and Michigan will conclude their series at 1pm Sunday. Gabe Bierman will start for the Hoosiers against for Michigan.