Walks, Homers, and LOB Stymie the Hoosiers

Indiana can’t overcome a rough start on the mound and ducks left on the pond.

By Cassady Palmer @crpalmer0627 June 1st, 2024

KNOXVILLE, TN – Indiana loses a long evening game to host Tennessee 6-12, and will have to win two games on Sunday to continue the season.

Indiana Hoosiers 6, Tennessee Volunteers 12

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

After issuing just three walks and giving up just two extra-base hits against Southern Miss on Friday, the Hoosier pitchers gave up eight walks and three home runs in the first 3 innings against Tennessee. The Vols scored 9 of their 12 runs across the 2nd and 3rd innings, with all 9 runs scoring on either home runs or a bases-loaded walk.

Ryan Kraft took over for Connor Foley in the 3rd inning, and then Ethan Phillips took the mound to start the 5th inning, both going 1.2 innings. The highlight on the pitching side for Indiana was Ty Rybarczyk, who finished the last 3.1 innings in scoreless fashion, giving up just one hit while striking out 4 batters. Rybarczyk’s ability to eat up a few innings helped to save some arms for Sunday, where the Hoosiers would play a functional double header with a win in the early game.

Ty Rybarczyk strands the bases loaded in the 6th inning

“Ty Rybarczyk was excellent there down the stretch.” Head Coach Jeff Mercer said after the game. “We’re in a good spot on the mound for the first game tomorrow. We have to keep those things in perspective and just have to show up and play the first game first.”

At the plate, the Indiana bats took a few innings to heat up against Tennessee starter Drew Beam, who alternated between pitching Fridays and Saturdays during the regular season. In the 3rd inning, Jake Stadler got the first hit of the game with a 7-pitch double, and Morgan Colopy followed that with an 8-pitch walk, setting the table for Devin Taylor to hit a 3-run home run to respond to the 9 runs the Vols had scored to that point.

Celebration after Devin Taylor’s 3-run home run

“Imagine showing up every day, catching for two months every single game and doing a great job… He [Stadler] kind of broke the seal for us there with the first hit and Morgan [Colopy] had a great at-bat,” Mercer responded when asked about Stadler and Colopy, two players who perhaps a couple of months ago would not have had the expectation to be relied upon as heavily as they have been late in the season. “You have to coach every player every day because you just don’t know who is going to be in the lineup the first game, the 30th game or the 60th game.”

In the 4th inning, Carter Mathison hit the team’s 138th double of the season, tying the program’s single season record while also scoring Tyler Cerny, who was hit by a pitch in the previous plate appearance. The Hoosiers scored their final runs of the contest in the 8th inning, when Jason Oliver hit a double of his own before pinch hitter TJ Schuyler drew a walk, Colopy had an RBI groundout on a great play by the Vol’s second baseman, and Andrew Wiggins and Josh Pyne had a pair of singles.

In total, 9 of the 13 Hoosiers who came to the plate had a hit, including 7 of the starters. Wiggins and Pyne both had multi-hit games. Unfortunately, Indiana stranded 12 runners on the basepaths, including 7 in scoring position.

The Hoosiers will next play a rematch against Southern Miss, who knocked out Northern Kentucky earlier in the day on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 12pm ET, however, the forecast shows chances for some periodic wet weather throughout the day, so stay tuned on social media for any updates. The winner of the first game will then take on the Vols in an evening game.