Shocker in Bloomington as Purdue Fort Wayne tops Indiana Baseball on Tuesday

BART KAUFMAN FIELD (IUSTV Sports) – In a windy and surprisingly mid 60’s Tuesday afternoon in Bloomington, the Indiana Baseball team that was once riding a six-game win streak saw all of their momentum ripped away as the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons shocked the Hoosiers in a 9-6 victory.

After a weekend in which Indiana had swept their first non conference road series since 2007 when they went 3-0 against Baylor, it was looking as if the Hoosiers had their eyes set on another busy weekend in Texas. However, their midweek foe saw the opportunity and made the No. 20 ranked Hoosiers pay the price.

The mantra of this midweek clash seems to be ‘too little too late’ as the Hoosiers found themselves down 8-0 as they took the bats in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“We didn’t do anything uncharacteristically,” said Indiana Head Coach Jeff Mercer, “We were ready to go.”

From the look of the game however, it did not seem as if the Hoosiers were ready, but that’s just the way the game goes sometimes. A scoreless first three innings posed more of the question when Indiana would get hot rather than if they would.

The then 1-6 Mastodons tallied the second most runs in a game this season as the top of the fourth inning is when they began to make their noise. Justin Osterhouse and Ben Higgins went back-to-back on one pitch solo shots to open the fourth. On the day the duo combined for six hits, seven RBI, and four home runs.

“We tried to stick a fastball in the hammer, and they were ready to go…they played really well today,” said Mercer.

The Mastodons did in fact hit well as the nine run performance came from the 12 hits and five home runs throughout the game.

“That was awesome, we came in here and knew we could play with them,” said Ben Higgins who had two home runs.

Indiana was able to make some noise through the final four innings where in both the sixth and the eighth the Hoosiers tallied three runs each to bring the score at 8-6 heading into the top of the ninth. Joey Brenczewski and Carter Mathison were the front runners for the Indiana bats as Brenczewski had two RBI and Mathison had the lone homer for Indiana.

“I just thought we got off fastball timing and got in between,” said Mercer.

Just a day after being named Big Ten Player of the Week from a masterclass in Waco, Texas, Sophomore Devin Taylor cooled off tallying one hit in his five at bats.

Indiana struck out eight times on the evening and left 11 runners on base in times they desperately needed offense to flourish. Overall Indiana was unable to get a multiple base hit early on in the game and once they dug themselves into that 8-0 deficit there was not quite enough momentum to overcome the hump.

As for the pitching staff, Seth Benes earned his second start of the season as both have now come on the Tuesday games with the first agains Miami (OH) last week.

“His off speed pitch was better this week,” said Mercer after Benes pitched for two scoreless innings.

Indiana would go on to utilize eight total pitchers where outside of Benes, Seti Manase was one of the few in the bullpen that got into any sort of rhythm as Manase also pitched for two innings (7th and 8th). Cooper Katskee would later be credited for the loss on the day.

“It was just one of those days,” said Mercer.

For Indiana there really is no time to dwell as it is a quick turnaround before arguably their toughest weekend of the season when they head out to Frisco, Texas to take on Alabama, Dallas Baptist, and Arizona in the Frisco Classic.