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Ty Rybarczyk Sets the Tone at the Mound as Indiana Baseball gets back in the Win Column



BART KAUFMAN FIELD (IUSTV SPORTS) –

The Indiana Hoosiers were fresh off a disappointing opening series in Big Ten play where they went 1-2 at home against Illinois where Sunday’s rubber match going in favor of the Illini in a 15-8 game started to bring some concerns throughout the Hoosiers pitching staff that went through 10 arms and gave up over 20 hits.

Flash forward to Tuesday evening as the temperatures dropped with heavy winds, Indiana was able to get the momentum they so desperately needed at the hill to propel them to a 12-5 victory over the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.

The arm that got things going for the Hoosiers was Ty Rybarczyk who coming into the midweek clash had seen three total innings pitched over the course of two games played. Rybarczyk started last Tuesday, pitching only two innings as the Sycamores would eventually win 15-7. This time around however, Rybarczyk had the hot hand early as the rest of the Hoosiers squad followed in suit.

To put some perspective on his performance, Rybarczyk went through the first three innings without giving up a hit while recording four strikeouts in the process. Rybarczyk was pulled in the fourth after giving up two runs, but the Hoosier bats had gotten out to a 4-0 lead after three.

“I thought Ty set the tone…he was excellent,” said Indiana Head Coach Jeff Mercer, “We really should have pulled him after the third however.”

The early success from the bats was highlighted by a two run RBI double from catcher Brock Tibbitts as well as the first career home run from Freshman Jasen Oliver in the third.

Overall the arms of the Hoosiers were red hot as after Rybarczyk there were four other pitchers used as the five tallied 18 total strikeouts with all of the arms getting at least two K’s.

The top of the eighth seemed to potentially produce some drama as Indiana led 8-5 while Brayden Risedorph was taking over at the mound in relief. Risedorph would go on to strikeout six Blue Raider batters in a two inning span in a textbook closing performance.

Drew Buhr, Ethan Phillips, and Ty Bothwell all also pitched at least an inning between the fourth and seventh giving up only three runs in the process.

“The rest of the guys followed in suit almost without fail,” said Mercer on the bullpens performance.

While the bats were clearly working pretty much all night for the Hoosiers, Jasen Oliver stole the show and has shown quite the development on the young season. Oliver finished the evening with four hits, three RBI, and his first two home runs as a Hoosier.

“I’ve been hard on him, I’ve been really hard on him,” Mercer said. “He spent six hours in the cages over the past two days and I told him (Jasen) after the game that it’s not shocking when you put in work like that.

Oliver was really coming into his own on Tuesday evening where in the bottom of the eighth he was the first of three consecutive home runs by the Hoosiers to ultimately ice the game.

“The hard work is finally paying off,” said Oliver.

The second of the home run trio in the eighth inning came from Sam Murrison in his first at-bat of the 2024 season which led to an eruption from the Hoosier dugout.

“You can tell how the guys think of him with the way they responded,” Mercer said about Murrison’s homer.

The Hoosiers have moved to above .500 on the season (13-12) while getting to an even 7-7 record at Bart Kaufman field with the win over the Blue Raiders. Indiana will next travel to Butler on Thursday before returning back to Bloomington for the final three games against the Bulldogs.