Tug of war.
That’s what the struggle between the Michigan baseball team and Indiana resembled on Sunday. Neither side could gain a decisive advantage in a game that went right down to the wire.
The Wolverines (24-20 overall, 10-8 Big Ten) fell to the Hoosiers (22-25, 8-10), 10-8, in a close back-and-forth battle on Sunday. Both offenses repeatedly surged into the lead, only to be overtaken by their opponent just as quickly. In the end, Indiana prevailed, capitalizing off of costly Michigan fielding errors.
The seesaw action started in the second inning, when after a scoreless first, the Hoosiers’ offense got on the board against right-hander Chase Allen.
A lead-off hit-by-pitch and follow-up walk got the inning started, then a ground ball found its way through the infield for the game’s first run. Next, after a fielding error from senior shortstop Riley Bertram that allowed the runners to advance, a sacrifice fly put the score at 2-0 entering the bottom of the inning.
In that bottom half, the Wolverines responded like a mirror image. They worked their own walk and hit-by-pitch, and then sophomore first baseman Dylan Stanton poked one up the middle to bring the game to two apiece.
Michigan continued to work in the third, as junior left fielder Joey Velazquez followed up a double from junior designated hitter Tito Flores by drilling the ball 432 feet to right field for a two-run homer.
Indiana scored three runs off a homer of their own in the fifth, but once again the Wolverines responded the very same inning to reclaim the lead 6-5.
However yet again the Hoosiers clawed their way into the lead, scraping out a run each in the sixth and seventh inning. Then, for the third lead change of the game, Michigan scored two runs of a triple from Bertram.
But Indiana still refused to stay down. Junior right-hander Noah Rennard came in for the Wolverines in the seventh, and in the eighth Indiana managed to load the bases, putting lots of pressure on Rennard. Under such pressure, he threw away a dribbler to the mound, allowing the Hoosiers to take the 9-8 lead thanks to the two-out error.
And this time the scales would stay tipped decisively in their favor.
Michigan was held down in the bottom of the eighth, and the Hoosiers snatched another insurance run in the top of the ninth before senior right-hander Willie Weiss could shut them down.
It was all Indiana right-hander Reese Sharp would need to hold the lead. The Wolverines went down quickly 1-2-3, allowing the Hoosiers to clinch the highly-offensive series.