EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern's lineup full of power bats was no match for Indiana pitcher Gabe Bierman on Sunday, as the Hoosier starter allowed just two hits over seven-plus innings in IU's 4-0 win over the Wildcats at Miller Park.
Indiana (15-8) won the series after winning Friday and losing Saturday, and remains in third place in the Big Ten. It was Bierman's second-straight outstanding performance, and his 7 2/3 innings was the longest stint of his career. He allowed just two hits and a walk against a Northwestern team that leads the Big Ten in home runs.
Bierman hit the third batter he faced in the first inning, Stephen Hrustich, but then retired 14 batters in a row until allowing a single to lead off the bottom of the sixth. He got two groundouts and a fly ball to end that inning.
Bierman, who pitched seven innings without allowing a run in his previous start, had a perfect seventh inning, and went into the eighth for the first time in his Indiana career. He walked second baseman Vincent Bianchina to lead off the inning and with two out, third baseman Tony Livermore scratched out an infield.
Bierman was at 96 pitches, so Indiana coach Jeff Mercer went to his bullpen to close it out. Lefty Ty Bothwell struck out Anthony Colarco to end the threat, and Matt Litwicki pitched a perfect ninth inning to secure the Hoosiers' third shutout of the season. It was the fifth time this year that Indiana limited opponents to two hits or less.
Bierman is now 2-2 on the season, and his earned run average has dropped to 2.34.
The Hoosiers had only five hits themselves, but they made the most of it. Indiana got on the board in the second inning, with third baseman Cole Barr and first baseman Kip Fougerousse leading off the inning with singles. Barr went to third on a fielder's choice, and then scored when Tyler Van Pelt beat out a double play.
Indiana added two more in the fourth inning, with center fielder Grand Richardson leading off the inning with a double and Morgan Colopy blasting a two-run homer to left center to give Indiana a 3-0 lead.
The Hoosiers tacked on another run in the eighth on Barr's sacrifice fly, driving in shortstop Tank Espelin, who had walked to lead off the inning.
The Hoosiers are back at home next weekend, hosting a three-game series against last-place Minnesota. The series starts at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, with afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday.
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