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Not all rallies are built the same. 

Indiana trailed Illinois State by two runs in the eight inning on Tuesday night, and the Hoosiers tied the game without even recording a hit. Two walks, a hit-by-pitch and two more walks did the trick. 

Freshman Brock Tibbitts lunged to reach a breaking ball on the low and outside corner and shot it towards the shortstop. Tibbitts' momentum got him out of the box quickly, sprinting his way to first to beat the throw. The Hoosiers were on top by one run.

And just to insure Illinois State couldn't mount a comeback of their own, Matthew Ellis launched a grand slam 430 feet to right centerfield for his 17th home run of the season. Ryan Kraft's name was called out of the bullpen, and he struck out the side in the top of the ninth to secure a 12-7 Indiana victory over Illinois State.

It was a fitting way for Indiana to close out its final game of the year at Bart Kaufman Field. Resiliency and rallies have been the theme of the late-season success the Hoosiers have found, winning four consecutive series and 12 of the last 17 games. 

Freshman Josh Pyne walked it off against Illinois with a single down the third base line, Indiana scored four runs in the final three innings to win the series at Michigan, Pyne hit another game-winner against Minnesota and on Tuesday, Ellis sent the Redbirds packing with a mammoth grand slam.

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But for much of Tuesday's game, Indiana was finding success through simplicity at the plate. Three of Indiana's runs came on singles, two came on disciplined walks with the bases loaded and two more came on a ground out and a sacrifice fly. This amounted to nine hits and eight walks for Indiana, compared to just five strikeouts. Six of the nine starters recorded a hit on Tuesday, and the three others all scored or drove in a run.

It was a full team effort on the mound, too. Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer has treated midweek games as bullpen days, and he gave the ball to Luke Hayden to start on Tuesday. Hayden tossed a scoreless inning with one hit and a walk.

Illinois State scored all seven runs from the third to sixth inning, and it started with two runs off of Joe Moran. John Biagio-Modugno relieved Moran and allowed one run in two innings of work. Jack Walker took over for the next two innings, giving up six hits and two walks, which resulted in four Illinois State runs.

But as the Hoosiers began to build a rally at the plate, the bullpen found its rhythm. Nathan Stahl, David Platt and Ryan Kraft held the Redbirds scoreless in the final three innings of the game, allowing two hits, zero walks and three strikeouts. 

With this win, Indiana moves to 25-27 on the season. The Hoosiers begin their final regular season series on the season on Thursday in Iowa City at 7 p.m. ET. Indiana is tied with Michigan for sixth place in the Big Ten and need to hold off Purdue, Northwestern and Nebraska in order to qualify for the eight-team Big Ten tournament. 

Stories related to Indiana baseball: 

  • BOTHWELL'S 7-INNING, NO-HIT GEM: Ty Bothwell entered the game in the third inning against Minnesota on Saturday and went the distance, striking out eight and allowing zero hits. It was his longest outing of the season, one that was a product of trusting his fastball and his teammates. CLICK HERE
  • HOOSIERS AND GOPHERS SPLIT DOUBLEHEADER: Indiana won 12-0 and lost 9-8 in its doubleheader with Minnesota on Sunday. Ty Bothwell tossed seven no-hit innings, and Carter Mathison extended his Indiana freshman home run record to 16, keeping the Hoosiers on track to make the Big Ten tournament. CLICK HERE
  • PYNE DELIVERS IN THE CLUTCH: Indiana trailed Minnesota 6-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but a trio of two-rbi hits from Matthew Ellis, Bobby Whalen and Josh Pyne gave the Hoosiers an 8-6 win over Minnesota in game one. CLICK HERE